Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 9, 2015


Thinking about cognitive/memory enhancement, I'm reminded of the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip. It's not such an outlandish extrapolation, is it, going from this

to this...

to "The Entire History of You"? ["...uncomfortably close to our reality, giving us a glimpse of a world populated with technology we understand that’s driving extreme behavior we nonetheless fully recognize within ourselves." AV Club]

Well, maybe it is. Apparently there's been a lot of Internet scare-mongering about RFID being "the mark of the beast," "the Antichrist's technology" etc. Let's not get carried away.

On the other hand, enhancement lends itself to all kinds of fanciful speculation about a rapidly-transformative and frightening future. My favorite fictional treatment (and it's all pretty much still in the realm of fiction, isn't it?) is Richard Powers' novel Generosity: An Enhancement. It imagines a familiar world unhinged by the promise of (and desperate demand for) genetically-enhanced happiness. It's a world no longer sated by the old pre-enhanced pursuit, a world where enough (as Bill McKibben so presciently put it, before turning to saving the environment) is never Enough.

But more on that later. "Justice" calls.


  1. I don't having posting abilities yet, so I'm going to post the quiz from Thursday, Feb. 5, here in the comments.

    Feb. 5 Quiz
    1. This consists in presenting another person's ideas as their own____________.(BB127)
    Answer: Plagiarism
    2. What does "RCT" stand for? (BB121)
    Answer: Randomized Clinical Trial
    3. What doctrine requires that all research protocols must be submitted to a "research ethics commitee before the study begins"? (BB117)
    Answer: Helsinki Declaration
    4. What is a biobank? (BB133)
    Answer: a collection of biological samples or genetic information
    5. What is therapeutic misconception? (BB119)
    Answer: It is where the patient thinks that the research will benefit him or her even though they have been told that it actually doesn't.

  2. FQ: What two fundamental principles of justice did John Rawls produce? (BB158)
    Answer: Liberty Principle and Difference Principle

    DQ: Considering the second scenario on pages 153 and 154, what would you do? Why?

  3. FQ: What does QALY stand for?
    A: quality adjusted life years
    DQ: Is it morally right to determine who gets health care simply based on an assessment of who will live longer?