An App for That

I was watching this video and thinking that it made a tremendous amount of sense. As I was lamenting that there really ought to be a way to apply it to Multiple Myeloma, I realized I was reinventing the wheel. The various forums and websites that exist are a microcosm of the ideals presented by Ms. Pahlka.

There is a remarkable machine which supports doctors, patients and caregivers involved with the cancer so looming in our lives. Sometimes it’s difficult to realize such a behemoth exists because, like much of the machine intelligence we use today it employs distributed processing.  Like the SETI program using the desktop computers of legions of volunteers, our support machine exists similarly. It exists in the informational websites, forums, blogs and news dissemination services. There really is a lot of information about Multiple Myeloma that’s available.

However, there is no app, as Jennifer describes about fire hydrants and errant opossums. Some of the websites come close, providing a wealth of information in databases and archives. It would be almost devastatingly cool were someone to write an app that could accept a question from an app user, and like Watson playing Jeopardy, conjure an answer to the query specifically tailored to it. Of course, the very provider of the vast power of the existing support machine being distributed processing, it would require some time to probe the various Internet sources and develop its answer. But I figured that actually that wasn’t so awful. In my imaginary app, a server would actually take up the slack and provide the arduous searching and then email the answer back to either a cell phone or to a computer. Over time, there would build an expansive database of common queries, speeding the response time of answer delivery. There are apps for an ever-widening menu of tasks, topics and interests, why not Mutiple Myeloma?

So today I thought that I might issue a challenge to the fertile minds that read my comments here today, to actually build this. Perhaps readers might forward this post to various agencies, spreading the suggestion around to a wider audience than my little blog enjoys. Click the Facebook button or the G+ buttons and share it that way. It’s easy to do, it just takes a click.  As this video points out, the more hands that touch this, the easier the task becomes.

This video, by the way, comes courtesy of TED, a website dedicated to technology and education discussions. You might have seen the commercials for an upcoming television special on the Science Channel featuring TED contributors. But television aside, the website offers literally hours of intriguing materials and opportunities to dialog.