My work on the neuroethics of Deep Brain Stimulators (DBS) featured on UW’s homepage

A close-up look at the circuit board designed by Jeff Herron.

An excerpt from UW Today:

Essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes a rhythmic shaking in the hands, affects an estimated 10 million Americans and millions more worldwide. Deep brain stimulation, essentially a pacemaker for the brain, has been approved to treat essential tremor. But there is not an existing system that automatically provides electrical stimulation only when needed.

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Our paper for WeRobot 2015 was well-recieved!

Jenn and Tony Bott, Robot Scrabble

This past weekend, I presented a paper at this year’s WeRobot conference on robotics, law, and policy. It was called, “Personal Responsibility in the Age of User-Controlled Neuroprosthetics.” I was accompanied by my awesome co-authors: Patrick Moore, Margaret Thompson, and Jeff Herron. The audience was high-spirited and curious: they wanted to know more about how we were able to collaborate across fields more than they wanted to know about the details of the paper. ;)

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Arguing in Quicksand

Thinker thinks about how to take sun burst shot, David Yu

When I was a child, I decided I wanted to be a professor. I’m not sure what I wanted to study as a professor, and I’m not even sure I knew what professors do. All I knew—and all that mattered—was that professors are people who think really hard about things and know a lot about those things as a result. I valued and enjoyed thinking and knowing so much that I wanted to grow up to be the sort of person who gets to do those things as much as possible. Of course, not everyone wants to think hard and not everyone wants to know a lot. Most people I’ve known, in fact, just want to get through the day: they just want to think enough to get to an unambiguous answer to some question, and they just want to know enough to complete a task. Some people don’t even want to think that hard or know that much. They would rather not bother with it at all. The attitude is completely understandable: my passions are not everyone passions.

Sometimes, however, I’ll have a conversation with a person who is eager to have a conversation about something controversial and interesting—about race, politics, art, science, you name it. At some point in the conversation, a line gets crossed and they’ll argue: “you think too much,” or “you just have to be right about everything,” or “you’re so argumentative,” and so on. Sometimes people say these things in earnest (as if they’re identifying some problem in me) while other people say them in anger (as if they’re getting back at me for some damage I’ve done). In either case, once a person tells me I think too hard or I try to know too much (or think I already know everything), I know the conversation is over. That is, the game is over—there are no other moves I can make.

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Race in Wittenstein’s Aesthetics Lectures

In preparation for a talk by Richard Eldrige (from Swathmore), I ran into the following selections from Wittgenstein’s lectures on aesthetics:

Lec. I, §26. What belongs to a language game is a whole culture. In describing musical taste you have to describe whether children give concerts, whether women do or whether men only give them, etc., etc. In aristocratic circles in Vienna people had [ such and such] a taste, then in came into bourgeois circles and women joined choirs, etc. This is an example of tradition in music.

Lec. I, §27. [Rhees: Is there a tradition in Negro arts? Could a European appreciate Negro art?]

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