You know that feeling you get when you’ve been scooped?

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty quiet for the past several days. It’s because I’ve been busy little bee working away at a paper that I was hoping would open the debate to revolutionary concepts and disruptive technologies relevant to my desk-jockey day job. I’ve been examining the ethical considerations of applied transhumanism, and its impact on the future fabric of society. Pretty nifty, eh?

I’m honoured to be able to work in an environment that allows me to think about such things as a side venture to my primary duties, particularly as it’s been itching away at the back of my mind for the past four years. I’d been talking the talk for a while, but finally decided to put pen to paper back in March and had finally completed all of my research and my first draft early last week. I sent the draft out to some trusted advisers and scientific authorities I have had the pleasure of working with in the past. Everyone agreed that I had come up with some pretty groundbreaking material. I was starting to feel very proud of myself.

This morning, one of my scientific advisers sent me a paper published this January that I had not previously been aware of. It covers my topic in stunning detail. The thought processes, arguments, and conclusions are remarkably similar. In a way, I found it reassuring to know that I’ve been on the right track, and that little ol’ me has derived a similar analysis to some folks that are likely far wiser than I am or at the very least who have spent a considerable amount of time and effort examining this particular issue. In another, I’ve just been scooped and all the work I’ve put in needs to be revised, since I need to ensure that I am adding value to the debate, and not simply spouting off what has already been resolved. It’s not quite back to square one, but I definitely need to give credit where it’s due, since the authors of this most recent study appear to have wired the case I was making shut, and have opened up a whole new series of questions I was going to examine at a later time.

Face palm. Totally appropriate response to this morning’s news. Image source: Flickr

Yep. Someone else already thought of it.

This is by no means a failure, but it does force me to go back and put more thought into a subject I’ve been examining for a while. Ultimately, this is a great thing for all involved. I’d better get back to it, before I find out that someone has figured out the next set of solutions before I get to write them down!

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