Vitaltech-How much responsibility do they have?

Use this forum to discuss the March 2018 Book of the Month, "Final Notice" by Van Fleisher.
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kfwilson6
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Vitaltech-How much responsibility do they have?

Post by kfwilson6 » 02 Mar 2018, 10:48

It was evident that Dr. Patel and his entire team were concerned with the Final Notice option. They were hesitant to offer it for a 30 day time period when it would be less accurate. They even considered features to help users cope with the "housekeeping" aspect of dying such as notifying next of kin. In the original prototype there was even a 911 feature. Clearly Dr. Patel was concerned with the well-being of his users. When he found out there were gun incidences with the original test group, he brought the issue to his committee for further consideration.

How much responsibility falls on VitalTech for offering the Final Notice option? Should they have stuck with an alert simply stating the user should see a doctor as soon as possible? Do you think users would take a notification to see the doctor as seriously as a Final Notice? Is the Final Notice equivalent to a doctor's diagnosis of a life-threatening illness?

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Post by melissy370 » 02 Mar 2018, 16:33

I think VitalTech is responsible in some way. Maybe not for the initial ones but after they found the connection between the two they should have done the contact doctor option. It is different than a doctor telling them their prognosis because a doctor can make sure the patient has access to support systems. The watch in no way has that capability. It is true that some may not go to the support group but at least they were given the option.

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Post by jennyd2003 » 02 Mar 2018, 22:26

I think Vitaltech holds some responsibility in that some people would do things they normally wouldn't do since they know they would not be there to be held accountable. Most people would probably be fine and not hold it against the company.

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Post by DancingLady » 03 Mar 2018, 17:09

I think VitalTech bowed to the pressure to keep the Final Notice feature when they should have realized that risk of revenge crimes, which had already happened, far outweigh the benefit. I think it would have been far wiser for them to change the notice to "see your doctor immediately." Getting a diagnosis of probable death from a person is far different than from a gadget. I think this would have made an enormous difference for a lot of people. Besides that, as they said, it's highly accurate, but not a guarantee, and some people might not bother seeing a doctor if they took the notice as fact when, had they gone with 20-30 days left, an emergency procedure or treatment might have given them more time.

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Post by jessinikkip » 04 Mar 2018, 02:49

I feel like VitalTech is definitely responsible partially. While it may not have been taken as seriously to send a notice to just see a doctor ASAP instead of the Final Notice, in this case that would be a good thing. As evidenced by the man who was insulted by the cashier at the store, if he'd never gotten the Final Notice and had nothing left to lose, that cashier wouldn't have died.

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Post by sepicatt » 04 Mar 2018, 09:55

I think a level of responsibility definitely falls on Vitaltech. If they did their trials correctly they would've found out the stability issues that could occur. Like if you look at any medical drug their are lists upon lists of side effects, even for birth control. Now, if they found negative side effects like suicide/etc it becomes a ethical issue of should they still have released it. And for me, that makes them responsible. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. I still hold to the fact that they should have an alert stating to see the doctor as soon as possible or a get yourself to the ER right away type message. I think a message stating go the the ER would get people to take it seriously.

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2018, 14:52

I don't remember which character said it in the book, but it's true. If they didn't roll it out someone else would have. I think they did as much as they could to do it responsibly which is all we can ask.
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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 08:15

I had come here to ask a similar question, but you beat me to it! :) so I will put my thoughts here.

The thing that has been rolling through my head is a correlation is not a causation. Where I'm going with this is: in the last five years, since the advent of almost every teenager having a smartphone, depression, and suicide are way up! Does this make the phone companies responsible for these things? How about the parents who have read these statistics and still let their teen have a smartphone?

Now, the book seems to be making a clear causation line (I'm only partway through the book, so I am admittedly missing the whole picture), and some of you have made really good suggestions as to how they could have avoided the murder, but to me it is more a perfect storm of situations. Increased accessibility to guns + the new technology + decreased interaction with others = more potential for murderous outcomes.

What do you all think?

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Post by kfwilson6 » 05 Mar 2018, 09:41

Kandscreeley and Kat Berg, absolutely agree with you both. Kandscreeley, in addition to the fact that someone else would roll out a product with a similar feature, Vitaltech couldn't guarantee that other company would be as responsible about it. They may be more "money grubbing" and sacrifice the well-being of users to make more money. Dr. Patel of course was concerned with making a profit but what drove him to the development of the product were his interests in medicine, health, and well-being.

Kat Berg, the Final Notice didn't make anyone grab a gun and kill anyone. Honestly, I saw the author's choice of situations for murder a little extreme. The death of the grocery store cashier just seemed a little out there. I would have expected revenge situations to be much more volatile situations like revenge for a physical attack or against criminals who committed violent acts but weren't given life sentences (vigilante type stuff).

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Post by kfwilson6 » 06 Mar 2018, 09:14

In reviewing your responses I realized that another option would have been to incorporate the Final Notice feature but not to send it to the user. In order to have that option available, the user would have to register the device with his doctor and VitalTech and the doctor and VitalTech medical staff would work together to review the patient's information and determine likely cause, treatment, and possible outcome. The Final Notice took away hope but I never got the impression it was absolutely meant to say there was nothing that could be done and the patient would die no matter what. Do you think this is a good solution to resolve the pros and cons of the Final Notice feature?

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Post by melissy370 » 06 Mar 2018, 10:52

kfwilson6 wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 09:14
In reviewing your responses I realized that another option would have been to incorporate the Final Notice feature but not to send it to the user. In order to have that option available, the user would have to register the device with his doctor and VitalTech and the doctor and VitalTech medical staff would work together to review the patient's information and determine likely cause, treatment, and possible outcome. The Final Notice took away hope but I never got the impression it was absolutely meant to say there was nothing that could be done and the patient would die no matter what. Do you think this is a good solution to resolve the pros and cons of the Final Notice feature?
Your idea is plausible. Once physicians receive it then they could council their patient on how to deal with it. This would hopefully rectify the problem of people panicking or losing hope.

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Post by Gunnyswife » 07 Mar 2018, 09:02

I feel vitaltech had some measure of responsibility for the revenge killings that took place during the beta test of the vt2 watch. They deliberately suppressed 911 notification, which could have prevented some of the killings by getting people who were inclined to aggressive behavior or depression. Should this kind of tech become reality, I'd want to know that emergency services were called in for the short notices that are given.
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Post by ssmithy » 07 Mar 2018, 13:40

I think VitalTech should definitely take responsibility for some of the negative outcomes of the Final Notice aspect. Any technological invention like this has it's positive and negative ramifications and the company responsible should be prepared to deal with them both. That being said I don't know if replacing the "Final Notice" with a "See Your Doctor Immediately" would fulfill the Final Notice's purpose. A lot of people I know would push seeing their doctor off until later thus defeating the purpose of knowing that you are going to die.

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Post by mnmueller » 07 Mar 2018, 15:25

I don't think much, if any, responsibility falls on VitalTech. Each person chose for themselves to implement the feature and how they responded to the information provided. I do think the labeling and marketing of the feature was irresponsible. I feel that it should have been an alert stating that the individual should see a doctor as quickly as possible. As it was presented, there is a sense of finality to the notice that that I think influenced these individuals.

Since the Final Notice feature was optional, it stands to reason that any special notice it made should be taken seriously. What would be the point of turning it on, otherwise? Although we saw with some user the temptation to to write it off as being a mistake in setup or a fluke would still be there, regardless of what the feature was called.

The feature is presented as even better, or maybe it's called worse, than a doctor's diagnosis in the book, because we are never given any instance or implication that it could be wrong. Nor are we given any indication that the outcome could change. A doctor can make mistakes, but the creators even say that people have died early after receiving the notice from unforeseen circumstances, but never late. Of course, the test size was small. We only see a relatively short amount of time pass and only a small selection of users. Still, the implication is that once the notice arrives, the clock is ticking down for you and there is no escape.

If VitalTech is responsible for anything, it is not for the actions of the watch users, but rather the way in which the information was presented. To be in the best interests of the users, I think they should have considered how people would react and chosen a different marketing strategy.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 08 Mar 2018, 10:07

ssmithy wrote:
07 Mar 2018, 13:40
I think VitalTech should definitely take responsibility for some of the negative outcomes of the Final Notice aspect. Any technological invention like this has it's positive and negative ramifications and the company responsible should be prepared to deal with them both. That being said I don't know if replacing the "Final Notice" with a "See Your Doctor Immediately" would fulfill the Final Notice's purpose. A lot of people I know would push seeing their doctor off until later thus defeating the purpose of knowing that you are going to die.
Your post made me think about the use of cellphones. So many car accidents happen because people are using their cellphones in the car, despite the fact that states are passing laws against texting and driving. Is there any fault on the part of the phone company for this irresponsible use? I don't think there is. And to some, this may not seem like an equivalent situation but texting and driving causes many deaths. I would think even more than if a Final Notice option were a reality.

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