Bowels, Bowels, Bowels – we’ve all got them but not a lot of people like to talk about them.

In fact, actually, you might be surprised to hear: not everyone has a bowel. Hundreds of people each year have their bowels removed due to one form of Bowel Disease or another.

You may also be surprised to hear that Bowel Cancer can be “cured” by identifying the site of the tumour in the bowel, cutting it out and sewing both bits of the bowel back together again.  If caught early enough survival rates for Bowel Cancer are remarkably high

Improvements in healthcare over the past 50 years have seen diseases eradicated and  many medical conditions be alleviated to the point that treatments can keep people alive and well for many many more years.  One of the reasons perhaps that The NHS is currently on its knees – people living longer but having a myriad of other problems that need looking after.  Planned and semi –emergency surgeries are being cancelled throughout the land as hospitals fail to cope with a system that is full to bursting.

But it is not the problems with the NHS that I’m talking about.

“50% of charities do not have a digital strategy” was the headline that rang out across the Third Sector last week.  “What is digital?” a Finance Director colleague of mine continuously used to ask in strategy meetings – and indeed you might well ask that question – and I’m sure a number of charity staff continue to do so up and down the land.

But it is not the lack of digital strategies in charities that I’m talking about either.

In 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind. I’ll let you read that statement again if you like….. In 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind… Astonishing, you might say. But it is predicted that in 10 years’ time, the amount of data that exists in the world will double every 12 hours!  Living in a world with smart phones is wacky enough for some but soon enough we’ll be living in smart houses, working in smart offices/factories/hospitals, living in smart cities and being driven around by smart cars.

But it is not the onset of BIG (gigantic?) data that I’m talking about either.

Those incredibly smart analysts over at 80,000 hours have spent the last 8 years sorting out what our biggest problems are.  So don’t worry folks you don’t have to worry about worrying about what the problems are. You just have to start worrying about the problems themselves…..

And no, it is not about that bloke from off the telly who’s just become the most powerful man in the western world or about that little matter of packing our bags up and legging it away from the rest of Europe.

What we have, apparently, is…..  A control problem.

I’ve talked about the onset of Robots taking over the planet in my previous post and about the incredible innovations taking place in robotic surgeries and healthcare.

100 of the top Artificial Intelligence scientists say that there is a 50% chance of human level machine intelligence by 2050 and that figure shoots up to 90% by 2070.

The robots are coming – whether we like it or not, it’s a question of when not if.

And the problem lies in the fact that we can’t work out how to code moral behaviour into a computer.  The question is “How do we stay in control of a system that is smarter than us?” – Thus the control problem.

Our destiny as a human race lies in the operating systems of the robots that we are creating today.

And luckily the bowels of a robotic system aint one of our problems.

Last week I was fascinated to hear about the world’s first Virtual Reality Surgeon – Shafi Ahmed who’s working on incredible project called the Medical Realities VR solution. 104 cameras each with a resolution of 36 megapixels are creating his Avatar. To be used in medical training products that can reduce the cost of medical training, reach a wider audience and provide a completely safe learning environment for doctors, surgeons and medical students.  Now that really is astonishing stuff!

Humans becoming avatars – I’m sure there’s a movie in there somewhere.

So we live in a world with problems all over the place – so what’s the answer?  More funding for our healthcare system – YES!  More digital training for charities– YES! More innovative solutions for training to our doctors and surgeons – YES!

But how do we cope with the Robots?

I’m not sure I can help you with that one… but hopefully someone out there is listening and will come to the rescue of humankind as we know it.

What we can however help with is the problems with our bowels.  The money we raise through a number of Trusts and Foundations enable us to fund research projects throughout the UK and Ireland.

Take a look at this innovative project called GRANULE – BDRF-funded workshops giving medical students the skills to recruit patients into surgical trials have been hailed as a major step toward fostering a generation of research-ready junior doctors.

Our work improves the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with a bowel disease and helps advance the treatment and care for the many hundreds of thousands who will be diagnosed in the future.

But it is not enough – and we need to do more.  And that, my friend, is where you come in.

Perhaps you would consider making a regular donation to our cause – if we had an army of supporters willing to donate a few pounds every month to further our research we could help bring about major changes to the health and wellbeing of our bowels – and indeed for those without a bowel.

You can set up a monthly direct debit donation right here.

Or perhaps the company you work for could help us. Have a think about it as you are sitting at your desk surrounded by colleagues – a large proportion of which one day will potentially face a problem with their bowels in one way shape or form.

You could all do something wacky to help, like dress up in silly clothes for a day, dye your hair blue or perhaps you could bake a few cakes one day and sell them for ridiculously expensive prices and donate the proceeds to us – just a thought.

We’re currently collaborating with companies across the surgical healthcare field and helping to ensure that our research projects, spearheaded by the best colorectal surgeons in the land are joined up with industry so that we can work together to get the best outcomes for patients.

You might also like to come to a special reception evening we are holding where you and your colleagues can learn more about our work and how you can get involved.

If you would like to know more about how we could potentially work together do drop me a line and we can talk it though in more detail.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, please do pass on to others, post on your favourite social media channel or indeed tell me what you think in the comments section below.