First let’s clear up a little confusion. The robot that performs the hair transplant does not look like the photo. The vision of approximately 75% of patients believe the robot to have a human form. In actuality all the brains, algorithms and intelligence is parked in this device.
The 1990’s began artificial intelligence and the use of machines to do human work. In 2013, researchers at Oxford University did a study on the future of work. They concluded that almost one in every two jobs have a high risk of being automated by machines. We have no chance of competing against machines on frequent, high-volume tasks.
The ARTAS robot is a physician controlled, computerized device that uses a three dimensional optical system to isolate follicular units from the back of the scalp for maximum preservation of follicles in a FUE hair transplant procedure (referred to as Robotic Follicular Unit Extraction (R-FUE) or simply Robotic FUE). The robotic system is a tool that actually does the extraction of grafts with precision and speed that surpasses manual techniques.The ARTAS system is more consistent in graft quality results. It can also create the recipient sites that receive the grafts. The robotic accuracy is not subject to human error or fatigue. The robot also avoids damaging existing hairs when making the sites with itsalgorithm and optical vision capability.
The majority of physicians providing hair transplants would disagree and argue that their knowledge is not replaceable by a robot. The robotic system is expensive. That is not an excuse not to provide the best technology available. If a graft extracted is worth $8 a piece, what is the value of the grafts that are not damaged by any other system than the ARTAS? Physicians adapting new technology are providing their patients with solutions to their conditions. This technology can eliminate inefficiencies that plague humans.
This does not make doctors superfluous.There are two main skills that are needed in the hair transplant process that require the expertise of a board certified physician. The ARTAS robot cannot design a hairline, yet. That task is still under the domain of the surgeon. The doctor will program the hairline design into the robot for 100% accuracy on the placement of the hairs. The surgeon will also anesthetizeyour head. Pain and time are two factors that are significant to choose one modality over another. The advantages of robotic surgery and anesthesia include a faster recovery from surgery and significantly lower pain levels.
The robot is a tool that is used by physicians. The android phone is a tool that I use to communicate. I chose that tool because I like the reliability and all of the additional features. I chose Verizon as my communication carrier because they have a vast amount of cell towers so my calls are never lost or in roaming. Being consumers, we all get to weigh the pros and cons of the technology we purchase to perform the tasks. What tool and what service provider are the two questions you must ask yourself before purchasing a hair transplant. Consumers demandfor the best technology eventually drives out production of other modalities. The rotary phone was pushed out of the market in the 70”s in favor of the push button phone. One can buy a rotary phone today but why would you?
In the words of economist Thorstein Veblen, invention is the mother of necessity. The best and worst thing about hair transplants is that they are permanent. The best and worst thing about robotic technology is that it is evolving.
Now, given the right data, machines are going to outperform humans at tasks like this. A teacher might read 10,000 essays over a 40-year career. An ophthalmologist might see 50,000 eyes. A machine can read millions of essays or see millions of eyes within minutes. We have no chance of competing against machines on frequent, high-volume tasks.
The contents of this blog are for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing on the website or in the blogs should be taken as, or substituted for, a medical visit and evaluation by a physician.