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Computers to make the call on your life or death dilemma?

Darren Murph

If there's one thing we're a tad skeptical of, it's a piece of silicon making a decision that will ultimately decide whether we live or perish, but bioethicist David Wendler of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, suggests that the unbiased computer may actually be a more reasonable decision maker than your frantic family members. For those forward-thinkers out there who've already completed your advance directive, you have no worries should you become incapacitated, but for those who will end up relying on relatives to make treatment decisions for you, check these statistics. In a recent study of 16 scenarios where the patient lost the ability to make their own call, surrogates only matched their wishes "68-percent of the time," pushing the researcher to devise a formula to hopefully remove the second guessing and eventually "predict patient's wishes to an accuracy of 90-percent." Of course, critics argue that a machine can't make ethical / unethical decisions, but regardless of waiting around to see if this miracle solution actually reads your braindead mind, we'd recommend penning your future wishes right about now to avoid such quandaries.

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