Before Bots Take Over The World, They May Save Your Life | Miles O'Brien Productions

Before Bots Take Over The World, They May Save Your Life

We all know one day Arnold Schwarzenegger bots are going to come for us, but some of current iterations may just save a life. In a world where blockchain, AI, and IoT are the current buzzwords, the word “bot” is beginning to become a term that mainstreams it all. While it used to be, “there’s an app for that”, now it’s slowing moving to, “there’s a bot for that.”

Bots that (usually) understand you

A common form of bot that has many people cheering and jeering lately are the voice-enabled Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. While they aren’t really robots, they perform tasks usually associated with a “robot in every home” future.

The Jetsons at home in The Skypad Apartments. Credit: Hanna-Barbera. | Miles O'Brien Productions
The Jetsons at home in The Skypad Apartments. Credit: Hanna-Barbera.

But before we have housekeepers and law enforcement, we must slowly adapt to having our bots help us in more minor ways, unobtrusively interacting with us and providing us with further connectivity to other humans. Currently, the most common form is called a ChatBot, which is technically an Artificial Conversational Entity, but, since that sounds rather dry and clinical, we simply refer to them as a ChatBot. Perhaps this is so we humans feel more at ease with this whole bot business.

A bot for blood donations

Enter “Blood Type Bots”, a mobile phone application that simply offers to connect blood donors and hospitals via ChatBot technology. You may ask, why is a Blood Type Bot important? Most of us have no clue what our blood type is, let alone wonder where it will come from in an emergency. It stays inside you for the most part and is, likely, rarely thought of.

However, more people need blood than you probably think. The Red Cross statistics tells us that every 2 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion and since blood cannot be manufactured, hospital are constantly challenged with maintaining enough blood to treat people in need of this precious, rarified stuff.

The average adult has about 10 pints of blood. During a donation, about 1 pint is taken and most of us can donate red blood cells every 56 days. But the need is approximately 36,000 units A DAY. Then factor in that not all blood types are compatible. Once you do that math, it is readily apparent that we donors are in demand and hospitals need to find creative and efficient ways, such as using a bot, to find us.

How was it developed?

The brains behind the bot were both Ad School students in Hamburg, Germany together. Ryan Leckie and his partner in this endeavor, Jakub Straka, are not from the medical field. Rather, they both have their careers in the creative and digital advertising world.

When Straka, who suffers from seizures, banged his head during an episode, he ended up losing a lot of blood. This began the notion that he and others in need should be concerned with the supply chain as it pertains to blood and even where his particular blood type might be more in supply.

How does it work?

Upon granting access, this bot will find your blood type in the health app on your iPhone (or you manually enter it). Then, it serves up the location of a medical center near you that is looking for your blood type, making it easier for you to donate. Simple. Now, go donate.

Ryan Leckie at SXSW. Credit: Blood Type Bots / Ryan Leckie. | Miles O'Brien Productions
Ryan Leckie at SXSW. Credit: Blood Type Bots / Ryan Leckie.

Banner image credit: Blood Type Bots.

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