About Alliances for Discovery (AFD)Alliances for Discovery was organized in 1999 as a 501c3 non- profit organization with the specific mission to accelerate breakthrough discoveries, inventions, and innovations of benefit to humanity. The core premise is that world’s “wicked” problems—disease, poverty, illiteracy, destruction of habitat, climate turbulence, violence, and so forth—will not be resolved by our present order of thinking. Most of these desperate problems if not all remain unresolved and many are becoming yearly worse. A transformation in how we think and feel and transact with one another--more specifically, a new collaborative model that invokes the deep potentialities of the human brain and heart together-- is desperately needed to meeting the deep challenges of the early 21st century. During the past twenty years Alliances for Discovery has developed the essential framework, methods, and tools to meet these challenges and is currently deploying them in three major spheres of action. See background article: “Inventing for Humanity—A Collaborative Strategy for Global Survival.”
Big Heart Intelligence
BHI is a new frontier of scientific inquiry that seeks systematically to explore and to understand how the brain, mind, and heart, and other systems of living organisms work in harmony; how they comprehend and are conscious. A just published work, Laughing Heart—A Field Guide to Exuberant Vitality for All Ages—10 Essential Moves, is the most recent embodiment and expression of principles under development since AFD’s conception. The present challenge is to make the Guide intelligent, interactive, and personalized to become a trusted friend and companion for individuals and organizations of all kinds, enriching every activity where a combination of heart and mind matters. Version 1.0 of the Intelligent Guide can be delivered within 4-6 months with modest funding.
- Early Detection, Prevention, and Effective Therapies for Opthalmic, Neurodegenerative, and Cardiovascular Disease— AFD's mission is to set the cornerstone for early detection, prevention, and better therapies for a wide range of ophthalmic, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular illnesses. We are poised to accomplish this feat by creating a panel of biomarkers, taking advantage of the fact that retinal ganglion cells in the eye are a part of the central nervous system. We therefore have an easy, accessible, safe, and measureable route to the brain. With new ophthalmic imaging technologies it is feasible today to take high resolution images, instantaneously and non-invasively, and make accurate assessments without wasting precious time. It is an axiom of modern neuropathology that neurons once lost do not grow back, and therefore patients’ conditions can become rapidly and irretrievably worse without early and effective intervention.
- At present patients must wait months and in some cases even years for a definitive diagnosis. AFD has organized a Collaborative Innovation Network (COIN) to accelerate the practical clinical applications of this breakthrough technology, beginning with glaucoma, diabetic neuropathy, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, ALS, hypertension, and stroke. The BHI mission is to deliver these benefits to the largest numbers of patients and their physicians around the world in the shortest period of time at affordable cost. Participants in the COIN include pioneering inventors of the core technologies, innovators, researchers at Stanford, Oregon Health Science University, UCLA, and Yale. Seeing the Big Picture in Medical Science.
- Earthquake Prediction—There are many practical applications of AFD’s COIN model, some of them listed on the BHI web site. One of particular current interest for AFD is the prediction of earthquakes. AFD has published a series of articles focused on the devastating 9.0 earthquake that occurred in 2011 Fukushima, Japan.
AFD is currently studying the feasibility of convening an international meeting in Florence, Italy in the fall of 2017 of key stakeholders and domain experts in earthquake science to assess the practical applications of leading earthquake prediction technologies in providing reliable advance notice of a mega earthquake in or near Florence. Such an earthquake would have a strong likelihood of destroying Florence’s treasure trove of Renaissance art and along with it the West’s artistic heritage. This cause has now become especially urgent in light of recent warning signs (See John Hooper, “Will Art Filled Florence Come Tumbling Down?”
AFD proposes to serve as a “neutral facilitator” and “innovator for the situation” employing BHI principles in convening rivaling scientific factions and civil and government stakeholders in an open dialogue based on trust and respect. This is a considerable challenge in itself because the subject of earthquake prediction is sharply controversial in Italy. Leading earthquake scientists are constrained even to attend a meeting in Florence to discuss the subject for fear that they will be arrested if they speak out and later an earthquake occurs, or quite fantastically, if it doesn’t! This is not an idle fear. The Italian authorities have in the L’Aquila case criminally prosecuted consulting earthquake scientists for their failure to predict earthquakes. The present position of the Italian authorities is having a chilling effect on intelligent discourse. If the project proceeds with the full approval of the Italian authorities, AFD will make its Intelligent IT Platform available to all COIN participants to solve the present inventive challenge (i.e. to predict accurately a large scale earthquake in Florence) and to advance the science and technology of earthquake prediction. (For a discussion of the application of the Explorers Wheel to earthquake prediction see: Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind Book II, pps. 150-192.
- AFD’s Intelligent COIN Platform—AFD has a blueprint of an Intelligent IT Platform to support continuously all members of the COIN. The IT Platform includes advanced search, a discovery/invention engine, a visual matching engine to connect all COIN members by degrees of opted interest, big data analytics and machine learning and Big Mechanism tools, including IBM’s Watson to explain complex data sets. The blueprint is available to corporate and non-profit organizations interested in implementing BHI principles for the public good.