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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: workshops/meetings » Doc-in-a-box: Pervasive self treatment and diagnosis

version: 9 / updated: 2011-02-04
id: #1603 / version id: #1020
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Originally submitted by: Anthony Walker
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Last changed by: Anthony Walker
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration


iKnow workshop country name

United Kingdom

Workshop date

February 2010

The source of the Wild Card is

UK Workshop - Nano group


(max. 9 words)

Doc-in-a-box: Pervasive self treatment and diagnosis


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
Nano-enabled self diagnosis and self treatment becomes pervasive. This would allow the general public to diagnose, monitor and treat illness themselves having their own ‘Doc in a Box’. Doctors may become redundant and the ageing population could increase. There would also be large scale unemployment of medical professionals.


Self diagnosis, ageing population, doctors, nanotechnology, quality of life, pharmaceuticals


(max. 250 characters)

Nano-enabled self diagnosis and self treatment becomes pervasive. This would allow the general public to diagnose, monitor and treat illness themselves having their own ‘Doc in a Box’. Doctors may become redundant and the ageing population increases


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
- Big pharma companies may disappear
Feature 2: education and research environment
- Nano education from primary school may be required - Databases for self-diagnosis would be required
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
There is a need for technological progress in this field. Software advances required for the global database and to advance current lab-on-a-chip technology. Hardware advances required (such as non intrusive) hand held devices for accurate diagnosis.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
People are healthier and live longer. New religion of 'supermen' created. There is the possibility for the misunderstanding of results leading to widespread paranoia – ‘I have a headache therefore I must have a fatal disease!’
Feature 7: security and defence
Secure and accurate scanning techniques would need to be developed and the IT would have to be protected from potential hackers.

Type of event

Human planned (e.g. terrorist attack or funded scientific breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.
people are relying more on self diagnosis rather than visiting a doctor

Type of systems affected

Human-built Systems - E.g. organisations, processes, technologies, etc.




please specify:
please select
Level 2: important for a particular world region Important for developed / richer countries who can afford this new technology
Level 4: important for the whole world

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

DIY tests for treatment / diagnosis of medical conditions are already available (pregnancy tests, diabetes monitoring kits, etc). The proliferation of these could result in this WI.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
scientific filters (knowledge/technology access)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably enclosed way (e.g. geographically, sectorally)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Emergence of a new system (e.g. new technologies, new paradigms)


This WI would result in a huge decline in the numbers of doctors working in the medical industry, doctors would only be involved in the treatment, not in diagnosis

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Social Public lose faith in the medical profession
Technological/Scientific New research which would allow this technology to be created
Economic Public lcannot afford medical treatment by a doctor

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Large scale unemployment of medical professionals New opportunities better healthcare for whole population

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) initiate robust quality control mechanisms to ensure technology is effective
Academic/Research sector Conduct research to allow this technology to be developed
Media Publicise technology responsibly - do not sesationalise

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Diseases, health and well-being massive impact of the whole medical industry

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health massive impact on the whole medical industry

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer This will allow the technology to be distributed throughout the world

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.
researchers and policy makers working togther so that whole population can benefit from this new technology

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Massive impact of the whole medical industry. This will allow the technology to be distributed throughout the world. Researchers and policy makers need to be working together so that whole population can benefit from this new technology. Security is an issue to make database secure from hackers.