The new TV show to premiere this fall called “Pure Genius” is about the wealthy Silicon Valley tech genius who starts a cutting edge (cutting edge) hospital. Of course he is not only rich; he is a billionaire. Not only does it have the latest technology; it has the technology not yet invented, or as one review called it, “incredibly advanced technology.” Who wouldn’t want clear tablets? Their wall size, touch monitors look amazing. His sticky eHub computer that monitors everything about the patient only took 8 months to develop. Is Star trek in a hospital setting, “with the brightest minds in medicine and the brightest minds in technology,” “they’re going to get things done,” says technology mogul character James Bell. He is cheerful and optimistic. It looks like fun medical science fiction. I hope to see what your writers can dream of.
However, my first thought when I saw the preview was that doctors will expect the current Electronic Health Records (EHR) software to do all of these things now, or maybe next week at the latest. Yes, eventually some science fiction becomes reality.
Long before men walked on the moon, cartoons and movies showed astronauts heading there. “Martin Cooper, Motorola’s chief engineer, who invented the cell phone … claims that Star trek was his inspiration for the cell phone, “according to” How William Shatner Changed the World. “His replicator inspired 3-D printers, and his personal access display devices look a lot like iPads. Pretty in pink inspired instant messaging. We now have flat screen TVs and video calling like the ones in The Jetsons.
Of course, there are many devices thought up by science fiction writers that do not exist, some not yet and some never. Although the replicator inspired 3-D printers, we don’t get our meals from the replicators. Scotty does not transport us through a transporter that turns us into an energy pattern and returns us. We don’t have medical tricorders that can diagnose almost any illness or injury (although the Scanadu Scout prototype may one day be available to scan your vitals just by placing it on your temple and sending the readings to your smartphone via Bluetooth). We will never have lightsabers like those of Star Wars nor will we jump at the speed of light like the Millennium Falcon. We will not be traveling back and forth in time in some time machine or loading our consciousness into some supercomputer like Sheldon Cooper’s character in Big Bang Theory would like to do.
Perhaps some of the devices of the writers of Pure genius Imagine that they will come true in time, but don’t expect to have them next week.