This is one of those things that’s both comforting and slightly terrifying.
When you go to sleep for surgery, usually an anesthesiologist is responsible for making sure you’re stable and unconscious, but recent developments have had a computer in charge. Currently, while there is some solace in the fact that the last thing you see is a human face as you fade into oblivion, there may be a stronger sense of security knowing that a mechanized, non-human machine is monitoring you.
A group of researchers in Vancouver is testing to see whether doctors can adequately keep patients sedated by using a computer called iControl-RP. It determines the exact amount of anesthetic patients need, minute to minute.
“It would be better to give less anesthetic but enough anesthetic,” said Dr. Richard Merchant of Royal Columbian Hospital in B.C. “And I think this machine is going to help us do that.”
Doctors think it’ll cut the risk of human error. It’s been used in 400 operations so far, and it performs just as well — if not better — than a human being.
As long as the computer’s name isn’t HAL, we’re on board. Watch the video, above, for more info.