Letter20 I don't want to be integrated. Integration is, perhaps, the most overrated and falsely used word in the western vocabulary. How often we see a European who gets criticized for his&her difficulties to fit into another culture? How often a western citizen gets the title 'foreigner' (Ausländer in german) when visiting a middle eastern country. How come an American is a tourist and a Syrian is entitled as refugee/immigrant/Ausländer? I don't know where to start and where to stop. Yet, I do not think if that is fair. I believe there is ignorance and there is a lack of self-belief. All I know is that there is no reason to try to be integrated into another story. We can always take influence and pick what we like. That is not the same as "integration" we see in the media. You are as you are, and once you are fine with that, the question of integration becomes irrelevant. The rest is just some useless and ignorant judgments, triggered by a misuse of language.

Letter28 To make observations and to tell stories. Are these the two main principles that drive an artistic curiosity?

We are surrounded by impressions all around, in many forms. Any effort to communicate our understanding of our surroundings, in any form, can be seen as artwork. This means, in addition to the final product, the process of the work is equally valuable. 

Not limiting our understanding of art just to the presentation format, is a first step to enable ourselves to free our understanding of art.

Letter24 The cutting-edge technologies to help patients with mental disorders are effective and offer promising treatments. yet, they are too new to be known and too complicated to be understood. Given the increasing urban population and the trending lifestyle of the 21st century, public health has raised concern among the experts. For example, brain diseases, already, represent a considerable social and economic burden in Europe and around the globe. According to DiLuca et al., with yearly costs of about 800 billion euros and an estimated 179 million people afflicted in 2010, brain diseases are an unquestionable emergency and a grand challenge for neuroscientists.

Advances in technology have been a great help to improve life quality. The applications are broad, ranging from cochlear implants for hearing disorders, to making a prosthetics hand that can feel, or deep brain stimulation (DBS) to handle mental disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even severe depression.

DBS is a relevant example of technology-aided therapy that has significantly impacted the treatment of neurological disorders. In this approach, the patient receives a medical device implanted in his body. This device is responsible for interfacing with the nervous system by conducting an electrical current to a specific brain area. Similar to cardiac pacemakers, this implanted device often remains for years within the body. The implanted device consists of three main components: 1) a lead electrode, implanted in the deep brain area, 2) an implanted pulse generator (IPS) package implanted in the chest, and 3) extension cables to connect parts one and two. The generated electrical pulses by the IPS reaches the target brain area via the implanted electrodes. The applied electrical stimulation is believed to help the brain to reorganize itself and acts as a "RESET" button to restore the impaired functions. The resulted benefits are significant in improving the life quality of many patients as the therapeutic effects can be seen in a matter of seconds after activating the system. 

 

As it seems, here, technology interferes with our biology and aims at easing our daily life. In the first look, it sounds strange and fictional but yet, happens to be well accepted by the scientific society. Nevertheless, this novel therapeutic approach has remained unknown to the vast majority of our society and the lack of common knowledge in this area might become more and more present in the upcoming years.

 

What is it that one needs to know when interacting with such systems and what are important details to be informed about? How can we protect our identity from the emerging novel technologies and where should we draw the line to separate the convenience and enhancements from the essential needs?