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PostThoughts on AI Today; UK Emergency Health Services (John Heelan, UK, 05/15/18 7:24 am)
I bow to Istvan Simon's greater knowledge of the AI world as it is today (14 May). Not only am I hopelessly out of date technically, despite a close friend also having a PhD in cybernetics, but also when talking to today's more advanced practitioners in the computing world (some in my family), I realise that my level of knowledge is Stone Age in computing terms.
My worry is that we are becoming too reliant on the promises of technology that are often not forthcoming. A good example in the UK is the emergency health services. If unwell I am encouraged to ring 111. However, if I do so, I am confronted with a retrained Call Centre clerk attempting to diagnose my level of emergency from a script on his/her screen.
Another emergency service if the Fire Brigade. Locally there is confusion when a "blues and twos" shout is directed to a village called Niton (pronounced "Nye-ton" when it should have gone to similar-sounding Knighton. Local dispatchers have learned to ask "is that Niton or K-nighton"? Would AI be able to ask the question of understand the spoken answer from somebody whose house was in danger of being consumed by flames?
My wife recently had to call an ambulance for an elderly man who had fallen and damaged his leg. The dispatcher was not even aware that our village was on the Isle of Wight, delaying the arrival of the paramedics for an extra half an hour.
JE comments: The UK 111 is our 911. This could be the start of an interesting comparative discussion. What are some WAISer experiences with emergency help lines? How about the wait times in different nations and regions? Several weeks ago in Delaware, my Aunt Doris needed emergency assistance. The 911 paramedics arrived in about 5 minutes. Bravo to them.