3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers. Every Tuesday.
1. There is much talk about automation technology killing off certain jobs. Likewise, how is internet technology expected to infringe on aspects of the traditional hit man’s job?
Answer: with greater connectivity comes … murder. As more and more surgical implants become connected online, hacking will take on a brand new meaning. The European Union’s criminal intelligence law enforcement agency (Europol) predicts that by the end of this year, the first “online murder” will have taken place based on a U.S. security firm report. This is yet another example where technology is ahead of safeguards and protocols, leaving those with vulnerabilities even more vulnerable. Read more here.
2. Speaking of automation technology, what “displacement” system could impact legal practice in a positive way?
Answer: elementary, my dear Watson. The rather mundane tasks that lawyers perform each and every day are up for grabs but on the positive side, IBM’s Watson may be what is needed to push lawyers who have become a little too complacent or apathetic to think ahead, better grasp complexities and be more innovative – in short, Watson could empower and complement lawyers – not fully displace them. Read about 10 Watson-related predictions for the practice (and teaching) of law here.
3. What medical research breakthrough looks remarkably like a plate of spaghetti and meatballs?
Answer: otherwise known as tangles & plaques, researchers have created “Alzheimer’s in a dish” by growing network-forming human brain cells (via stem cells) in a gel and then giving the neurons (nerve cells in the brain) genes for Alzheimer’s disease. This advancement is intended to provide scientists with an opportunity to study Alzheimer’s in a more parallel, efficient environment to hopefully gain some ground in the development of effective treatments for, and prevention of, the debilitating disease. The revolutionary system allows researchers to “test hundreds of thousands of drugs in a matter of months.” By contrast, using mice, a less efficient alternative testing method, each drug test takes a full year to complete. The procedure will also be used to zero in on the genes that predispose individuals to the disease, especially ApoE4, said to be the greatest contributor to Alzheimer’s. Read the details here.