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Ethics of Perception and Nanocognition (Nanorobot-aided Cognition). Melanie Swan Futurist Philosopher MS Futures Group +1-650-681-9482 [email protected] 9th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology - July 20, 2013 Slides: Melanie Swan.

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ethics of perception and nanocognition nanorobot aided cognition

Ethics of Perception and Nanocognition (Nanorobot-aided Cognition)

Melanie Swan Futurist Philosopher

MS Futures [email protected]

9th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology - July 20, 2013


melanie swan
Melanie Swan
  • Hedge fund manager, futurist, startup entrepreneur (DIYgenomics), philosopher
  • Singularity University Instructor, IEET Affiliate Scholar, EDGE contributor
  • Work experience: Fidelity, JP Morgan, Arthur Andersen, iPass, RHK/Ovum
  • Education: MBA Finance, Wharton; BA French/Economics, Georgetown Univ.
  • Sample publications:
    • Swan, M. The Quantified Self: Fundamental Disruption in Big Data Science and Biological Discovery. Big Data 2013, 1(2): 85-99.
    • Swan, M. Crowdsourced Health Research Studies: An Important Complement to Clinical Trials. J Med Internet Res2012, Mar;14(2):e46.
    • Swan, M. Multigenic Condition Risk Assessment in Direct-to-Consumer Genomic Services. Genet. Med.2010, May;12(5):279-88.
    • Swan, M. Translational antiaging research. Rejuvenation Research2010, Feb;13(1):115-7.
    • Swan, M. Engineering Life into Technology: the Application of Complexity Theory to a Potential Phase Transition of Intelligence. Symmetry2010, 2, 150:183.


  • What are Cognitive Nanorobots?
  • Geoethics of Cognitive Nanorobots
  • Cognition: Perception and Memory
  • Models of Ethics
  • Killer Apps of Cognitive Nanorobots
  • Ethics of Cognitive Nanorobots
what are cognitive nanorobots
What are Cognitive Nanorobots?
  • Analog to Medical Nanorobots
  • Cognition is just another…
    • Biological function
    • ‘Pathology’ to ameliorate
  • Biocompatibility of medical nanorobots with neural cells1
    • Mechanical
    • Physiological
    • Immunological
    • Cytological
    • Biochemical


1Freitas, R Jr. Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility. Biocompatibility with Neural Cells.

geoethics of cognitive nanorobots
Geoethics of Cognitive Nanorobots
  • Level I Geoethical Concerns
    • Manufacturing and disposal
    • Neural prosthesis
    • Functionality
    • Accessibility (digital divide)
    • Security and mind viruses
    • Authentication
  • Level II Geoethical Concerns
    • Transformation, editing of human cognitive processes
    • Edits could include environmental axiology (re-valorization)
cognition perception and memory
Cognition: Perception and Memory
  • Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
    • Mathematician
    • Quantum mechanics predictor
    • Science and psychology scholar
  • Doubling (quantitative and qualitative (overlapping))
    • Time, intensity, state, memory
    • Self, consciousness
  • Time: clock time and the inner experience of time (duration)
  • Free will over determinism
    • Spontaneity
perception and memory
Perception and Memory
  • Topic: mind/body dualism
  • Perception and memory are an interactive process of the body and mind
  • Time and movement
  • Privilege time as space, how/when (not where) memory is stored
  • Exercise: memory retrieval
models of ethics
Models of Ethics
  • Act-based (right act with right motive)
    • Categorical Imperative (always right/wrong) (Kant)
    • Utilitarianism (outcome maximization) and Consequentialism (end justifies means) (Bentham, Mill)
  • Agent-based
    • Virtue ethics: role of character (Aristotle, Aquinas)
    • Dispositionism: individual traits predict behavior
  • Situation, context, and ecosystem-based (1968)
    • Situationism: social context produces behavior
    • Ethics of Care (Gilligan): morality arises from interaction
process philosopher ethics
Process Philosopher Ethics
  • Bergson
    • Direct contact with the real, true duration
  • Heidegger
    • A conscious authentic life
    • Dwell meaningfully as human implacement, being ‘in’ place, as an extension of identity
  • Foucault
    • Power: omnipresent micropower relations, biopower and self-disciplinary power
  • Deleuze
    • Thinking and life, plane of immanence
    • Non-fascist life, desiring-production
connecting perception to ethics machine ethics interfaces
Connecting Perception to Ethics: Machine Ethics Interfaces
  • Possibility of ‘objective’ reality as an input?
  • Many-tiered existing biases
    • Biology
    • Society/culture
    • Individual/group
  • Ethics of Reality
  • UX issues
killer apps of cognitive nanorobotics
Killer Apps of Cognitive Nanorobotics
  • Bias reduction
  • Memory management
  • Value system elicitation and optimization
  • Perceptual enhancement
    • Different ‘objective’ realities
    • See time, see movement in time and space
    • Notice subjective experience
  • Desire elicitation and modification
individual group ethics
Individual / Group Ethics
  • Trend of self-awareness, disclosure, destigmatization, taboo removal
  • Group ethics models
    • Old: okay unless harms others, ‘do unto others’
    • New: Negotiation per disclosure, automated mediation through anonymous disclosure

Medicine (genomics), behavior (QS), personal/professional life blending, sexual orientation, gender identification


mental health, mental performance


Time now

geoethics of cognitive nanorobots1
Geoethics of Cognitive Nanorobots
  • Overt consideration of machine ethics modules
  • Subjective experience enhancement
  • Ethics/values/desires elicitation and optimization
  • Progression and transformation in ethics paradigms
ethics of perception and nanocognition nanorobot aided cognition1

Thank you!

Ethics of Perception and Nanocognition (Nanorobot-aided Cognition)

Melanie Swan Futurist Philosopher

MS Futures [email protected]

9th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology - July 20, 2013