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Book Review: Amped: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson

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Amped by Dan H. Wilson is a futuristic book which poses very complex ethical dilemmas, such as implantation of superior brains into people dissatisfied with portions of the body they were born into. The implications for implantation of new body parts include legal, moral, and political aspects.

The character Owen Gray is shown as traveling to Oklahoma to seek out a group of persecuted ampeds. Owen initially believes that this group of “amplified” humans is planning a collective strategy to fight group discrimination by the society at large.

Wilson describes the formulation of a brain implant which includes an array of electrodes, a processor, and a maintenance port. Technologically, the existence of a central processor implies the need for managing down time and the mean time between failures of the mechanized human part. Down time could mean periods where the robotic portion of the human behaves irradically and endangers the public.

The author describes certain types of neural implants which kill seizures. These implants have a constructive functional aspect which benefits humanity. There are dysfunctional aspects as well. The presentation suggests that the creation of ampeds could result in crimes against humanity, as well as discrimination against the amps themselves.

For instance, there are medical ethical implications which arise for ideas expressed in Amped. An example would be whether or not new brain implants could result in humans with an abnormally high level of intelligence tainted with criminal or harmful tendencies.

In addition, the author refers to medical mistakes which could result in death hypothetically in instances where the biocapacitor fails and the patient dies prematurely. In other cases, there could be mob violence against implanted individuals due to a societal fear and hatred for the robot-like creations which result from the medical practice of implantation.

Amped is an important work which anticipates some of the most complex legal and medical ethics questions for an advanced technology already here. In some ways, Amped has an Orwellian parallel between a growing segregated amped group and the existence of the proletariat enunciated by Orwell.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
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