More than one Way to Reskin a Cat

More than one Way to Reskin a Cat

More than one Way to Reskin a Cat

But you comprehend the result ? Man’s complete triumph over disease by this process of dissolution and rehabilitation

A Witch City Mystery Frederick van Rensselaer Dey, 1901

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article: The futuristic processes that are making medicine better today

In this post :
    1. Chermiti Mohamed from Pexels

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Manuel

Hi Sandra, I need some advice on medical technology! 😊

Today 11:41   

Sandra

Hi Manuel, hopefully not for yourself …?                                               

Today 11:42   

Manuel

No, thank goodness, for a piece I’m writing. 😊

Today 11:43   

Sandra

Oh, ok, always glad to help. 😊                                                                

Today 11:44   

Manuel

OK, rapid fire questions about science or sci-fi! Ready!

Today 11:46  

Sandra

I sure hope so: ready!                                                                                

Today 11:47   

Manuel

Artificial wombs?

Today 11:48  

Sandra

There’s some in the animal testing stage, but just for premature births, not right from conception: Artificial Womb

Today 11:49   

Manuel

OK. Tricorders

Today 11:50   

Sandra

Tricorders? 🤔                                                                                            

Today 11:51   

Manuel

It’s a term from Star Trek: a handheld device that can provide a quick diagnosis

Today 11:52   

Sandra

Oh, well, those exist or are in development for some specific cases, not an overall diagnosis: Medical Tricorders

Today 11:53   

Manuel

Great! Last one is an open question: what is the most sci-fi-like real development?

Today 11:53   

Sandra

Where do I begin! There’s so much going on in medical technology nowadays …

Today 11:54   

Manuel

Prosthetics and Exoskeletons?

Today 11:54   

Sandra

Maybe, but I’m more exited by biological breakthroughs involving living tissue

Today 11:55   

Manuel

Tell me all about it!

Today 11:56   

Sandra

There’s been some serious advances in regenerative medicine, for example for the skin

Today 11:57   

Sandra

you can just spray on a thin layer of healthy cells from the patient, instead of using grafts: Advances in Skin Tissue

Today 11:57   

Manuel

Wow that does sound like sci-fi to me!

Today 11:58   

Sandra

Lucky for us it isn’t: it’s science!  😉                                                        

Today 11:59   

… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …

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Natural Born Cyborgs

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Natural Born Cyborgs

Human!
We used to be exactly like them… Flawed, Weak, Organic
But we evolved to include the synthetic
Now we use both to attain perfection

The Borg

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article:
Scientists Warn of “Bleak Cyborg Future” From Brain-Computer Interfaces

In this post :

    1. Nandu Vasudevan from Pixabay
    2. Cottonbro from Pexels

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Sandra

It may sound very apocalyptic, but it is a very remote possibility.     

Today 11:40  

Sandra

And yet something that we have to think about before it is too late.

Today 11:40  

Manuel

Absolutely! We do want policies in place for how things should be used.

Today 11:41   

Sandra

Right, and that’s why we collaborated not just with engineers and programmes, but with doctors, patients, ethicists, etc.

Today 11:42   

Manuel

Sounds like a very good idea. Still: are you a cyborg when you have an IMD? 😅

Today 11:43   

Sandra

Wow, that’s quite the question! I’m not sure, it seems like a gradual thing …

Today 11:44   

Manuel

Gradual? What do you mean? 🤔

Today 11:46  

Sandra

Well, “cyborg” sounds like you’re half a robot, not a natural human anymore.

Today 11:47   

Sandra

But we do so many other things that aren’t, you know, “biologically” natural

Today 11:47   

Manuel

Like, … wearing clothes? Unlike animals? 😉

Today 11:48  

Sandra

Yeah, maybe that is how it started, but think of everything else too: fire, tool use, building houses, etc.

Today 11:49   

Sandra

and then specifically changing our bodies. Wouldn’t every medical intervention make you “unnatural” then?

Today 11:49   

Manuel

There actually are some religions that suggest stuff like that …

Today 11:50   

Sandra

I know, but that’s not how I feel. Am I a cyborg for wearing glasses? Wearing contacts? Getting eye surgery? 🤓

Today 11:51   

Manuel

I see what you mean with “gradual” now …

Today 11:52   

Sandra

It’s not like a BCI or IMD takes over, it modifies who you are and how you act, just like a pill, or a glass of wine 

Today 11:53   

Manuel

So, it’s more subtle than that

Today 11:53   

Sandra

Exactly. It’s not like a pacemaker or a BCI turn you into a robot, in a sense it is not unlike any other tool, but now it is part of your body. 

Today 11:54   

Manuel

And because it changes what you can do, it is of ethical concern?

Today 11:54   

Sandra

Yes, anything that restores our capacity for action or gives us new options, raises ethical issues 

Today 11:55   

Manuel

Thank you so much! This has been very helpful! 😊

Today 11:56   

… Continue to read the conversation between Manuel and Sandra  on Saturday 23th October…

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I do think that robots deserve rights and there are research projects being carried out today that are looking at robot laws. African-American slaves were given rights when slavery was abolished and they became part of society. Think of animals too – none of them had rights in the beginning but now animal rights are the norm. So if robots can interact with humans, they too should be given rights.

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He clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance…
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Conditioning the Moral Compass

Conditioning the Moral Compass

Conditioning the Moral Compass

He has no real choice, has he?
Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice

Burgess 1962

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article:
The ethics of brain–computer interfaces

In this post :

    1. ArtHouse Studio from Pexels
    2. PixxlTeufel from Pixabay

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Manuel

It gets worse?

Today 11:39  

Sandra

Sure, as think about facial recognition: useful as assistive technology for the blind, bad if used for racial profiling

Today 11:40  

Manuel

Right, I see what you mean

Today 11:41   

Sandra

Also with Brain Computer Interfaces and neurostimulation: what could it be used for?

Today 11:42   

Manuel

You tell me!

Today 11:43   

Sandra

Well, have you seen or read “Clockwork Orange” ?                            

Today 11:44   

Manuel

The old Kubrick movie?

Today 11:46  

Sandra

Yes, but it’s actually based on a book by Anthony Burgess.                  

Today 11:47   

Manuel

Right, I remember the main character, Alex, being somehow conditioned, right? 😉

Today 11:48  

Sandra

That’s right: aversion therapy to block bad behaviour. Like spraying your cat when it gets on the counter.

Today 11:49   

Manuel

Ok, so like behavioursim? Pavlov’s dogs?

Today 11:50   

Sandra

Exactly. The story criticizes the attempt to “re-train” someone to be good. What if we could do that directly in the brain?

Today 11:50   

Manuel

Oh my goodness! That’s straight-up mind control! 😣

Today 11:51   

Sandra

Yep, put your tinfoil hat on. 😄                                                                

Today 11:52   

Manuel

So there actually could be a way to do that? 🤔

Today 11:52   

Sandra

It is realistic enough that people are afraid about this possibility    

Today 11:52   

Manuel

Really? 😯

Today 11:53   

Sandra

Maybe not now and not with a decade, but think about how much computers have shrunk: from room size to pocket size    

Today 11:54   

Manuel

True, I even have one on my wrist …

Today 11:54   

Sandra

So what if everyone gets a Brain-Computer Interface in 50 years because it is useful and practical … and then it gets hacked? 

Today 11:55   

Manuel

Now suddenly it doesn’t sound so unreasonable anymore …

Today 11:56   

… Continue to read the conversation between Manuel and Sandra  on Saturday 16th October…

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Complicated mental processes are entirely reducible to such simple activities as the attentive observation of statements previously accepted as true, the perception of structural, purely external, connections among these statements, and the execution of mechanical transformations as prescribed by the rules of inference

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I do think that robots deserve rights and there are research projects being carried out today that are looking at robot laws. African-American slaves were given rights when slavery was abolished and they became part of society. Think of animals too – none of them had rights in the beginning but now animal rights are the norm. So if robots can interact with humans, they too should be given rights.

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He clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance…
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Human-Computer Symbiosis

Human-Computer Symbiosis

Human-Computer Symbiosis

The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today

Licklider 1960

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article:
Do Brain Implants Change Your Identity?

In this post :

    1. Darlene Alderson from Pexels
    2. Kevin Ku from Pexels 

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Sandra

There are various means and goals when measuring and stimulating the brain, it’s not easy to say stuff in general about this.

Today 11:39  

Sandra

It’s not like you install a USB hub in the brain and then hook up your laptop

Today 11:39  

Manuel

No, I get that, sure. And it seems to be ethically controversial too 😅

Today 11:39  

Sandra

Absolutely! Even before staring human trials for a new device, we need to think things through.

Today 11:40  

Manuel

What are some of the questions that come up?

Today 11:41   

Sandra

For more general research: what could it be used for? And how could it be abused?

Today 11:42   

Sandra

For specific devices: what happens if it does or doesn’t work? And how will people react to their implant?

Today 11:42   

Manuel

Could you elaborate on that last one?

Today 11:43   

Sandra

Sure. It is always a risk that people reject the implant, in the sense that it feels weird to them

Today 11:44   

Sandra

Having a computer “control” what you do feels creepy, even if it allows you to walk or talk again.

Today 11:44   

Manuel

I think I understand: the implanted device feels alien, and it’s not like a walking stick you can leave behind

Today 11:46  

Sandra

Nope: it is part of you now, more like the hip replacement that you cannot take out.

Today 11:47   

Sandra

So we need to educate and guide people in understanding the procedure and functionality

Today 11:47   

Manuel

But still: if it helps you live a more normal life, why would there be a problem. 🤔

Today 11:48  

Sandra

Well, Deep Brain Stimulation was developed as treatment for Parkinson’s at first

Today 11:49   

Manuel

It reduces the tremors?

Today 11:50   

Sandra

Yes, but it is also being used for mental health issues, like depression or OCD.

Today 11:50   

Sandra

People feel that it interferes with their autonomy: who am I anymore?

Today 11:51   

Manuel

I see, the risk is that it takes away agency and decision making form the patient.

Today 11:51   

Sandra

Exactly, but it gets worse!                                                               

Today 11:52   

… Continue to read the conversation between Manuel and Sandra  on Saturday 9th October…

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Robot See, Robot Do

Robot See, Robot Do

I do think that robots deserve rights and there are research projects being carried out today that are looking at robot laws. African-American slaves were given rights when slavery was abolished and they became part of society. Think of animals too – none of them had rights in the beginning but now animal rights are the norm. So if robots can interact with humans, they too should be given rights.

read more
Coppélia 2.0

Coppélia 2.0

He clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance…
He thought that his dancing was usually correct as to time, but the peculiarly steady rhythm with which Olympia moved, and which often put him completely out, soon showed him that his time was most defective

read more

Brainwaves

Brainwaves

Brainwaves

I was driven mostly by practical questions, indeed also by the question whether we could, just as is the case with the electrocardiogram for pathologies of the heart, find an objective research method for pathological changes in the activities of the central nervous system, which would be of the greatest significance for diagnostics

Berger 1929

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article:
The History of Neuroimaging Techniques

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Sandra

So the category of Implantable Medical Devices is quite large and diverse

Today 11:39  

Sandra

The most common ones are probably lens implants for cataracts   

Today 11:39  

Manuel

Oh, I hadn’t thought of those! My grandma had that!

Today 11:39  

Sandra

Yep, very common, and knee replacements are more common than hip replacements

Today 11:40  

Manuel

OK, sure, but stuff like this is … an old hat, right? We’ve been doing this for a long time?

Today 11:41   

Sandra

Absolutely, knee replacements started in the 19th century already

Today 11:42   

Manuel

Now what about the new and controversial devices? You mentioned working on a brain implant?

Today 11:44   

Sandra

That’s right, a neurostimulator for chronic back pain after spinal injury

Today 11:42   

Manuel

Cool! So what does that do exactly? 😁

Today 11:46  

Sandra

After a spinal injury a lot of people develop chronic pain and our device basically intercepts the pain signals

Today 11:42   

Manuel

So we can detect and block such specific signals?

Today 11:46  

Sandra

There are various techniques to measure brain activity, like an EEG or fMRI

Today 11:48   

Sandra

An EEG is an “electroencephalogram”: measuring electrical activity on the scalp that corresponds to activity in the brain.

Today 11:42   

Sandra

fMRI is “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging”, measuring brain activity by measuring blood flow in the brain

Today 11:42   

Manuel

OK, I did know about those. These are non-invasive, without surgery, right?

Today 11:48  

Sandra

Right, but with surgery we can also put electrodes directly in the brain

Today 11:49   

Manuel

Like Deep Brain Stimulation? 😵‍

Today 11:50   

Sandra

Well, there is a difference between measuring and stimulating, but basically yes.

Today 11:50   

Manuel

And then you can hook the electrodes up to a computer?

Today 11:51   

Sandra

Not always, but, yes, that is a possibility                                                

Today 11:51   

Manuel

That’s the kind of implantable device I was talking about: Brain-Computer Interfaces!

Today 11:51   

… Continue to read the conversation between Manuel and Sandra  on Saturday 2nd October…

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Total posts on the argument

Robot See, Robot Do

Robot See, Robot Do

I do think that robots deserve rights and there are research projects being carried out today that are looking at robot laws. African-American slaves were given rights when slavery was abolished and they became part of society. Think of animals too – none of them had rights in the beginning but now animal rights are the norm. So if robots can interact with humans, they too should be given rights.

read more
Coppélia 2.0

Coppélia 2.0

He clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance…
He thought that his dancing was usually correct as to time, but the peculiarly steady rhythm with which Olympia moved, and which often put him completely out, soon showed him that his time was most defective

read more