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Gerry's Corner - My Neighbour

Gerry Cameron - Jan 25, 2018
My neighbor, while having a coffee with his wife, started to feel awful but fortunately recognized the signs. Lying on the floor he yelled at his wife to call 911. My neighbor was having a heart attack.

My neighbor, while having a coffee with his wife, started to feel awful but fortunately recognized the signs. Lying on the floor he yelled at his wife to call 911. My neighbor was having a heart attack.

They say the chance of survival decreases about 10% for every minute you are not receiving medical attention. Needless to say, time is crucial and a huge challenge for the emergency dispatchers is to identify the symptoms of a heart attack while taking the panicked call from a friend or relative. Luckily, the emergency dispatchers in Copenhagen now have help from an artificial intelligent (AI) assistant, named Corti, which breaks down non-verbal clues from the call to diagnose the situation.  Make no mistake, these dispatchers are well trained and can determine a cardiac arrest from descriptions over the phone 73% of the time. However, the success rate of this AI is higher. In a small scale study the machine learning bot was able to recognize a cardiac arrest situation 95% of the time.

Case in point, while the technology was first being introduced a dispatcher received a call from a women desperately reporting that her husband had fallen off the house roof. The dispatcher, listening to the details, concluded that the women’s husband had broken his back so advised the woman on what to do until the ambulance arrived. But Corti, also on line, established that the husband’s heart had stopped. Now this describes artificial intelligence; Corti is not designed to look for particular signals to make conclusions. Corti, actually trains itself by listening to sounds from a large number of calls. In this case Corti picked up the rattling sound that the woman’s husband, gasping for air, was making in the background. The woman’s husband actually fell off the roof because he had a heart attack.


"This is an innovation with the potential to change the way Emergency Medical Services handle emergency calls," said Freddy Lippert, the CEO of EMS Copenhagen. It’s clear that having an AI bot like Corti on the line is so important. It allows the dispatcher to coach the caller through CPR, to send drones, if available, with automatic defibrillators, or dispatch a CPR trained volunteer located in the area. Besides cardiac arrest situations, artificial intelligence can be used to make sure the dispatcher asked the address and that emergency response teams are going to the right location. In the Fast Company article by Adele Peters, Corti CEO Andreas Cleve explains that Corti is a great example of how artificial intelligence can support, not replace, humans.


A few days after my neighbor was rushed to the hospital I ran into him on the street. Being in top physical shape was one of the factors that allowed him to recover so fast but he admitted that state of the art technology was a major factor to his survival and when in that situation you want all the help you can get, like Corti listening to your call.



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