LABMP 590: Technology and the Future of Medicine

CCIS L1-140, T R 2:00 - 3:20 pm

A lecture and seminar course describing the future effects of technology on medicine in both the developed and developing world, the promise and perils of biotech, nanotech, and artificial intelligence, and changing character of research and practice of medicine and pathology in the coming decades, and the technological singularity. Each student will carry out a project supervised by a faculty member and give a presentation. This course is designed for graduate students in the Faculties of Medicine, Science, or Arts, and is open to undergraduates in those Faculties with consent of Department.

Lecture video from Fall 2011 CPL Course
A Biological Repairmen's Reflection on the Coming Singularity

 

 

Ashlyn Bernier Reflections on Technology and Future of Medicine Course

 

 

Updates

 


Links to Handouts and Background Readings

Course Syllabus

Course Description

Faculty

Lecture Schedule Fall 2012 term

Week 1 - Sept 6, 2012

Week 2 - Sept 11 & 13, 2012

Week 3 - Sept 18 & 20, 2012

Week 4 - Sept 25 & 27, 2012

Week 5 - Oct 2 & 4, 2012

Week 6 - Oct 9 & 11, 2012

Week 7 - Oct 16 & 18, 2012

Week 8 - Oct 23 & 25, 2012

Week 9 - Oct 30 & Nov 1, 2012

Week 10 - Nov 6 & Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 - Nov 13 & Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 - Nov 20 & Nov 22, 2012

Week 13 - Nov 27 & Nov 29, 2012

Week 14: Dec 4, 2012

 

 

 

Week 14 - Apr. 10 & 12

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For further information:
 Preeti Kuttikat          or            Kim Solez, M.D.

780-407-8385 banffap@ualberta.ca                      780-710-1644 Kim.Solez@Ualberta.ca




LABMP 590 Technology and the Future of Medicine

«3 (fi 6) (second term, 2-1s-0). A lecture and seminar course describing the future effects of technology on medicine in both the developed and developing world, the promise and perils of biotech, nanotech, and artificial intelligence, and changing character of research and practice of medicine and pathology in the coming decades, and the technological singularity. Each student will carry out a project supervised by a faculty member and give a presentation. This course is designed for graduate students in the Faculties of Medicine, Science, or Arts, and is open to undergraduates in those Faculties with consent of Department.
 
“Technology and the Future of Medicine” – Course Synopsis
Kim Solez, M.D.
 
This interactive seminar discussion course for graduate students in the sciences, medicine, and the arts takes an even handed approach to the influence of technology on the future of medicine. The objective of the course is to provide a balanced idea of the promise and peril of technology in medicine and to instill the idea that we are not passive victims of the future, but with appropriate education can actually help shape the future in positive ways.
 
The course debates both the promise of elimination of disease by technology and the possibility that a host of new diseases will be brought about by technology.  It also considers the future influence of technology on the have nots in the world who have yet to make their first phone call.  The technological Singularity and possible “merger” of humans and machines are considered along with the idea that “the future is already here, it is just not uniformly distributed”.  The ways in which technology has already changed pathology, medicine and medical research will be covered, as well as the likely changes in medicine over the next decades.  Existential risks and likely medical advances in the areas of biotech, nanotech, and artificial intelligence will be considered.
 
The course will be taught in a highly innovative way by faculty coming from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds. Each 90 minute class period on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be divided up into 60 minute lecture, and 30 minute whole class discussion. Each student will take on a special project of their own with guidance by the faculty and present the results of that special project in the latter portion of the course.  While designed for graduate students, the course may also be taken by science or arts undergraduates with permission of the instructor, and it may also be used for continuous professional learning by faculty and staff.
 
The course will be self-contained, the basic background for understanding the concepts would be taught to the students within the course, so that their varying educational background would not inhibit full participation in the course.
 
Students will be evaluated on their presentation on their chosen project in the course (30%), a paper on that project (50%), and a critique and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of two of the lectures in the course when it was taught in the fall of 2011 as a CPL course (20%). Videos of these past lectures will be provided. There will be no exams. The course is limited to 40 students.
 
Most readings in the course would be articles available online or provided as pdfs.  The two books used most in the course will be Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near (2005, read selectively) and Simon Baron-Cohen’s Zero Degrees of Empathy (2011) but purchase of these is not required.
 
Quotes providing a taste of some of the ideas covered in the course:
 
1) The last invention that man need ever make ….
 
“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion”, and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.” I. J. Good “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine” 1965.
 
2) A cure for all known diseases ….
 
“One might think that the singularity would be of great interest to academic philosophers, cognitive scientists, and artificial intelligence researchers. In practice, this has not been the case. Good was an eminent academic, but his article was largely unappreciated at the time. The subsequent discussion of the singularity has largely taken place in nonacademic circles, including Internet forums, popular media and books, and workshops organized by the independent Singularity Institute. Perhaps the highly speculative flavor of the singularity idea has been responsible for academic resistance.
 
I think this resistance is a shame, as the singularity idea is clearly an important one. The argument for a singularity is one that we should take seriously. And the questions surrounding the singularity are of enormous practical and philosophical concern.
 
Practically: If there is a singularity, it will be one of the most important events in the history of the planet. An intelligence explosion has enormous potential benefits: a cure for all known diseases, an end to poverty, extraordinary scientific advances, and much more. It also has enormous potential dangers: an end to the human race, an arms race of warring machines, the power to destroy the planet. So if there is even a small chance that there will be a singularity, we would do well to think about what forms it might take and whether there is anything we can do to influence the outcomes in a positive direction.”
 
From David J. Chalmers The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis
Journal of Consciousness Studies 17:7-65, 2010.

 

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Approved by the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons as a self accredited round. Participants can claim the hours they attend under Section 1 accredited rounds in the Royal College's MOC program.

Subjects Include:

  • Promise and Perils of Biotech  

  • Global Citizenship and Technology  

  • Entrepreneurship in Medicine/Innovation

  • Reflections on Singularity University 

  • Evil As A Treatable Disease

  • Promise and Perils of AI 

  • Writings as a Technology in Medicine and Science  

  • Promise and Perils of Nanotech  

  • New Tools and Discoveries in Science

  • Transmission Electron Microscopy of Subcellular Compartment Storage Disorders

  • Tumor Cell Scaffolding and Anti-Cancer Therapy

  • Genomics and The Future of Medicine

  • The Singularity and The Have Nots        
    Ethics After The Robots Take Over   
    The Technologic Singularity Explained&Promoted!
    Complementary medicine/healing
    (Consumer practices and the example of Canadian First Nations medicine)  
    The Future of Pathology (What will pathology practice be like in 2020)
     A Biological Repairman's Reflections on the Coming
    Singularity: Notions of Embodiment in the Age of Spiritual Machine
    Second Life and Medical Education 
     Neuroscience/Universal Consciousness

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Last Modified: Monday December 10, 2012 09:54:30 AM kim.solez@ualberta.ca