The Toronto Sun reported the story of a hospital patient, Ernest Quintana, who was notified by a robot that he was going to die.
The California man was rushed to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fremont last week, having difficulty breathing. He and his family knew that his lung disease was terminal. They just didn’t know how long he had to live.
The hospital staff used a robot to tell him. The robot, equipped with a recorded message from the doctor, informed him that nothing was left of his lungs. He only had a matter of days and hospice was the only care available to him. Of course, this notification was a one-way conversation. The robot couldn’t answer any questions—and certainly was incapable of giving emotional support. In addition, to make matters worse, Mr. Quintana was hard of hearing and had to have his granddaughter explain what the robot was saying.
Two days later Ernest Quintana was dead. Therefore, the grieving family felt the hospital’s use of a robot to dump such devastating news was heartless. The hospital, proud of its state of the art technology, defended its use of “telemedicine.” A hospital spokesperson did state that she “regretted the facility had fallen short of meeting the family’s expectations.” So the problem wasn’t the hospital’s use of robots to do the dirty work of delivering bad news. The problem was with the family’s high expectations.
If you can wade through the callousness and short-sightedness of this hospital’s bureaucracy, there’s a critical lesson to be learned here. In conclusion, this story is profoundly revealing of the inadequacy of technology and bureaucracies to ever replace human beings or God.
Yet that is precisely what our society incessantly tries to do. We’re bombarded with news stories about artificial intelligence and technology replacing humans. For decades the government has tried to insert itself into our lives as the primary provider of our family. Women have been using welfare checks to replace their husbands’ paycheck. Men are turning to sex robots to replace wives who don’t share their enthusiasm for sex. The Toronto Sun also published an article predicting that by 2045 people will be marrying these kinds of robots. And people, in general, are forever looking to science to work miracles for them—to take the place of God.
But all these substitutes fall tragically short. A fatherless society has produced generations of weaklings. An always-compliant sex robot is incapable of warmth, love, or companionship. And science, even with all its achievements and marvels, cannot fill the role of God.
In the face of death even human beings fall infinitely short of God. They cannot give assurance of life beyond the grave. Only the One who conquered death can do that. But a human being is light years ahead of a robot. A robot is incapable of empathy or compassion and it will never be able to claim to be a fellow traveler on life’s hard road of grief, sickness, and death.
God created us for other human beings and Himself. He uses other human beings in our lives to both meet our needs and to help us to grow. We grow by learning to get along with other people, by asking their help, by forgiving their offenses, and by investing our love in them. We develop both by being loved and challenged by others. Why waste technology to replace people who will always be better at these things?
But above all, God made us for Himself. He created us to know Him personally and intimately, to be loved by Him and to love Him. And God yearns for our friendship so greatly that He will never allow anything to take His place in our lives—not for long at least. So no matter how many labor-saving devices or medical “miracles” science produces, He will never allow us to be independent of Him. He who holds our life and breath in His hands created a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill. No matter how sophisticated, educated, and technologically advanced we become, nothing of this earth will ever satisfy our hunger for God or nullify our dependence upon Him.
So admit the inescapable truth. You were made for God. Therefore, flee into His loving arms. You were made for your spouse and your spouse was made for you. Give up your dreams of absolute independence. Neither the government nor technology will ever replace them.
Dear Father, please bring me to the end of my quest for independence and invulnerability. Help me to realize there is no true security, healing, and purpose outside of You. Help me to flee into Your loving arms and to cherish those You have brought into my life. Amen.
In article photo: 190210-F-VS137-1185 by U.S. Air Force licensed under CC BY 2.0
Information from: https://torontosun.com/news/weird/california-man-learns-hes-dying-from-robot-doctor/wcm/479f62ed-2e05-44b1-925b-055cfbd067f2