Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's just a computer

My work will put an extra 100 dollars into my health savings account if I complete an online health assessment on my health insurance company website. Among other things, I discovered that I am at high risk of depression due to "depressed feelings" and "treatment for depression."

Well, that is the type of information that I got. I'm sure Artificial Intelligence has progressed further than this, but this program was pretty limited.

For everything I am doing wrong- not exercising enough, not eating enough vegetables, etc., I was asked how ready I am to change that. I have so recently been wanting to be dead. How to answer these questions? Sort of like why I haven't gotten a mamagram this year- which I was reminded I am overdue for. First of all, they can't even agree if women under 50 should be getting them. And secondly, when you don't want to live, what would you do with the info if you had cancer? That's just a decision I don't want to have to make.

Interestingly, while it told me that I am at high risk for heart disease due to weight and borderline high cholesterol, it was unable to add in depression as a risk factor. Depression is a major risk factor for heart disease, possibly as bad as smoking.

Really, this was a pointless exercise. Just a way for my health insurance company to spy on me. Like I didn't know I am overweight and need to exercise more and eat more vegetables and have less stress in my life. What was the point of this?

Well, my last insurance company decided that I have diabetes because I take metformin (to try to help with the weight gain from the Zyprexa). They put me in their diabetes management program, and I kept getting notices asking me if I was on a statin yet, and that I should be on one due to my diabetes.

Is this the future of medicine? If so, we need better computer programs. We need true AI.

Which reminds me- Ray Bradbury died today. Farewell to an author whose books where such a part of my life when I was younger. Along with Asimov, and the other greats. People who, for better or worse, shaped my view of the world and our future.

I haven't read much sci fi recently. I almost feel like I don't have to. Or, perhaps the things that I am reading are sci fi, but just not labelled as such. I read a lot of books and blogs about people's views on the future, mostly the near future, of the world. I think things are going to change so drastically in my lifetime (if I don't keel over tomorrow from the heart disease that my insurance company predicts). We are reaching an age of limits. The difference this time is that it is global- certainly countries and civilizations have hit limits before. What will we do when we run out of water in California? What will we do when we run out of cheap oil? Rare earth minerals for solar panels?

Everyone has their own speculations of how society will adapt, or won't adapt. That is the sci fi I read now. And the sci fi in my head. The future.

Sometimes I think that is reason enough to want to live. I want to see how things turn out, one way or another.

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