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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Re: Vitaltech-How much responsibility do they have?

Post by ericahs » 08 Mar 2018, 10:46

The question of who's responsible feels very sticky to me. I think after a serious incident, companies could attempt to reevaluate safety features, for example, the app that turns off your phone if it detects you're in a moving vehicle. This is not to place blame on the phone company for accidents. However, they saw a safety concern with their product and attempted to address. Whether this would work for all products, who knows.
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Post by VictoriaMcMillen » 08 Mar 2018, 12:31

I believe they have more moral responsibility than they have legal responsibility. People need to be more careful with their own choices and not be a part of things without being better informed. Being that they are highly educated scientists with ethics codes to follow, they should have more legal responsibility in their studies. Elderly should really have more support, advocacy and education in these instances. In nearly every instance the patients were barely educated about the technology they were receiving. I believe it should have been a step-by-step process to set up all the features and educate the clients, especially after the gun incidents.

I believe that Vitaltech should have enabled the 911 feature- or at least the contacting family and friends. Notifying someone that they are going to die, on a moments notice, in the middle of whatever they happen to be doing has to bring about shock and chemical changes within the brain that cause hysteria. Letting them know in a doctors office, where they are prepared to hear news or any sort, medically, is much more controlled- allowing for more reasonable processing of the news. In any case, people will continue to act on their own free will. I believe there is a great difference in how the "notice" is given, and seeing the possible consequences, I definitely believe a "go to the doctor immediately" notice is much more reasonable. -At least hospitals and doctors have next of kin protocols and grief support on hand.
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Post by LivreAmour217 » 09 Mar 2018, 14:57

VitalTech held partial responsibility from the moment they recognized the connection. Once they realized that the shootings were connected to the "Final Notice" message, they should have gotten rid of it. In my opinion, the "Final Notice" feature is just one of several factors that contributed to the shootings.
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Post by lavellan » 09 Mar 2018, 15:03

I think they are partially responsible. They didn’t take people’s concerns seriously which led to the issues concerning the Final Notice.

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Post by berk_sumpter » 09 Mar 2018, 21:32

I think vitaltech could be partly responsible. Sharing that technology without taking certain safeguards might put some responsibility on them. I think that once they realized there was a connection between the shooting and the final notice they should have immediately put more safeguards into place.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 10 Mar 2018, 22:51

VictoriaMcMillen wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 12:31

Notifying someone that they are going to die, on a moments notice, in the middle of whatever they happen to be doing has to bring about shock and chemical changes within the brain that cause hysteria.
I did not even really consider the multitude of circumstances under which someone might receive their notice. Gosh, think if all the incredibly bad moments in your day that could happen. Very good point. Even just the average person's state of mind at that moment could have a huge impact on their reaction. They could.be in the middle of a huge corporate meeting, putting their kid to bed, having an argument with their spouse. All of those endless possibilities alone could determine how the VT2 user would react.

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Post by ViziVoir » 11 Mar 2018, 17:11

This is probably one of the most interesting questions I've seen on the topic - how could we responsibly make this feature available? kfwilson6, I agree entirely with your earlier point about sending the Final Notice to a credible doctor. Human bodies are much more complicated than a prediction this precise seems to imply, and factors like epigenetics and environmental cues can have a huge impact on an individual's health and response to treatments. Even taken at face value, if the watch can predict that a person will die of a heart attack within two weeks, for example, why not just locate the affected artery and instruct the user to undergo surgery as soon as possible?

Escalation to murder seems to be a result of an individual's panic at a judgement they see as absolute, even when it might not be. Notifying a health professional of the health problem that would lead to a watch user's death is much more responsible than simply telling the user the time of their death.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 12 Mar 2018, 10:35

ViziVoir wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 17:11
This is probably one of the most interesting questions I've seen on the topic - how could we responsibly make this feature available? kfwilson6, I agree entirely with your earlier point about sending the Final Notice to a credible doctor. Human bodies are much more complicated than a prediction this precise seems to imply, and factors like epigenetics and environmental cues can have a huge impact on an individual's health and response to treatments. Even taken at face value, if the watch can predict that a person will die of a heart attack within two weeks, for example, why not just locate the affected artery and instruct the user to undergo surgery as soon as possible?

Escalation to murder seems to be a result of an individual's panic at a judgement they see as absolute, even when it might not be. Notifying a health professional of the health problem that would lead to a watch user's death is much more responsible than simply telling the user the time of their death.
Thank you so much for your feedback! VitalTech definitely did not explore every possible avenue to mitigate the notification that a user may be close to death. The watch was a very clever device with its ability to monitor a user's blood continuously but calling it FINAL Notice definitely made it seem final. There were so many things VitalTech could have tweaked to provide the benefits of the watch without causing such panic.

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Post by Camille Turner » 13 Mar 2018, 15:55

I believe that the final notice is not the same as a doctor's diagnosis because, as alluded to in the book, a doctor will tell you with kindness and you may continue to have hope, unlike with the alert on your watch. I even find the words "final notice" quite scary as compared to the way a person would break such horrible news. In regards to your other question though, I'm not sure people would take it as seriously if it just said to go see your doctor, for the same reason people don't take doctors themselves seriously when they say to eat better or exercise, etc. I am lost as to how culpable I believe VitalTech is. I'm torn between the idea that people's actions are their own and a moral responsibility tech companies have.

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Post by VictoriaMcMillen » 13 Mar 2018, 17:02

I do not believe that any responsibility would fall on VitalTech for simply offering the option to participants. I do think they should have sent an URGENT message to see their doctor and also one to their doctor with all the feedback they could offer to assist in the participants well being. I do think participants would have taken it seriously had they received the simple education necessary to understand the possible severity and implications. I believe the Final Notice is the equivalent to a doctors notice, given the outcomes in the book.
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Post by holsam_87 » 16 Mar 2018, 01:06

kfwilson6 wrote:
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?
A lot of responsibility falls on VitalTech since they offered the Final Notice option. No, I don't think that they should have stuck with the alert to see a doctor as soon as possible because it doesn't seem as urgent. I would have to say that yes a Final Notice is a notification of a life-threatening illness since the technology was developed by a doctor with the necessary know-how of how the body functions, and it wasn't developed by completely clueless people.
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Post by kfwilson6 » 16 Mar 2018, 09:44

holsam_87 wrote:
16 Mar 2018, 01:06
I would have to say that yes a Final Notice is a notification of a life-threatening illness since the technology was developed by a doctor with the necessary know-how of how the body functions, and it wasn't developed by completely clueless people.
What I meant with this question was more along the lines of is it equivalent to a doctor's diagnosis in the sense that when a doctor gives a diagnosis he is actually there for the patient as a human contact. He can provide consolation and answer questions whereas the watch doesn't give any kind of detailed information and is just a device that cannot provide what one on one contact with another person can.

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Post by holsam_87 » 16 Mar 2018, 18:03

Okay, that makes a little more sense. I think I was half asleep when I posted this. Thanks for the clarification.
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Post by stacie k » 16 Mar 2018, 20:04

My sense was that Vitaltech was more concerned with being sued than with the actual loss of lives. To be fair, they did make some modifications in the beta test group to add more screening through the medical doctors when choosing the participants. However, they were unwilling to risk another group pulling ahead of them on the technological race. Perhaps the modification to contact their doctor immediately could have warded off some of the unintended consequences. I do believe that the personal delivery of news from a professional who is trained and can offer tools for coping would be more compassionate and less dangerous. The perceived finality of the Final Notice seemed to send people over the edge and beyond the conviction of personal responsibility.
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Post by ccrews0408 » 18 Mar 2018, 17:10

I think that if Vitaltech takes any blame, it would be a very small amount. People are always quick to blame others for their poor choices. Even if they changed the settings to alert the doctors with news of their patient's impending death, people would blame guns when people acted irrationally or the NRA. Where does it stop?

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