"Frankenstein" and tampering with nature

From the 1831 revised edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, published by Colburn and Bentley, London.

Frankenstein by English novelist Mary Shelley: with philosophy, literature, science, and history, Shelley speculated how humans would attempt to use scientific progress to tamper with nature as far back as 1818. Frankenstein and his rejected monster remain central to debates about fetal tissue research, life extension, human cloning, and artificial intelligence. In the story, Victor Frankenstein builds an artificial, intelligent android from slaughterhouse and medical dissection materials. Like other Romantic pieces of English literature, Shelley confronted nature as man addressing the issues of science and the Enlightenment ideal of how to use power responsibly. But how did a novel from over two centuries ago become a central piece in contemporary bioethics discussions? Through a history overview, we understand the real monster - ourselves.

Anyone, even you, can be a scientist

With SeqAcademy.org, anyone can be a scientist.
I seek to instill the virtues of a scientist in everyone. Through my writing and research, I think about what values scientists use in their work and how I can share those with non-scientists. Sharing stories about what research is like while valuing transparency and trust, I hope to achieve this. As I browse reddit and other forums, I come across many people asking questions about what it's like to work in the field of bioinformatics. The discipline bioinformatics broadly covers computer-based approaches to biology. Using the power of big data and software to draw conclusions from biological data, the advances of the digital age make bioinformatics approachable for many people. Curious students and researchers also ask me what sort of education or background you need to perform bioinformatics experiments. I'm never quite sure how to respond. If anything, anyone can perform bioinformatics research after simply reading about it and jumping in. Here's how.

"The Chinese Room" argument: how a computer thinks

an argument about what it means for a computer to think

Read this article on "A history of artificial intelligence" here...

"Pulling myself out of Hell," a fictional poem

It's been five months, five long, painful months,

I've been pulling myself out of Hell.


"Light in the Jail Cell" memoir sneak peek

prayer on the cold concrete floor
Illustration by Matt Starr.
I'm currently editing a personal memoir "Light in the Jail Cell" so I can publish it one day. Here's an excerpt from the prologue: 

Uncanny Valley, as told by the ancient Greeks

What does it mean to be human?
The "Uncanny Valley" may leave us with existential questions of what it means to be human.
Quick update to "A history of artificial intelligence" with more details about the emotional reactions to automata among ancient Greeks as well as the "Uncanny Valley."

Artificial intelligence of antiquity: the "robots" of ancient Greece

Don't fly too close to the sun, Icarus!
Daedalus constructs wings for his son, Icarus, Rome (Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888)
Greek myths of Hephaestus and Daedalus incorporated the idea of intelligent robots and artificial beings like Pandora. These “automaton” beings such as Talos would protect Crete from invaders.

Read this article on "A history of artificial intelligence"...