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"It's also important to vary your stimuli. I always look for new things to shock the system. Just as you make muscles grow by shocking them, you make the mind grow by shocking it."
- Bart Kosko

Autodoc  
  An automated physician, a fully autonomous surgical robot.  

The autodoc is an early example of a fully automated device that diagnosed, treated and tended a patient.

"Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs..."

For awhile, Jim Davis was very busy. Everyone, including himself, had a throbbing blinding headache. To each patient, Dr. Davis handed a tiny pink pill from the dispenser slot of the huge autodoc which covered the back wall of the infirmary...

From The Warriors, by Larry Niven.
Published by Worlds of If in 1966
Additional resources -

The term autodoc is probably most associated with Ringworld, which won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards for best novel for Niven.

But they got him into the autodoc anyway. It was a puppeteer-shaped coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself, and bulky Puppeteer surgeons and mechanics must have intended that it should handle any conceivable circumstance. But had they thought of decapitation?

They had. There were two heads in there, and two more with necks attached, and enough organs and body parts to make several complete puppeteers. Grown from Nessus himself, probably; the faces on the heads looked familiar.

The autodoc also appears in Madness Has Its Place, a 1990 story by Niven. This intriguing story explores the uses of different personalities in society. Are there occasions when you need people who are, well, unbalanced and not very social? Can an automated medical device provide what is needed to keep you balanced - and then unbalance you if needed?

"Something is happening in Aristarchus, something that requires a medic."

"Run it in an autodoc. Ten personality choices. The chemical differences aren't big, but...infantry, which means killing on foot..."

For the most part, expert systems running on computers may make use of data from EEG or other monitors to provide a better visualization of the data for medical staff (see Penn Researchers Develop Smart Intensive Care Unit System Using Advanced Computer Intelligence. Only a few systems actually allow the hardware itself to make an intervention in the patient's care; for example, if a patient's vital signs merit it, additional drugs may be injected intravenously.

Compare to the emergency treatment tank from Agent of Vega (1949) by James Schmitz, the shipboard medical treatment from Contagion (1950) by Katherine MacLean, the Gobathian from Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) by Clifford Simak, the surgical homeostatic unit from Now Wait For Last Year (1966) by Philip K. Dick, the diagnostat from The Man in the Maze (1969) by Robert Silverberg, electronic body analyzer from The Andromeda Strain (1969) by Michael Crichton, the crechepod from The Godmakers (1972) by Frank Herbert and the autosurgeon from Altered Carbon (2003) by Richard Morgan.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Warriors
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Warriors
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Autodoc-related news articles:
  - ERNIE The Robot Pharmacist - More Accurate Than Humans
  - LSTAT-lite Life Support For Trauma and Transport-lite Demoed
  - Doctor-Bots Play 'Operation'
  - Robot Surgeon - Autonomous Tabletop Robotic Surgery At Duke
  - Shrapnel-Locating Autonomous Robot
  - App Turns iPhone Into Autodoc (Almost)
  - C-Path Computational Pathologist Better Than Doctors
  - AI 'Doctor' System Better Than Human
  - AliveCor App Detects Heart Arrhythmias, Has FDA Approval
  - Sense.ly Virtual Nurse Will See You Soon
  - Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
  - Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
  - Surgery In Space
  - Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
  - iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
  - First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
  - Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
  - Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft

Articles related to Medical
Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
NextSense Earbuds Spy On Your Brain
Do Contagious Vaccines Work Better?
Artificial, Implantable Kidney Prototype

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