OUR COUNTY

Well-meaning tech may need to 'get smarter'

D. GARY DAVIS
Posted 3/18/19

Our County D. Gary Davis County MayorChester Gould is credited with the creation of the comic strip "Dick Tracy" in 1931, and was involved with the continuous development of his series until his …

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OUR COUNTY

Well-meaning tech may need to 'get smarter'

Posted

Chester Gould is credited with the creation of the comic strip "Dick Tracy" in 1931, and was involved with the continuous development of his series until his retirement in 1977. Many various writers have continued with the further development of this American comic strip icon ever since.

From 1965-70, Don Adams as  Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 taught many how to laugh with the satirical TV show “Get Smart” – along with a cast of characters from Control and Chaos. Trivia buffs will know that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry meant for both “CONTROL” and “CHAOS” to be acronyms, but never were able to come up with anything for them to stand for, so they just became names of opposing organizations.

If you have made it this far in your reading, you are probably wondering where I am going and how on earth this could possibly relate to our community, but trust me it will make sense very soon. Both Dick Tracy and "Get Smart" were known for their amazing “arsenal” of extremely cool and far-out gadgets that were way ahead of their time. One of these devices included what was once so far-removed from reality that it seemed impossible, the mobile phone. This was an era when the corded telephone ruled and the only real advance of this landline was not having to access a “party line” through the help of an operator. Dick Tracy had both a phone and a radio on his wrist and Maxwell Smart had a working telephone in his shoe.

Our generation now knows that a phone in your shoe may not be very feasible, but a telephone on your wrist it is now a reality. Many of our citizens across Bradley County have purchased an Apple watch and have not only become accustomed to their benefits but have also purchased them for family. This is where it gets interesting and applicable to our community.

This past month someone residing in our community was enjoying a morning at home and, while getting ready for the day, decided to take a shower. At shower's end, surprisingly, the resident heard multiple people knocking very loudly on the front door, trying to get a response from anyone inside of the residence. Once dressed, the resident was greeted by many of our community’s finest first responders, who said they were “sent” to the home by an Apple wristwatch notification of a possible fall and incapacitation of its owner.

This person frequents one of the restaurants my executive assistant, Lindsay Hathcock, also visits, and asked him to pass along their thanks for the fast response, but to also offer apologies for the false alarm. Upon his discussions with the 911 dispatch Hathcock learned about the following link from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208944.

It seems that ANYONE with one of these watches – if it's updated with health information and notes they are 65 or older – is automatically placed into a higher fall risk category. With any "detected" movement or sudden stop that may mimic a fall pattern, this watch will automatically dial 911 for you. There are options to stop this from happening (including turning off the notification) in the Apple link.

Please know that we are glad to provide the lifesaving gift of medical and interventional equipment and the amazing professionals who work, volunteer and direct our emergency response units across both the city and the county, but just like building alarms that turn out “false,” this may also develop into another area of concern for those who are called to render care “at a moment’s notice.”

Let me emphasize this was not this citizen’s fault and this was the first time that this has happened locally. It appears to have been a malfunction of the watch itself or the latest update that was sent to it from its manufacturer. Hopefully they will be able to improve this function (which is a good idea) in order to help those who might be unable to help themselves. But, they also need to improve the ability to minimize the unnecessary mobilization of emergency personnel and equipment.

Knowing that things we once thought of as impossible are now a reality is a great tribute to the ingenuity of those finding new solutions and ways of accomplishing tasks.

Many things will continue to improve with technology, but this same improvement is still greatly dependent on human communication and data input/interpretation.

I am continually appreciative of those who work day and night to help keep us safe, healthy, secure and "Chaos-Controlled" as they and their contributions are yet another reason that Bradley County is ... Tennessee at its best!

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