Hands at a keyboard on a laptop writting programming code

Human Assisted Technology

Lately, I’ve been thinking about technology and efficiency. Specifically, about robots and jobs they can do better than humans in regards to healthcare (for humans). We have technology that helps to provide healthcare today. We have technology to help screen for diseases, IBM’s Watson, technology to help with surgeries, Da Vinci Surgical System, and more. There is also a host of technology behind the scenes doing things for our benefit. But, I don’t think humanity is ready for robots to completely take over our healthcare (robots probably aren’t ready for the responsibility either). But, more and more, technology will come to augment large parts of our healthcare systems. To help with this transition, we will probably say that humans are always in charge of the decisions, final diagnosis, or checks.

This is likely going to happen with many of fields in the not-so-distant future. The problem lies not in the technology itself, but in our acceptance of that technology. As technology, robotics and artificial intelligence, get better at doing specific and generalized tasks we need to design a way to comfort people. I’m sure there will be many ways of doing this and we’ll have to try and fail for a while to get it right, but in the mean time I see that bridge being gaped by having humans assist our technology. Perhaps then, we should design some terminology to help people quickly understand that a human has ultimate control and responsibility of a technology. The term Human Assisted Technology came to mind; HuT. or HU-TECH for short.

In fact, we already have technology like this in the world. We have a security patrol guard, Baxter the manufacturing helper, Search and Rescue robots, as well as robots for Rehabilitation and Care.

Right now we call this “Robot Assisted” but in the near future this will flip. It will no longer be robots assisting in tasks, but rather robots and technology performing the task while a human assists when needed. Having a quick way to identify a technology that is assisted by humans will help us to overcome our initial fears and gradually accept technology in ways we never imagined. HuT or Hu-Tech as a small sticker on visible technology might help put us bags of flesh at ease.

Stickers

With all of this in mind, I designed a couple of stickers to help people quickly identify when a technology has human assistance. These are meant to be simple, easy to read, and recognizable from a short distance. Further, the stickers may contain pertinent information for getting in touch with the company behind the technology when necessary. Please feel free to print these up and use in any way you please.

A sticker design for Human Assisted Technology, created by John Wayne.A sticker design for Human Assisted Technology, created by John Wayne.
Small version of Human Assisted Technology sticker by John WayneSmall version of Human Assisted Technology sticker by John Wayne

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