By Original: McGeddon Vector: Zapyon - This SVG diagram includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this icon:, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Three Laws of Robotics

- Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D."

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The laws were first promulgated by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in 1942 for his short story “Runaround”. In that story Robot SPD-13, “Speedy” becomes paralysed trying to resolve conflicts induced by trying to obey both the second and third laws. 

In the spirit of binary computing Assimov later added an additional law. The Zeroth Law states, “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm”. Following the structure of the other laws it is taken to be pre-eminent.

However, the addition of the zeroth law leads to unresolvable dilemmas as a robotic variant of the philosophical conundrum, “The trolley problem”. 

One Curious Doctor. A Memoir of Medicine, Migration and Mortality

Dr Hilton Koppe reflects on his recently published memoir.

One Curious Doctor is a collection of short pieces born out of my experiences working as a GP in the Northern Rivers since 1988. It also includes stories which have their roots in my personal journey as a migrant growing up in 1960s Sydney, as the descendent of grandparents forced to escape Europe to survive, and as the son of parents who died prematurely from conditions that modern medicine could not cure.
In 2019, these worlds collided. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I received this diagnosis both as a shock - This can't be happening to me. I'm a doctor. Not a patient! And as a gift - Does this mean I actually get to rest now?
As the fallout from the trauma of the diagnosis began to settle, I tried to work out how I ended up in this position.

“The Queen is Dead. God Save the King.”

As the end of 2022 approaches Australia is emerging from nearly three years of COVID-19 pandemic, a period which placed  the healthcare profession generally under significant siege. Long hours with few breaks for holidays in an environment severely constrained by the medical regulations of COVID-19 containment affected both patients and doctors well being and the impacts are still being felt. 

The long years of partial indexation of GP rebates and increased expectations from patients and governments is starting to bite. Many older GPs say they have had enough and are going to retire in the near future, while new graduates are no longer attracted to general practice, believing  the demands and expectations are unsustainable and the specialty has been generally devalued and deskilled.

The GP drought will hit hardest in rural and regional areas. The chief executive of the NSW Rural Doctors Network, Richard Colbran has said that, “For every general practitioner that leaves the workforce there will need to be three to replace them to keep up with demand. After COVID-19, floods and bushfires, GPs have never felt a time when the system is in such a perilous state. They are exhausted.”

The Australian government has a fiduciary duty to the nation. It aims to deliver the highest quality and number of medical services at the lowest price. All political parties espouse this principle. For nearly 40 years the government has progressively reduced the proportion of fee for service it will reimburse.

Love for one Night

NORPA production at the Eltham Pub, September 2022

 

Thank you NORPA for presenting the Lismore district with a theatrical allegory of our story of the last three  years. The well orchestrated.concept of the production began with the audience enjoying a pub meal, followed by a staged theatre production. Groups of friends had gathered around tables at the Eltham Pub, catching up over a meal and a drink or two. Almost seamlessly, performers occupied their own tables and began performing their stories. The hotel itself was the stage upon which stories of love for one night were told. The stories moved between the different sets which were the bar, beer garden and the accomodation rooms on the top floor, as lost love was rekindled and new love found.

It was an inspired concept and worked a treat. At times you were not sure whether you were watching a cast member or just a random punter going for a beer.

The “love stories'' were a mixture of love in all its forms. They ranged from old lovers once spurned, meeting and finding love again, to the unconditional love a parent has for a child which knows no chronological end point. The mother’s voice enquiring of her adult son “so they’ve let you out of rehab for a day trip to Byron'' was said more with hope than ignorance of the inevitable response.

 

A Southern Cross University led survey will seek the views of flood and landslide-affected Northern Rivers residents about the most effective response and recovery efforts.
The findings will inform the development of improved support systems and policy, with a particular focus on community-led recovery efforts.

The final report can also provide learnings to support increased community resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of natural disasters, according to Dr Hanabeth Luke, the project leader.

Southern Cross has partnered with formal and informal community hubs and recovery centres, including Wardell CORE, Resilient Lismore and the Woodburn Recovery Centre all of which have been an integral part of the response to the Northern Rivers flood events.