25th July 2014

When life & death decisions are made by if/then/else statements – 25 July, 2014 WRU

Three years, that's the average amount of time a transplant patient has to wait for a kidney. One cause of the delay is the lack of available donors (something that behavioural economists are trying to change); another is the difficulty in finding the right medical match at the right time.

But what if you could speed up the process by looking at the problem differently? Medics in the States are moving away from treating organ transplantation as a logistical challenge, and instead, are treating it as a big data challenge. Using algorithms that match patient data (age, blood type, smoker, drinker) with organ data (such as blood type, tissue type, age), medics can create better matches – reducing the chances of organ rejection and other post-operation complications.

That's great news for patients and donors' families alike. But it makes for some difficult choices for the programmers who are writing these algorithms. How forgiving should their code be? Should they prioritise the needs of younger and healthier patients over older, more ill ones? Should their code penalise those who smoke or drink?

Also in this week’s round up; Filip shows us why people miss the obvious (and drive into buildings). Brian discovers how one poor UI decision led to decades of conspiracy theories (and dashed hopes for hundreds of families). And we hear what happened when one artist modified a record player to play wood.

  • #Mobile
  • Tablets are for keeps
  • Data suggests that we're slower to upgrade our tablets, than our phones.
  • Read More »
  • #eCommerce
  • Apple's next iPhone may have advanced mobile payments features
  • And it looks like Apple will create is own payments' ecosystem for them
  • Read More »
  • #Data
  • Savings live with Big Data
  • What if you could use data to automatically better match patients waiting for an organ transplant with potential donors, using algorithms designed to identify matches that are less likely to be rejected by their new host?
  • Read More »
  • #User Journeys
  • "Count to ten when a plane goes down…"
  • How one UX/UI issue exacerbated an international incident, and launched a series of conspiracy theories (via Brian)
  • Read More »
  • #Experience Design
  • Why do drivers crash into buildings?
  • Behavioural economics and magic explains why we miss obvious things, and drive into buildings (via Filip)
  • Watch »
  • #Beautiful Web
  • Woodwind instruments
  • Watch this modified record player make gorgeous music from the vinyl-sized slices of wood
  • Watch »
  • #Internet of Things
  • Got a sec?
  • Roll up, roll up! Our fantabulous Human Clock will be on show as part of the Dublin Maker festival this Saturday (July 26) in Trinity.
  • Read More »
  • #Digital Transformation
  • Language learning app, Duolingo, makes a boring but important change
  • Duolingo's new standardised testing app mightn't sound sexy, but it could dramatically change how apps are used for education Read More »

Illustration: Patrick Cusack