You call the GP office at exactly 9.15am, but no luck. Somehow all the appointments for the day are taken. Your mystery ache will have to remain a mystery for another day. What if there was another way?
Well, in the 2020s, you may be diagnosed and treated by a computer instead. Or at least, a computer-aided doctor. Not in the sense of looking up your medical records in a database (any old workstation can do that) but cutting-edge supercomputer intelligence that can process more data than a human ever could. Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the way medicine is practised throughout the world.
So will doctors become obsolete? Well, in the same way that ebooks didn’t kill the printed book but grew alongside it, doctors are much more likely to be augmented by AI tech than replaced by it. Their minds will be expanded, and rested, by the presence of intelligent companions by their side (hopefully bringing an end to the sleep-deprived ER resident), able to research the world’s medical knowledge in milliseconds and apply it to the case presented in front of them.
Advances in robotics mean that bionic arms can assist in surgery, too - especially when the absolute steadiest of hands is required. And for more routine visits, virtual chatbot doctors may soon be available for checkups and health questions that can be answered in conversation. This isn’t a novel idea in customer service, for example, but the more sensitive topic of medicine will need more thoroughly constructed knowledge bases for bots that want to avoid malpractice lawsuits.
3D printing continues to grow and flourish in various disciplines. Not just trinkets and toys any more, we’ve seen highly useful fabrics and materials, new limbs, and even houses be produced by this simple-but-complex innovation. (Although once we can truly 3D print a 3D printer, it may lead to the end of the world!)
The possibilities for 3D printing are only limited by the imagination. It’s an area which inspires us, which is why we decided to see if we could apply it to wellness in our own way.
We knew that there was a problem with the current market for vitamin supplements - while there was plenty of choice, they all shared the same problem of freshness (or lack of it) and personalisation. Vitamin pills can quickly lose their efficacy - potentially within a week - which means they can possibly become useless before even leaving the shop. To fight this, we pioneered a method of 3D printing a mixture of personalised vitamins into chewable daily pods. Not only are these personalised just for your body’s needs, our on-demand manufacturing system and regular deliveries mean that freshness is guaranteed.
A more human side of wellness
Technology isn’t just about the solid and the digital. Spiritual and social wellbeing can be enhanced by modern methods in a number of ways, too. With today’s focus on mental health and mindfulness, there’s a clear demand for such practices in the tech world.
Take Virtual Reality (VR) for example - usually a solo experience. While it’s often used for action-packed gaming, being immersed in a different world lends itself well to relaxation. FlowVR is a VR app that surrounds you with peaceful, natural landscapes, with guided meditations to soothe you into a reflective and stress-free state. There’s plenty of evidence that regular mindfulness practice has a tangible positive effect on almost everyone who does it.
It’s not just individual wellbeing that’s being treated by tech these days - community-building continues to grow. Satisfying our innate need to be part of a group, new innovators pop up regularly, helping gatherings foment from the tiny to the titanic.
Whether it’s artists interacting with fans on Patreon, gamers running interest groups on Discord, or digital nomads following each other around the world on NomadList, we’re already getting past the days of Facebook groups and Slack channels (and even that seems like yesterday).
And while they don’t quite provide the oxytocin rush we get from physical contact, you can at least share a heartbeat with a loved one with an Apple Watch. Your next therapy session might be with an AI-powered talking bot (think Siri, but with more feeling) and robots designed for physical intimacy are on their way (whether we like it or not). It's an interesting time to be human, that’s for sure.