ADVANCED CONCEPT ANALYSIS
STEP 1: Briefing.
A dense packet of information is provided, from one paragraph to
'Substance X is under investigation for its potential advantages
as a life-extension supplement. Although it is proven to extend
life in rats, the substantiation of the claim is in question.
Specifically, the drug appears to have many of the side effects of
a drug called amphetamine. Sorting out whether the drug is viable
depends on determining that the drug has no major dependency
and does not pose a risk to the vital organs.'
STEP 2: Risk Assessment.
Does the project in question pose a risk personally,
psychologically, financially, nationally, or globally?
Then the project must be considered carefully, and possibly
In our example, the answer would be something like:
Be serious, after all, if it has the same side effects it is likely to
be the same drug. We may already have to control for existing
STEP 3: Available Alternatives.
Is the project indispensable in some way?
For example, is it serving some larger agenda?
For example, some students may feel amphetamines are worth
taking for short-term performance boosts.
STEP 4: Spin.
What is the best interpretation of all the facts?
Can the project be interpreted positively or negatively?
Does the spin have a function?
For example, advertising boosted performance may boost
performance even if no one takes the drug ('grass is greener
STEP 5: Responsible Actions.
What can be done to advance the agenda of the concerned
individuals, businesses, the nation, or the world?
Should there be a cleanup program, a business agenda, a
production line, or government oversight?
Resolving these questions determines the ultimate importance of
the project, not immediately, and not automatically, but gradually.
For example, maybe amphetamines should be regulated, but
permitted as performance boosters for those that want them and
are aware of the risks. Meanwhile, the search continues for an
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