Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Me, Myself, and my Social Constructs

By Ashley Oldshue

“He began to search among the infinite series of impressions which time had laid down, leaf upon leaf, fold upon fold softly, incessantly upon his brain”
--- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Image courtesy to Tomas Castelazo, Wikimedia Commons
Identity is a motif that runs central to our lives, it is woven into our language, our learning, and our literature. Virginia Woolf, in her novel To the Lighthouse, describes identity as a flipbook of images (Woolf, 1981, p. 169). She asserts that when we look at someone, we do not hold a single, uniform concept of them. Instead, we see a series of images and interactions running like a flipbook in our heads. It is in this idea of who they are that we are able to add pages and evolve over time. However, no one deed can erase all the rest. Everybody is made up of good and bad, and these inconsistencies together form an identity. However, what if someone did change so drastically that it was like reading a whole new book?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Neuralink: Concerns of Brain-Machine Interfaces

By Oscar Gao

Image courtesy to Nicolas Ferrando and Lois Lammerhuber, Flickr
When Elon Musk starts a company developing brain-machine interfaces, you know it has the potential to be the next big thing. He claimed that for people to be competitive in the artificial intelligence age, we will have to become cyborgs, a "merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” (Marsh, 2018; Solon, 2017). He started the company Neuralink, which aims to build “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” This company, at the moment, is hiring computer scientists and engineers who have "exceptional ability and a track record of building things that work" (“NEURALINK”, n.d.). Also specified on its website, one does not need experience in neuroscience to apply for a job. The company does, however, need to work with neuroscientists and neuroethicists to discuss the ethical implications and guidelines for their projects.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Medicine & Neuroethics: Perspectives from the Intersection

By Somnath Das

Image courtesy of
The first year of medical school is infamously rigorous – it both challenges and changes virtually anyone who dares to undertake it. My experience with this trial was certainly not unique. Despite the knowledge I have gained (on paper, at least), I greatly missed learning about a passion of mine: neuroethics. June marked the two-year anniversary of my attending the Neuroethics in Paris study abroad course hosted by Emory University, which served as the foundation of my exposure to this field. I additionally had the pleasure of taking a graduate neuroethics course offered by the Emory Center for Ethics Masters of Bioethics Program during my time at Emory, which was a more rigorous, yet very essential and fulfilling, dive into the field. Given my previous exposure, it felt odd to begin medical school with little opportunity to formally engage in the field of neuroethics. While my experience with the first year of medical school did not include formal content in neuroethics, I couldn’t help but notice multiple parallels between the two fields, which I will briefly discuss in this blog post. Ultimately, it is my belief that physicians must pay attention to, study, and engage in the field of neuroethics. In this post, I illustrate the reasons for holding this belief by highlighting some of the critical discussions present in both fields; it is my hope that these debates balloon to involve many doctors and patients in the near future.