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A Cure for Laconesi

Recently, Upstream blogger Diane Francis brought to our attention “crowdsourcing” as an emerging approach companies, organization as well as individuals are using to solve a proposed problem or design products, but with a unique twist—using the ideas and expertise of an online community. Salvatore Laconesi, a 39-year-old Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) fellow and the artist and technologist behind Art is Open Source, posted his medical records online after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in attempt to use crowdsourcing to in his words “…find the best cure…, and in the process to produce substantial social change by redefining the word “cure.” This has caused frenzy in the online world; sparking intense debate over the value of making his information available on the Internet.  However, Laconesi states his main objective is to have “people of multiple cultures, skills, professions and inclinations… access, use, recombine and redistribute… “ his information to stimulate active participation sharing techniques and technologies for cancer treatment. He reports that through the collaborative work stemming from his post, his cancer growth had stopped and is currently waiting on lab results to see if he needs to proceed to surgery.

This is truly amazing. In reading some of the highlighted comments, there are certainly mixed feelings from the potential dangers of not listening to the primary physician to applauding his efforts and highlighting that the social support is beneficial (provides a way to learn about potential surgeries or drugs to discuss with the doctor and find alternative coping strategies).

What do you think? Is this dangerous or a move in the right direction?


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