The old way: Well trained private doctor stands over you, rips open your abdomen, takes out your appendix, sews you up. You are in pain for days, recover slowly and have a huge scar.
The new way: A few round openings a centimeter wide are put around your body cavity. Into the holes go a camera and a couple of robotic fingers controlled remotely by a surgeon. The fingers are small, precise, more nimble than human hands. The appendix is detached and slowly pulled from one of the holes while the surgeon guides everything watching a video screen. Once the robotic fingers are removed, the cavity holes are easily sealed back up without leaving much trace. Patient time in the hospital is a fraction of the old time, recovery time is faster.
I had the opportunity to play with one of these systems and it is amazing. The precision and control is orders higher than I could achieve with my own hands. Since it is done with robotic control while watching a monitor it was like playing the coolest video game ever. I could manipulate objects smaller than I could see with my own eyes - and I am a business guy playing with the machine for a few minutes. Imagine what a trained surgeon could do with it?