Friday, December 26, 2008

Industrial Scale

We have this inherited mental picture that "industrial scale" means really big, as in heavy equipment, large factories, and it still does mean that (supertankers, pipelines), but lets recognize we went in the other direction too, organizing a workflow in the very small. The two go together: it takes a big place in Aloha (near Hillsboro) to put all that Intel inside.

We would like better health care, no reason you, as a student in our Global U, should have to forgo access to some corrective technologies (e.g. eyeglasses), no matter what your status in life. We're a theater-minded culture, don't need to be stingy with basic props of that nature. Sally Field gets her Boniva, even if she's just a poor nun.

We don't consider it an extravagance to provide dental and optical of a basic corrective / remedial nature, but the engineering challenge is still considerable and we don't want faculty burnout. We want the health care professions to remain highly attractive, and yes, there's a lot to know and practice and not everyone will have the stamina for it. That's true in many walks of life. But why make jobs artificially difficult, e.g. by withholding essentially free information technology?

You want relaxed, happy doctors, not over-worked speed demons, much as some doctors enjoy a fast pace. We're talking about average, ambient working conditions, where supply meets demand (a price point).

Talented actors and screenwriters managed to turn Korean War MASH units into yuk-it-up zones. Why aim for that though? I'd rather have my doctors on cruise ships, nurses likewise (and no I'm not stereotyping about gender, know both of both).

Personalizing your experience is likewise something we're more able to do, not less, because of advances in MVC designs and implementations. You're able to record more of your preferences, portfolio, pamphlets, not because you're a sudden celeb and everyone's rushing to supermarket checkout lanes for the latest gossip, but because software is paying close attention to all of those druthers of yours and, unlike a paid servant, never tires of poking you with fun suggestions.

Is this what you meant? Look like a fun opportunity? Remember: you asked for it, you got it (and OK, our AI isn't perfect -- but whose is?).

So what if it looks like mission control, with thousands of patients streaming to and from scheduled procedures, like a factory, beds on wheels? Yes it's a machine, yes it's heavy industry. It's also micro-surgery and caring about your body, which is likewise a bevy of scheduled processes, like a factory.

Your insides, like your outsides, are working 24/7 on your behalf, just it feels unfamiliar (alien) sometimes, like it's not "the real you". We project demons (a real "them") instead. No one here but us chickens, trying to get things a little more organized (a lot more in some contexts).