Robotic Home Nurses for Elderly People May Become Real Says BCS (2007-05-24)
Robotic home nurses for elderly people, remote diagnosis, and bio-chips around the home which monitor your health are some of the predictions for computer evolution.
Some of Britain's top names from the world of research, business and computer technology gathered recently to predict how computers will evolve to impact on our lives in the future to mark the British Computer Society (BCS) fiftieth anniversary.
An ageing population means the cost of caring for older people in England is set to increase from £13bn in 2002 to £55.6bn in 2041. However, according to the BCS 'think tank' developments in computing, and particularly in so-called assistive technology, could help address the care time bomb facing the UK.
Within a decade or so, computing devices will be part of the fabric of our existence, anticipating and influencing many of our actions, according to Nigel Shadbolt, BCS president and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Southampton University.
'In 2056, when the BCS reaches its 100th anniversary, computing devices and the information fabric they generate will be a part of us and a part of our everyday lives. We will experience computers in a completely different format as the technology matures. Highly intelligent computing technology will be built into all parts of our environment; our buildings and our furniture, our pets and ourselves. They will play an active role in almost every aspect of human activity.'
Every part of our lives will be transformed, from the workplace to education, hospitals to homes, even to the way we think, believes the panel.
For example, increasing numbers of people will choose to receive implants that help them when travelling, or when paying for goods. Bio-chips will be placed around the home to monitor the state of our health, and people will be communicating with and through computer technology for almost every type of action or engagement. Students will learn in virtual classrooms and many educational field trips will take place in cyberspace.
This vision of a world where computing and information technologies can help us deal with issues large and small depends on attracting more talented young people into a career in IT, believes Professor Shadbolt.
He concludes: 'The complex problems that we will face in the future will require all of our human ingenuity. In the past 50 years computers have opened up entirely new ways of understanding the world around us; from our own genetic makeup to appreciating the consequences of climate change. In the next 50, our subject will be an essential part of tackling the grand challenges we face as a species as well as empowering the individual to enjoy life, liberty and happiness. It is vital that we enable more young people to help us achieve this.'