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பங்கேற்பார்.OVERVIEW CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING HUMAN PERFORMANCE:6. Major Themes (To Be Continued)
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6. Major Themes
A planning meeting was held May 11, 2001, at the National Science Foundation to develop the agenda for the December workshop and to identify key participants from acade mia, industry, and government. Scientific leaders and policy makers across a range of fields were asked to prepare formal speeches for plenary sessions, and all participants were invited to contribute written statements evaluating the potential impact of NBIIPDC technologies on improving human capabilities at the microscopic, individual, group, and societal levels.
Participants in the December 2001 workshop on Convergent Technologies to Improve Human Performance submitted more than fifty written contributions, each of which is like a single piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Together, they depict the future unification o f nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science, with the amazing benefits these promise. Roughly half of these written contributions, which we call statements, describe the current situation and suggest strategies for building upon it. The other half describe visions of what could be accomplished in 10 or 20 years. During the workshop, participants examined the vast potential of NBIIPDC in five different areas of relevance, as well as the overall potential for changing the economy, society, and research needs:
. a) Overall Potential of Converging Technologies. In plenary sessions of the workshop, repres entatives of government a gencies and the private sector set forth the mission to explore the potential of converging technologies to improve human performance. They identified the synergistic development of nano-, bio-, information- Integrated Product Design and Manufacture of Manufacturing Sector and cognition-based technologies as the outstanding opportunity at the interface and frontier of sciences in the following decades.
They proclaimed that it is essential to courageously identify new technologies that have great potential, to develop transforming visions for them, and to launch new partnerships between government agencies, industry, and educational institutions to achieve this potential. Government has an important role in setting long-term research and practice priorities, respecting the ethical and social aspects of potential uses of technology, and ensuring economic conditions that facilitate the rapid invention and deployment of beneficial technologies. Technological superiority is the fundamental basis of the economic prosperity and national security of the United States, and continued progress in NBIIPDC technologies is an essential component for government agencies to accomplish their designated missions. Science and engineering must offer society new visions of what it is possible to achieve through interdisciplinary research projects designed to promote technological convergence.
. b) Expanding Human Cognition and Communication. This group of workshop participants examined needs and opportunities in the areas of human cognitive and perceptual functions, communication between in dividuals and machines programmed with human-like characteristics, and the ways that convergent technologies could enhance our understanding and effective use of human mental abilities. The group identified five areas where accelerated efforts to achieve technological convergence would be especially worthwhile. Highest priority was given to what Robert Horn called The Human Cognome Project, a proposed multidisciplinary effort to understand the structure, functions, and potential enhancement of the human mind. The four other priority areas were personal sensory device interfaces, enriched community through humanized technology, learning how to learn, and enhanced tools for creativity.
c) Improving Human Health and Physical Capabilities. This group of workshop participants also focused primarily on the individual, but on his or her physical rather than mental a ilities. Essential to progress in this area is comprehensive scientific understanding of the fundamental chemical and biological processes of life. Control of metabolism in cells, tissue, organs, and organisms is sought. Direct conversion of bio-molecular signals and useful neural codes to man-made motors will open opportunities to direct brain control of devices via neuromorphic engineering. Six technological capabilities for improvement of human health and physical performance received high priority : bio- nano machines for development of treatments, including those resulting from bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics; nanotechnology-based implants as replacements for human organs or for monitoring of physiological well-being; nanoscale robots and comparable unobtrusive to ols for medical intervention; extending b rain-to-brain and brain -to-machine interfaces using connections to the human neural system; multi-modality platforms for vision- and hearing-impaired people; and virtual environments for training, design, and forms of work unlimited by distance or the physical scale on which it is performed.
. d) Enhancing Group and Societal Outcomes. This group of workshop participants examined the implications of technological convergence for human social behavior, social cognition, interpersonal relations, group processes, the use of language, learning in formal and informal settings, and the psychophysiological correlates of social behavior. A wide range of likely benefits to communities and the nation as a whole has been identified, and a specific vision has been proposed of how these benefits could be achieved through a focused research effort to develop as ystem this group called The Communicator. This NBIIPDC technology would remove barriers to communication caused by disabilities, language differences, geographic distance, and variations in knowledge and wisdom, thus greatly enhancing the effectiveness of cooperation in schools, in corporations, in government agencies, and across the world. Converging technologies will lead to revolutionary new industries, products and services based on the synergism and integration of biology, information, and cognitive sciences from the nanoscale.
. e) National Security. This group of workshop participants ex amined t he radically changing nature of conflict in this new century and the opportunities to strengthen national defense offered by technological con vergence. It identified seven highly diverse goals: data linkage and threat anticipation; uninhabited Public Utility vehicles; civil aircraft education and training; responses to chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive threats; civil aircraft systems; non-drug treatments to enhance human performance; exoskeletons for physical performance augmentation; preventing brain changes caused by sleep deprivation; and applications of brain-machine interfaces. These highly varied goals could be achieved t hrough specific convergences of NBIIPDC technologies.
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f) Unifying Science and Education. The final group examined the opportunities for unifying science and the current limitations of scientific education, which is poorly designed to meet the coming challenges. The group documented the need for radical transformation i n s cience ed ucation f rom elementary school through postgraduate training. Part of the answer will come from the convergence of NBIIPDC technologies themselves, which will offer valuable new tools and modalities for education. But convergence of previously separate scientific disciplines and fields of engineering cannot take place without the emergence of new kinds of personnel who understand multiple fields in depth and can intelligently work to integrate them. New curricula, new concepts to provide intellectual coherence, and new types of educational institutions will be necessary.
Thus, based on the contributions of individual participants and the work of the six subgroups, the workshop identified the major areas where improved human performance is needed, and identified both short-term and longer-term opportunities to apply convergent technologies to these needs. Progress was made in developing a transforming management plan for what should be done to integrate the sciences and engineering in accordance with the convergent technologies vision, including advice to government policymakers. In addition, the workshop recognized specific needs to develop meaningful partnerships and coherent interdisciplinary activities.
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