Alexa, Keep me alive, please?

Peter Tabernal, CEO BODY WORLDS London

1 July 2019.


I am not a smart device devotee. I don’t have a smart speaker in my home to tell me the weather today, to vocally Google things, to listen to the news or music, or to control other smart devices. I am paranoid that one day, I’ll see that someone’s cloud has been hacked and that millions of audio files have fallen into the wrong hands. I worry about my privacy.

Nevertheless, I like to follow new developments carefully. I have an inner geek that embraces the fact we live in an intriguing era where the unimaginable is increasingly becoming a reality.

A few days ago I stumbled upon an article in ‘npj Digital Medicine’ about the development of an algorithm that uses your smart speaker’s microphone to identify the early signs of a heart attack. Emergency services would then be alerted automatically and an ambulance dispatched to your home, which would undoubtedly save many lives.

 This is a significant development; heart attacks are still one of the most common causes of death globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.9 million people every year, 31% of all global deaths. Nearly 85% of all CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. Less than 6% of those affected survive an attack. However, when CPR is applied immediately, the chances of survival double or triple.

The research isn’t quite there yet as more development of the technology is needed. But, I can’t help but feel that one day, not long from now, we will be grateful to our team of Smart Helpers, to Alexa, Google, Siri, Cortana and all the others out there who have created these amazing devices and developed apps for their platforms, for the lives that will be saved.

Maybe I should consider buying one. And, at the same time, continue doing everything I can to keep my heart healthy. And keep checking my statistics on Boditrax to see how I’m doing.

Hey Siri, how am I doing?

You seem OK to me, Peter.




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