The robots helping NHS surgeons perform better, faster – and for longer | Society | The Guardian


It is the most exacting of surgical skills: tying a knot deep inside a patient’s abdomen, pivoting long graspers through keyhole incisions with no direct view of the thread.

Trainee surgeons typically require 60 to 80 hours of practice, but in a mock-up operating theatre outside Cambridge, a non-medic with just a few hours of experience is expertly wielding a hook-shaped needle – in this case stitching a square of pink sponge rather than an artery or appendix.

The feat is performed with the assistance of Versius, the world’s smallest surgical robot, which could be used in NHS operating theatres for the first time later this year if approved for clinical use. Versius is one of a handful of advanced surgical robots that are predicted to transform the way operations are performed by allowing tens or hundreds of thousands more surgeries each year to be carried out as keyhole procedures.

 

Source: The robots helping NHS surgeons perform better, faster – and for longer | Society | The Guardian

UK’s poorest to fare worst in age of automation, thinktank warns : The Guardian


The rise of the machine economy risks social disruption by widening the gap between rich and poor in Britain, as automation threatens jobs generating £290bn in wages.

Jobs accounting for a third of annual pay in the UK risk being automated, according to the study by the IPPR thinktank. Warning that low-paid roles are in the greatest danger, it urged ministers to head off the prospect of rising inequality by helping people retrain and share in the benefits from advances in technology.

The study for the IPPR’s commission on economic justice, which features senior business and public figures including the archbishop of Canterbury, called on the government to take a greater role in managing the adoption of robotics, artificial intelligence and other methods of job automation in the workforce.

Mathew Lawrence, a senior research fellow at the IPPR, said: “Managed badly, the benefits of automation could be narrowly concentrated, benefiting those who own capital and highly skilled workers. Inequality would spiral.”

The IPPR estimates that 44% of jobs in the UK economy could feasibly be automated, equating to more than 13.7 million people who together earn about £290bn. Although it doesn’t give a forecast for how long this would take, it cited US research which estimates the changes could occur over the next 10 or 20 years. From the collective pay pool worth £290bn, middle-income jobs such as call-centre workers, secretaries and factory workers are likely to be hollowed out. Low-skilled workers could also lose their jobs or face fewer hours from greater levels of automation. At the same time the highest earners and workers able to retrain will gain higher pay thanks to rising productivity – which

 

Source: UK’s poorest to fare worst in age of automation, thinktank warns : The Guardian

Counterpunch on the Dangers of the Driverless Car


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Ralph Nader in an article posted on Tuesday’s Counterpunch took to task the current hype about driverless cars following a day long conference on them at Washington University’s law school.

Driverless cars are being promoted because sales are cars are expected to flatten out due to car-sharing, or even fall as the younger generation are less inclined to buy them. Rather than actually investing in public transport, the car industry is promoting driverless automobiles as a way of stimulating sales again.

Nader is rightly sceptical about how well such vehicles will perform in the real world. There are 250 million motor vehicles in the US. This means that real driving conditions are way more complicated than the simple routes on which these vehicles are developed and tested. And while the car industry claims that they will be safer than human-driven vehicles, the reality is most people won’t want a car…

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