Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
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Melanie Swan Topics




iSchools: Contemporary Information Technology Theory Studies

by Melanie Swan

The perfect merger of academic rigor and contemporary thinking has come together in the concept of iSchools, which give practical consideration and interesting learning opportunities to the most relevant issue of our time: information.



Bitcoin Newbie Series: How to Get and Spend Bitcoin

by Melanie Swan

We aren’t used to authority being a peer-to-peer responsibility as opposed to something imposed by a centralized institution. Authority floating freely has already happened in information - when information became decentralized with blogging and the restructuring of the media industry, and in entertainment, where individuals became their own taste-makers.



Blockchain Health - Remunerative Health Data Commons & HealthCoin RFPs

by Melanie Swan

The bigger concept behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is blockchain technology. The blockchain (a chain of transaction blocks) is a public transaction ledger, automatically downloaded and stored digitally in electronic wallet applications; a digital record of all transactions in a certain asset class like bitcoin. 



Proximity Marketing: Opportunity for Rich-Attribute Conveyance

by Melanie Swan

Real-time Location-based Services (RT-LBS or just RT-LS) is an important new concept in mobile marketing. These offerings are starting to tout the ability to deliver information and services based on the real-time location of a person. Some key examples are receiving a mobile phone-based notification of a restaurant offer while walking in a downtown area or a product coupon while shopping in a specific grocery aisle.



Top 5 Killer Apps: QS-Automotive Sensors

by Melanie Swan

The Internet of Things means not just that computing devices have connectivity to the cloud but that they are connected to each other, and therefore that novel applications can be developed in this rich ecosystem. One area for development is linking quantified self wearable sensors with automotive sensors for applications including Fatigue Detection, Real-time Parking and Assistance, Anger/Stress Reduction, Keyless Authentication, and DIY Diagnostics.



Intracortical Recording Devices

by Melanie Swan

A key future use of neural electrode technology envisioned for nanomedicine and cognitive enhancement is intracortical recording devices that would capture the output signals of multiple neurons that are related to a given activity, for example signals associated with movement, or the intent of movement.



Machine Ethics Interfaces

by Melanie Swan

Machine ethics is a term used in different ways. The basic use is in the sense of people attempting to instill some sort of human-centric ethics or morality in the machines we build like robots, self-driving vehicles, and artificial intelligence (Wallach 2010) so that machines do not harm humans either maliciously or unintentionally.



Nanomedical Cognitive Enhancement

by Melanie Swan

Overview of Advances Articulated in Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions (2013) [1] This article provides an overview of the research findings related to cognitive enhancement that are presented in Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions (2013), an encyclopedic textbook chronicling a plethora of recent advances in myriad areas of nanotechnology and nanomedicine. The final chapter discusses progress in nanomedical cognitive enhancement, where we find ourselves in a modern era in which many technologies appear to be on the cusp – helping to resolve pathologies while also having much future potential for the augmentation of human capabilities.



Cognitive Enhancement Memory Management: Retrieval and Blocking

by Melanie Swan

One familiar notion of cognitive enhancement is prescription drugs that boost focus and concentration: ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) medications like Modafinil, Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, and Methylin [1], and amphetamines like Adderall, Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Methedrine, Preludin, and Dexamyl [1-3].



What is Big Data and when will it be Smart Data?

by Melanie Swan

Big data is cell phone users having an average of 100 interactions with their phone per day, all of which generate computerized records (100s of trillions of records). Big data is every financial market transaction, every passenger on every airplane flight, every shipped container, every transportation conveyance, every tweet, and every Internet post (all in the 100s of billions or trillions of records). Every transaction for all time.



Futurist Ethics of Immanence

by Melanie Swan

The ethics of the future could likely shift to one of immanence. In philosophy, immanence means situations where everything comes from within a system, world, or person, as opposed to transcendence, where there are externally-determined specifications.



Wearables-Mobile-IOT Tech creates Fourth Person Perspective

by Melanie Swan

So far the individual has almost always existed in the context of a society of others. This could change in the farther future as individuals might be in the form of a variety of digital and physical copies in different stages of augmentation.



Personalized Drone Delivery: the new Personal Computer?

by Melanie Swan

Miniaturization, robotics, and the hastening automation economy are coming together in interesting new ways. Personal drone delivery services could be a fast-arriving concept. Amazon announced PrimeAir in November 2013, to possibly be ready for launch in 2015 pending US FAA regulations of personal drone airspace.



Systems-level Thinking Helps to Address Protein Folding

by Melanie Swan

Deciphering protein folding is critical to a fundamental understanding of biology as proteins conduct most cellular operations, and since misfolded proteins are often causally implicated in disease.



Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Mania!

by Melanie Swan
With bitcoin nearly doubling in value in the last few weeks (surpassing USD $400 on November 9, 2013 and reaching USD $937 on November 29, 2013) (see this chart in Figure 1 and the real-time exchange rate), the question is whether it is just another inflationary virtual currency bubble like WOW gold and Second Life Lindens, or a trend that will endure.



Subjective Experience and the Existence of Free Will in Bergson

by Melanie Swan

With burgeoning progression in neuroscience projects across a variety of fields including stem cell generation, brain scanning, and natural language processing, the free will / determinism debate remains vibrant.



Killer Apps of Cognitive Nanorobotics

by Melanie Swan

One of the most fun parts of thinking about nanocognition and cognitive nanorobotics is imagining the killer apps that we might have! 



The Real Question is How to Further Develop Autism-related Skills

by Melanie Swan

On the topic of autism, the two biggest areas of societal focus are first, the growing population of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) individuals (1/88 live births in the US; 66% college graduates on the ASD spectrum are unemployed), and second, providing resources for normalizing ASD individuals into day-to-day life activities such as work, housing, and dating.



Friendship 2.0

by Melanie Swan

The new mindfulness extends to every area of life. Communication and romantic relationships often exist now on much improved ground compared to even a few years ago. Now friendship is under the spotlight.



Polyamory – an Anti-Scarcity Relationship Model for the Future

by Melanie Swan

The first International Academic Polyamory Conference was held in Berkeley CA February 15-17, 2013 with approximately 100 attendees. Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It is not new or revolutionary that individuals may be involved with more than one other party; what is new is the openness, acknowledgement, and support and encouragement of the situation.



Application of Complexity Theory: Away from Reductionist Phase Transitions

by Melanie Swan

Reductionism persists as a useful node in the possibility space of understanding and managing the world around us. However the possibility space is now expanding to higher levels of resolution such as a focus on complex systems. Learning and tools are ratcheting in lock-step.



Crowd Models Become Pervasive Across Society

by Melanie Swan

Crowd-based models are becoming so pervasive that almost no major segment of modern life is left untouched by them. The concept of digital crowd models refers to the coordination of large numbers of individuals (the crowd) through an open call on the Internet in the conduct of some sort of activity.



Crowdsourced Labor, Digital Marketplaces, and the Future of Self-Actualized eWork

by Melanie Swan

The third annual CrowdConf on changing the future of work through Internet-based crowdsourcing labor models was held in San Francisco on October 23, 2012. The field is much larger compared to prior years (2011 and 2010), both practically and intellectually, as a range of industry vendors and other ecosystem members (e.g.; research organizations, foundations, financial community) attended the conference.



Next Node Foment: my favorite elegant explanation

by Melanie Swan

What’s your favorite “elegant explanation” of a specific science problem? Here’s mine:



Exciting Progress in Commercialization of Stem Cell Therapies

by Melanie Swan

Stem cell therapies - treatments that involve the transplantation of stem cells, organs, or other cells into patients to improve the function of diseased or damaged tissues or organs - is a field that has been steadily advancing. Perhaps more than any other industry, stem cell therapies is poised to make a significant near-term impact on worldwide public health, and many individuals living today may experience stem cell-related therapies.

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Synthetic Biology: Key Field of the Future

by Melanie Swan

Synthetic biology is a field of science that has been emerging in the last few years and could have a significant future impact with the potential to pro-actively manage biology and reshape many industrial sectors.

Specifically, synthetic biology or bioengineering is the creation of living systems from nonliving chemicals designed on a computer; the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, or the redesign of existing biological systems.

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Emerging Health Technologies: Interventional anti-aging

by Melanie Swan

The focus of the 40th annual meeting of the American Aging Association, held a few weeks ago in North Carolina, was emerging concepts in the mechanisms of aging.

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Summary of Advances in Medical Nanotechnology

by Melanie Swan

Recent developments in nanomedicine could allow the focus of treatment to shift from cure to prevention—and ultimately to enhancement.

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Key Themes in Aging Research

by Melanie Swan

With the aging of populations worldwide, increasing health care costs, and complexities inherent in conducting medicine in a data-rich era of genomics and personalized medicine, the understanding and potential re-engineering of human biological processes is critical.

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Two New Affiliate Scholars

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Melanie Swan, MBA, and Patrick Hopkins, PhD, as Affiliate Scholars of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

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