science

All posts tagged science

Works Cited:

Vaidyanathan, Gayathri. “Big Gap between What Scientists Say and Americans Think about Climate Change.” Scientific American, ClimateWire, 30 Jan. 2015, www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-gap-between-what-scientists-say-and-americans-think-about-climate-change/. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

Data: the driving force for knowledge, the evidence behind scientific theory, and the basis of tracking your existence. The collection of large amounts data is not a new concept, but recently in the 2010’s, the presence of “Big Data” has far exceeded the capacity it once held in its early days. As you log onto the web, websites record your digital footprint. The likelihood that this specific data will be used and analyzed is slim, but the potential it holds for companies and institutions to reconstruct your persona through this data is unprecedented.

The four V’s of Big Data: an infographic by IBM

The fear that new technological phenomena will begin to cross the line between innovation and oppression is reflected in modern YA dystopian literature. In my paper, titled Big Data and Its facilitation of oppression: In Their Dystopia and Ours, I will discuss the way Big Data appears in YA dystopian literature, and how it’s reflective of current and prospective Big Data usage in our own society. One such fictional Dystopia that relies heavily on Big Data collection is that in Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. The Department of Homeland security strengthens its already close watch on its citizens through increased surveillance; students are tracked with library books and gait recognition, average citizens with their cars, and the entire population with surveillance cameras. All these devices collect location data, and send them to the DHS. These means would be illegal to implement in our own society (besides the surveillance cameras- those are everywhere), but there is a much easier way to know everything about anything, especially since this data is willingly given to the public. We are readily giving up information about ourselves as we shop, browse, tweet, pin, and post all over the World Wide Web.

The use of Big Data presents itself in a different, but equally unsettling way in Ally Condie’s Matched. At the age of 17, everyone is given a match, the person that will be their future spouse and life partner. A choice does not exist, given that the government possess data about a child’s genetic information, interests, and temperament and can make the “best” decision through data analytics and algorithms.  As I will point out in my presentation, something similar exists in our society, but with a little more deliberate choice: online dating profiles. The use of these sights can be harmless, even useful to those who seemed to have exhausted every other mean to find love. However, imagine this taken too far; government owned profiles on ordinary citizens, where new data is added at exponential rates until the it may seem to resemble that of a serial killer, or even a terrorist, tying back into the Big Data usage in Little Brother. The millions of terabytes of data that exists publicly and privately is more than corporate and governmental institutions know how to deal with, but as processing power and analytics continue their exponential growth in the digital revolution, we may soon find ourselves with less privacy and a new “Big Brother”.

 

infographic – https://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/bigdata/

My presentation will be discussing the effects of scientific advancements on dystopian literature, focusing on neuroscience elements and nanotechnology in the brain. The title of my paper is “Examining the Feasibility and Morality of Neuroscience Advancements in Modern Society & Literature,” and it will elaborate on whether specific technology is practical and ethical in human subjects. My research will then link this claim to modern society and dystopian literature, explaining how developments in science and technology influence the content and availability of dystopian fiction.

I am incredibly excited to present something that I am personally extremely passionate about – the human brain. The brain is one of the most complex parts of the body, acting as the center for all rational thought and control. Interestingly enough, scientists do not fully understand how it functions, which is why it remains source of mystery and possibility to the scientific community. For this reason, I look forward to educating those outside the field of neuroscience about how the brain really works, tying it in to something my audience can relate to. Specifically, I will be discussing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) new brain chips, which are silicone computer chips implanted into the brain to enhance memory and ability and to often help regain lost function. These chips are being tested in soldiers, to possibly enhance their combat skills. Is this possible on a larger scale? Is it even ethical? It’s questions like these that I will be analyzing and breaking down. I will then relate this new advancement to Feed, by M.T. Anderson. In this sci fi novel, brain chips are implemented in the society, with forms of communication, advertisement, and entertainment all centered on the “Feed.” I will show how scientific development might have influenced this kind of fiction, also showing how dystopian literature pitches a predicted future in which all of these developments are used in everyday life.

Works Cited

Devesh. “Want To Implant Or Remove Memories? Use DARPA Brain Chips.” Tech Live Info, CloudPeer Media Technologies, 23 June 2014, techliveinfo.com/want-implant-remove-memories-use-darpa-brain-chips/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

Being an aspiring chemical engineer at GT, I would say science is a huge part of my life. I love dystopian novels and I’m devoted to science, so I think the connection between science and dystopian life is extremely compelling. As today’s society becomes more technologically advanced, I am intrigued to know at what point is a society beginning to strive for genetic enhancement rather than focusing on improvements to quality of life. This is easily seen in my independent reading book, Partials by Dan Wells. Wells describes a society where genetically engineered “war machines” turned against the human race and took out the majority of the population, leaving few survivors. These enhanced creatures, called Partials, were created in order to help the humans win a war against other humans. I am enticed by the thought of whether creating these Partials was morally justified, or just an immoral attempt at perfection. The area between morally right and wrong is grey and shifts with the current social structure, but I am fascinated in what defines right versus wrong. Image result for partials dan wells

It’s very interesting to me that so many dystopian novels incorporate scientific mishaps in their novels/movies/TV series. I believe it’s such a common theme because it reflects the scientific advancements in our society today. In today’s world, we are capable of alternating DNA sequences and performing genetic modifications. Scientific professionals are discussing the manipulation of DNA in order to correct genes that may cause diseases. Others, however, are wanting to push the limits of science and splice genes in order to make sure that future offspring will have certain physical traits, possibly even higher levels of physical and intellectual performance.Image result for genetic modification

While all of this science seems inspiring and inventive, what stops us from creating creatures like the Partials and having a disaster ridden world on our hands? What crosses the line between helping society and genetic perfection? What is morally wrong in the spiritual, religious sense? Is it acceptable to proceed with these modifications if you don’t have spiritually restrictive beliefs? Where does the line lie between science and playing God? I don’t have answers to any of these questions, but I would love to discover different opinions on the topic after some research.

 

Works Cited

“Goodreads.” Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/book/show/12476820-partials. Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

“Science Clarified.” Science Clarified, www.scienceclarified.com/Ga-He/Genetic-Engineering.html.                      Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

Wells, Dan. Partials. New York, Balzer Bray, 2012.