Will Avatars Replace Doctors?

Doctor Avatar

Well, no. Not yet, anyway. But, Geppetto Avatars just might have something that could make medical help a little more readily accessible.

There are two problems with medical care, as is. It’s too expensive, and it’s too hard to see doctors, usually because doctors are overwhelmed with patients. Geppetto Avatars probably won’t do much for the former, but it’ll help an awful lot with the latter. These avatars are powered by some heavy-duty software, similar to what IBM used in their Jeopardy-dominating Watson supercomputer. That includes the same kind of natural language processing that goes into more everyday programs like Siri and Google Now, but attached to a wealth of information.

In practice, the avatars will be able to give basic medical advice and, in more serious cases, provide a more immediate link between patient and doctor. With a description of symptoms or a picture taken using your mobile device’s camera, the avatar doctor can give basic advice on what steps to take to remedy the situation, or how to manage chronic conditions. For example, someone with asthma can get advice about whether or not to stay inside, based on local weather conditions and personal medical history. That kind of small advice is invaluable—it saves the patient from having to take a trip to the doctor, and frees up more time for the real doctors to handle more serious or complex conditions.

Geppetto Avatars is looking to have their doctor avatars in use within a few months. Once that’s done, they’ll start looking into possible applications in education, entertainment—and, well, just about any aspect of your life.