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2014-09-03    来源:FORTUNE    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


It’s a dark thought, and the sort of thing only a futurist would think of. Which is why I’m not surprised that Bre Pettis, founder and CEO of the 3D printing company Makerbot, brought it up. When I asked him about 3D-printed organs earlier this summer at the Northside Festival, a conference in Brooklyn, he told me that 3D-printed body parts won’t become a reality until autonomous vehicles arrive to market. It makes for a surprising connection between two futuristic technologies.
这是一个阴暗的想法,只有未来主义者才会产生这样的联想。因此当3D打印公司Makerbot创始人兼首席执行官布利•佩蒂斯抛出这个问题时,我并不感到意外。今年夏初,在布鲁克林的北边艺术节(Northside Festival)上,我询问他关于3D打印器官的问题,他回答说,直到自动驾驶汽车上市,3D打印人体器官才会成为现实。两项富于未来气息的技术就这样意外地联系在了一起。

“The self-driving car is coming, and right now, our best supply of organs comes from car accidents,” he said. “So, if you need an organ you just wait for somebody to have an accident, and then you get their organ and you’re better.” I suggested that was a dark way of looking at it.

His response: “We have this huge problem that we sort of don’t talk about, that people die all the time from car accidents. It’s kind of insane. But the most interesting thing is, if we can reduce accidents and deaths, then we actually have a whole other problem on our hands of, ‘Where do we get organs?’ I don’t think we’ll actually be printing organs until we solve the self-driving car issue. The next problem will be organ replacement.”

It’s not impossible to 3D-print an organ, he said, but there are challenges around raw materials. “Right now you take liver goo, and you squeeze liver goo into the shape of a liver and it grows together and hopefully becomes a liver. That’s the idea of 3D printing organs,” he said. The challenge, he said, will be getting the science of the “liver goo” right, before the actual printing part even comes into play.

The self-driving car isn’t as far off as you might think. What once existed only the realm of science fiction is now roving around—albeit in an extremely limited fashion—in Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. What was once an easy punch line in parodies of Silicon Valley is now a fixture on Google’s corporate campus.

Adoption continues. Last month the U.K.’s Department of Transport announced that it would allow self-driving cars onto British streets by next year. A county in Iowa recently announced—at a symposium designed to attract Google and other tech companies to its region, naturally—that it would allow driverless cars on its streets. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has been pushing to get broader regulations in place to allow self-driving cars on public roads.

The potential benefits are hard to ignore. Each year 30,000 people die in traffic collisions in the U.S. Considering that 90% of U.S. auto collisions are blamed on human error—some 40% are the result of factors such as alcohol or fatigue—we have a lot to gain by outsourcing the task of driving to computers.

If 10% of vehicles were self-driving, it could reduce the number of accidents by 211,000 and in turn save 1,100 lives,according to a 2013 study by the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, D.C. If 90% of vehicles were autonomous, an estimated 4.2 million accidents would be prevented and 21,700 lives would be saved.
华盛顿非营利智囊机构伊诺交通中心(Eno Center for Transportation)在2013年进行的研究表明,如果美国10%的车辆可以自动驾驶,交通事故就会减少21.1万起,1100条生命就能得到挽救。如果自动驾驶汽车的比例达到90%,就可以避免420万起车祸,2.17万人将因此获救。

Technological advances often come with unintended consequences, though, which is why these predictions support Pettis’ case that organ donations would be adversely impacted by safer driving. Motor vehicle accidents are the largest contributor to organ donations after natural-cause deaths. Since 1994, 16% of all organ donations came from motor vehicle accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
不过,技术进步经常带来意想不到的影响。正是出于这个原因,这些预测数据印证了佩蒂斯的观点,即驾车变得更安全,将对器官捐献产生不利影响。除了自然死亡,交通事故是器官捐献的最大来源。美国卫生及公共服务部(Department of Health & Human Services)的数据显示,1994年以来,机动车事故在器官捐献中所占的比重为16%。

The inventory pressure from increasing adoption of self-driving cars will add to an already shrinking pool of organ donors. Traffic deaths have been in decline since 1969, when they peaked at 55,043. The drop occurred for a number of reasons: drunk driving deaths have fallen, seat belt use has increased, air bags are more effective, and we drive less.

All of this has led to a widening gap between the number of patients on the organ wait list and the number of people who actually receive transplants. More than 123,000 people in the U.S. are currently in need of an organ, and 18 people die each day waiting, according to the Department of Health & Human Services. Though the wait list has grown each year for the past two decades, the number of transplants per year has held steady in the last decade, at around 28,000. While that number is still dwarfed by other fatal but preventable situations—the Centers for Disease Control estimate that443,000 people die each year from smoking, for example—it’s enough to make anyone wary of the direction in which the trend is going, and hopeful that 3D printing technology can help turn it around.
等待器官移植的病人一直比真正接受移植的病人多,以上种种因素让这个差距不断拉大。美国卫生及公共服务部的数据表明,目前美国需要进行器官移植的人数超过12.3万,而且每天都会有18个人在等待中逝去。20年来,等待器官移植的人数逐年增多;而在过去10年中,每年进行的器官移植手术一直稳定在2.8万例。虽然和其他致命但可预防的疾病相比,这个数字相形见绌——举例来说,美国疾病控制与预防中心(Centers for Disease Control)估计,每年有44.3万人死于抽烟——但它足以让所有人对今后的趋势感到警惕。但愿3D打印技术能帮助我们扭转这种趋势。(财富中文网)

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