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Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is an innovative story that dwells on the life of Guy Montag as the main character and is set in the 24th century. Critically, the novel clarifies how literature and books are illegal, and some firefighters have been hired to destroy the materials. Distinctively, Fahrenheit 451 reveals the disruptive nature of technology where individuals are exposed to digital media that does not help in self-improvement. Additionally, there is the depiction of dependency on technology where some characters foster emotional connections to television presenters at the expense of family members. The story progresses into the life of Guy Montag, who questions the morality of his profession as a firefighter when he sees the community being destroyed and deteriorating. As a result, the protagonist decides to transform where he focuses on the rebuilding of the society through the campaign for literature and culture as a rebel with the aspiration of promoting literacy. Among the compelling literary styles incorporated in Fahrenheit 451 is the depiction of various settings that enable the audience to understand the transformation in culture. Decisively, the change in setting affects symbolism and irony as fiction elements in the plot of the novel.

Change in setting is a literary element in Fahrenheit 451 that affects the development of the plot in the novel. Critically, the change in setting enables the author to establish three distinct sections through the life of Guy Montag in the novel. The first phase represents a time when literature and culture were prioritized in society. Also, the first phase showcased a time when literacy was a virtue in the community and individuals engaged in self-development initiatives. Decisively, the change in setting enables a transformation to the second phase, where there are directives intended to disrupt culture and literacy in society (Hwang 596). Under this context, the change in setting is masterfully used by the author to showcase the role of Guy Montag as a dutiful fireman who contributes to the elimination of literacy and culture.

Furthermore, the last stage is inducted by change in setting by the depiction of rebellion, where the protagonist in Fahrenheit 451 questions the immorality of the directives and decides to campaign for literature and culture. Hence, the integration of change in setting as a literary style enables the audience to appreciate the transformation in the plot as depicted by the characters (Hwang 596). Thus, change in setting becomes an essential literary style that provides a practical platform to support various themes such as symbolism and irony in Fahrenheit 451.

Distinctively, the change in setting has been used in Fahrenheit 451 to present an opportunity for the audience to understand the possibilities in the future. Notably, the conversation between Clarisse and Montag is a reflection of how there has been a significant transformation in the community (Bradbury 18). Similarly, the application of the change in setting reveals how the future is limited through censorship in literature, which makes books less attractive to people. As a result, it is possible for the audience to understand why media and technology have replaced literature in the future (Harrison 56). Additionally, the change in setting enables the reader to reflect on the adverse effects of technology in the community as showcased in Fahrenheit 451. Hence, the change in setting allows the practical description of the literature decline in Fahrenheit 451.

Symbolism is a major theme in Fahrenheit 451 that is supported through the change in setting. Notably, “The Hearth and the Salamander” is a title in the novel, which is a representation of symbolism. Distinctively, the title is a depiction of the life of the character in a changing world. From an analytical perspective, the salamander reveals the personality of Guy Montag, who has the capacity of surviving in a difficult situation without being damaged (Greenwood). Through, extrapolation, it is evident that the change in setting is a useful style used by the author that enables the audience to understand the relationship between the community and Guy Montag. Distinctively, by referring to the hearth and the salamander, the author elucidates the resilience in Guy Montag in a transformative society where culture and literature become forbidden. Hence, the use of changing the setting as a literary style enables the audience to understand the symbolism associated with the hearth and the salamander.

In addition, change in setting enables the definition of symbolism through the Phoenix. Distinctively, the Phoenix is a representation of constructive transformation that has to start with destruction. As in the Phoenix, there has to be destruction through fire to rise from the ashes. Critically, the Phoenix is a reflection of the life of Guy Montag, who had to take a destructive path before being reborn (Khan). The path taken by Guy Montag is a reflection of the fire that consumes the Phoenix before a constructive transformation. Afterward, Guy Montag acknowledges the error in his ways and decides to campaign for the establishment of culture by promoting literacy in society. Moreover, the change in setting presents a familiar background to the audience to correlate the Phoenix as a symbol of the life of Guy Montag. Hence, the incorporation of a change in setting enables the better use of symbolism as a literary style to enhance the understanding of the audience.

Irony is a significant theme in Fahrenheit 451 that is supported by a change in setting. Decisively, the change in setting enables the integration of irony as a literary style used to explain various circumstances in the novel. For example, the change in setting depicts irony associated with the actions of firefighters in the utopian society. Traditionally, firefighters are tasked with the responsibility of putting out fires and protecting property. However, the change in setting depicts irony, where firefighters in the utopian society have the obligation of burning books and starting fires to houses that contain literature (Gomez). The change in setting enables the illustration of irony through the life of firefighters in the story.

Similarly, change in the setting is used to reveal the situational irony encompassing the arrival of firefighters at the house of Montag. During the scene, Beatty explains to Montag that he has to destroy his books, as it was illegal to have them. However, Montag responds by killing Beatty to preserve literature (Lee 144). Critically, the change in setting allows a dynamic flow in the plot where the protagonist transforms from a dutiful servant to a rebel. Distinctively, the use of change in setting provides a platform to alter the plot where the focus is on Guy Montag as a rebel who works to promote the preservation of literature. The inclusion of the change in setting is instrumental in Fahrenheit 451 to support situational irony intended to alter the plot of the novel.

Likewise, change in setting is used to outline verbal irony in Fahrenheit 451 that reflects the harmful effect of technology in the utopian society. Verbal irony refers to a situation where the said words differ in meaning as to what was intended by the speaker. In the novel, Mildred explains that she has a deep affection for television presenters and goes the extra step of identifying them as family. However, through the change in setting, it is possible to outline the verbal irony associated with Mildred remarks, which significantly differ from her interaction with family members (Gomez). In reality, Mildred does not have a close connection with family members and disregards their welfare and well-being. Hence, the change in setting between television and real life is instrumental as it enhances the plot of the novel by displaying the harmful effects of technology on the characters.

In addition, change in setting is a literary style used to showcase dramatic irony in Fahrenheit 451. Dramatic irony refers to a situation where the audience has an understanding of an incident while characters remain oblivious. Critically, change in setting enables the depiction of dramatic irony in the plot where Mildred attempts to commit suicide by ingesting sleeping pills. After the intervention by doctors, Mildred is recuperated. However, Mildred does not remember the suicidal attempt and finds it difficult to accept the incident, as explained by Montag (Gomez). It is from this perspective that change in setting enables dramatic irony in this novel. Consequently, change in setting leads to an omniscient presence of the audience to understand happenings in the story despite ignorance from the characters.

Change in setting enforces irony and makes the plot more believable to the audience. Notably, Fahrenheit 451 is a story written in the 1950s when technology was limited. However, the incorporation of change in setting enables the audience to explore imagination and accept the possibility of big televisions and media (Thompson). Critically, the irony is vital in the novel as it enhances a different mentality where the audience evaluates the impact of technology in their lives. Hence, the incorporation of change in setting enables the establishment of a believable plot based on irony and imagination in Fahrenheit 451.

Conclusively, Fahrenheit 451 is an innovative novel that uses change in setting as a primary style to portray various themes. As discussed above, the novel envisions the transformation of a utopian society where literature and books become illegal. As a result, there is the hiring of firefighters to destroy books and literature houses. Distinctively, the change in setting facilitates the description of the life of Guy Montag as the main character before and after the transformation of the community. Critically, change in setting enables the audience to have a deep understanding of the three phases of transformations through the lives of the characters. Additionally, change in setting is instrumental in enforcing the impact of symbolism in the story. Distinctively the Phoenix and the salamander are symbols used to highlight the life of Guy Montag as he transforms from an antagonist to a protagonist who focuses on the preservation of literacy.. For example, the role of firefighters in the novel is altered, as they are responsible for starting fires rather than stopping them. Additionally, irony outlines the disruptive nature of technology where the characters such as Mildred value television characters more than family members. Hence, the utilization of change in setting allows the dynamic flow of the plot in the story through the transformation up to a point where literature and books become illegal in society.

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Primus Financial Services Case Study

Brad Brooks, the director of communications for Primus, a Boston-based company with a nationwide financial sales distribution system, was busy working on an important speech for Sheila Burke, the company’s newly-appointed president. Burke’s appointment had come on the heels of her predecessor’s abrupt termination two months earlier. The entire organization was feeling uncertain. Would heads roll? What direction would Burke take?
So it was with a sense of foreboding that Brooks, answering the phone, heard the new president’s voice. “Brad, as you know we’re working on the company’s strategic direction and I’m deep into the annual budget. I’m frankly concerned about the millions we’re spending on communication. I’m also concerned that we don’t have any kind of social media presence. Your department is behind the times. Put together a high-level summary of the resource allocation, people, and money, and meet me on Wednesday to discuss. I’m thinking of having consultants come in and do a communication audit.”
Brooks stared out his office window, the Charles River shrouded in fog. Where to begin? It was difficult, he believed, to measure the ROI of communication. Moreover, there never seemed enough time – or the skill set – for his team to focus on measuring and assessing results. Everyone was scrambling to ‘put out fires,’ especially with the change in leadership. And just the thought of outsiders coming in to conduct an audit gave him an anxiety attack. That evening, Brad reviewed the company’s communication portfolio, the annual budget, and how members of the communication team were deployed.
Brooks also knew that the company’s annual sales force survey would be deployed the following week. His plan was to suggest that Burke wait for the survey results before taking any steps to revamp the communications function.
The company’s communication portfolio:
Public Website: Brooks had to admit the company’s public website was a clunker. The platform was outdated and relied heavily on IT support, which was costly. Content changes needed to be passed along to the IT team, which implemented ‘mods’ on a biweekly basis. Discussions were underway to transition the site to a self-publishing platform by Q1 2018 so that the Communication team could publish content with no IT involvement.
Perhaps more seriously, the site’s purpose was unclear. It contained educational content accumulated over several years, some of which was embarrassingly outdated, but there was no focus to the content and no calls to action. Traffic data
showed that customers often used the site to access their online account information, but other sections of the site had little usage. In fact, the number of total visits was steadily falling. At the same time, the site was not generating any sales.
Company Intranet: The prior year, the corporate intranet, PrimusNet, was transitioned to a self-publishing platform, eliminating the need for IT support. That was a good thing. However, maintaining the site was absorbing more and more of the staff’s time. The volume of content provided by other departments was staggering. Brooks had to admit that the site was difficult to navigate and that it was difficult to prioritize content in terms of its importance to the sales process. One person coordinated the daily publication of news, while two others managed content on the site.
One troubling sign was that only 25% of the sales force accessed PrimusNet on a regular basis. Another was the negative feedback given the site in the yearly sales force survey – the major complaints:
• “Information about the advanced markets (business owners, affluent) is almost impossible to find.” • “It’s too difficult to find the information I’m looking for.” • “Much of the information isn’t relevant – I’m inundated with useless information.”

Monthly Magazine: The company’s monthly publication for the sales force had not changed much in recent years. The editorial mix consisted of interviews with senior advisors (who were almost exclusively white males), sales ideas, product descriptions. Anecdotal feedback from opinion leaders in the sales force was that they liked the magazine, but there was no evidence that it increased sales or that the majority of readers really cared about the publication.
Newsletters: Over the years, the number of newsletters published by the group had proliferated. It seemed that every field management constituency “needed” a dedicated communication vehicle: Managing Partners, Sales Managers, Marketing Directors, Brokerage Managers, Operations Managers. Producing these newsletters tied up both staff and resources.
Public Relations: One member of the staff handled public relations, both focusing on industry media and attracting new advisors to the company. Public relations consisted of pitching stories to trade publications, with modest success.
Executive Communication: Brad and another member of the team developed Powerpoint presentations for use by the President at periodic sales office meetings. Sheila Burke had expressed frustration at not being able to get her message out to the entire sales force in a more timely way. Powerpoint presentations and the monthly column in Power Selling just did not, as she commented sarcastically, “cut the mustard.”
Advertising: Primus did not have wide name recognition among consumers, and executives were not interested in spending millions to raise the brand’s profile. National ad spend was directed at recruiting new sales reps in national industry publications. Consumer advertising dollars were allocated to local sales offices, which could decide how and where to spend the money. The team had just begun to investigate digital marketing opportunities.
Primus Sales Force Survey
Survey audience:
Sales Representatives – all levels of experience and tenure with the company. At the time this online survey was conducted, Primus had 2,355 sales representatives in 82 sales offices across the United States.
The response rate for Sales Representatives was 65%.
Sales Managers – people with sales management responsibilities – recruiting, training and supervising sales reps, overseeing sales activity, providing organizational leadership, etc. At the time the survey was conducted, Primus had 344 sales managers in 82 sales offices across the United States.
The response rate for Sales Managers was 91%.
Survey Questions:
Response categories (1-7 scale, with 1 being lowest and 7 being highest in terms of agreement, importance, or satisfaction)
Rate your level of agreement with the following statements on a scale of 1 to 7
1.The monthly sales magazine provides useful information in helping me do my job.
2. The intranet portal provides useful information in helping me do my job.
3. I receive the right amount of communication.
4. The company provides information in a way that allows me to quickly find what I need.
Rate the level of importance on a scale of 1 to 7
5. Importance of communication to sales success
Rate your level of satisfaction with the following on a scale of 1 to 7
6. Satisfaction with communication received.
7. I have a clear sense of company direction.

Survey Results
Response categories (1-7 scale, with 1 being lowest and 7 being highest in terms of agreement, importance, or satisfaction):
• Positive (6, 7) • On the fence (4, 5) • Negative (1-3)

NOTE: Percent change from prior year’s survey is shown in ( ) — two questions were not asked in the prior year survey

Level of Agreement Sales Representatives Sales Managers
The following communication vehicles “provides useful information to my job”:

Monthly sales magazine (NEW QUESTION FROM LAST YEAR – NO YoY %)
32% Positive
38% On the Fence
30% Negative
53% Positive
31% On the Fence
15% Negative
Intranet portal 34% (-15%) Positive
50% (+2%) On the Fence
16% (+13%) Negative
40% (-6%) Positive
50% (+3%) On the Fence
10% (+3%) Negative
I receive the right amount of communication

19% (+4%) Positive
68% (-8%) On the Fence
13% (+4%) Negative
18% (-1%) Positive
73% (+1%) On the Fence
9% (0%) Negative
The company provides information in a way
that allows me to quickly find what I need
10% (-5%) Positive
49% (-2%) On the Fence
41% (+7%) Negative
14% (0%) Positive
52% (-6%) On the Fence
34% (+6%) Negative
Level of importance
Importance of communication to sales success 27% (-3%) Positive
48% (-2%) On the Fence
25% (+5%) Negative
33% (+2%) Positive
52% (0%) On the Fence
15% (-2%) Negative
Level of satisfaction
Satisfaction with communication received 19% (-5%) Positive
52% (-2%) On the Fence
29% (+7%) Negative
21% (-5%) Positive
49% (-5%) On the Fence
30% (+10%) Negative
I have a clear sense of company direction (NEW QUESTION FROM LAST YEAR – NO YoY %)
10% Positive
30% On the Fence
60% Negative
15% Positive
50% On the Fence
35% Negative

Feedback Sales Force Survey Assignment This show how this assignment will be reviewed

Section Comments Key Points of Reference Part 1 (33%) Critique the quality of the survey questions Quality of the survey: • This survey is a prime example of what happens when we don’t relate specific questions to KPIs – how do the questions relate to communication effectiveness? • Several questions include terms that are vague or can be interpreted in multiple ways (e.g., the meaning of the word ‘right,’ satisfaction with what ‘communication,’ etc.). • All of these questions use a seven point scale – could the survey have included other types of questions such as rank order? • The responses to most of these questions are not actionable – they are indications of vague attitudes • How would Hutton critique the survey? “Good questions reveal what’s going on. Bad questions obscure it. Good questions point to solutions, bad questions do not. Good questions resonate with staff. Bad questions bemuse them.” (p. 32)
Part 2 (33%) Analyze the results
Key findings: 1. In general, when reviewing results, focus attention on the largest positive and negative scores. 2. Overall, satisfaction with communication has slipped since last year. 3. Managers tend to be more satisfied, Sales Reps less satisfied – what are the implications of this? Role of sales managers as conduits of information between HQ and sales reps – we would therefore hope to see much more positive responses from sales managers. 4. A large proportion of respondents seems to be ‘on the fence’ 5. Among the communication vehicles, the intranet scores the best, but the large negative scores for allowing “me to quickly find what I need” – a critical finding since we know that sales people have little patience. 6. The new CEO is launching a new strategy – but the sales force seems clueless about company direction – a serious issue! 7. How does material in Chapter 12 of Paine help us understand some of these results?
Part 3 (33%) What issues would you like to explore in more depth
Potential approaches: • The challenge is to identify a few critical areas to assess – where can we “move the needle” in a positive direction with respect to communication effectiveness in two ways: reduce the big negatives, accentuate the big positives • Sending out another, re-worded survey at this stage might not be productive – but we should consider a redesign of the survey with questions tied to KPIs – even though we will lose some benchmarking
• Deploy focus groups especially with sales reps to probe about what’s working and what’s not – we need to dig deeper with this audience • Conduct usability analysis of the intranet to enable quicker and more intuitive navigation and organization of content – we can implement changes with immediate impact • Explore: how the sales force currently receives information and how they would prefer to receive it, where are the gaps? • Big red flag is the strategic understanding results – we have a new leader and a new strategy! This has to be a top priority for further investigation!

Download Case Study
Primus-Case-Study.pdf

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Big Data Patents (Digital Intellectual Property Law)

Article By Sandro Sandri 

1- BIG DATA

Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy. The term “big data” often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics, user behaviour analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set.1 “There is little doubt that the quantities of data now available are indeed large, but that’s not the most relevant characteristic of this new data ecosystem.”

In another way Big Data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount structured, semistructured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information. It is often characterized by 3Vs: the extreme Volume of data, the wide Variety of data types and the Velocity at which the data must be processed. Although big data doesn’t equate to any specific volume of data, the term is often used to describe terabytes, petabytes and even exabytes of data captured over time. The need for big data velocity imposes unique demands on the underlying compute infrastructure. The computing power required to quickly process huge volumes and varieties of data can overwhelm a single server or server cluster. Organizations must apply adequate compute power to big data tasks to achieve the desired velocity. This can potentially demand hundreds or thousands of servers that can distribute the work and operate collaboratively. Achieving such velocity in a cost-effective manner is also a headache. Many enterprise leaders are reticent to invest in an extensive server and storage infrastructure that might only be used occasionally to complete big data tasks. As a result, public cloud computing has emerged as a primary vehicle for hosting big data analytics projects. A public cloud provider can store petabytes of data and scale up thousands of servers just long enough to accomplish the big data project. The business only pays for the storage and compute time actually used, and the cloud instances can be turned off until they’re needed again. To improve service levels even further, some public cloud providers offer big data capabilities, such as highly distributed Hadoop compute instances, data warehouses, databases and other related cloud services. Amazon Web Services Elastic MapReduce is one example of big data services in a public cloud.

Ultimately, the value and effectiveness of big data depends on the human operators tasked with understanding the data and formulating the proper queries to direct big data projects. Some big data tools meet specialized niches and allow less technical users to make various predictions from everyday business data. Still, other tools are appearing, such as Hadoop appliances, to help businesses implement a suitable compute infrastructure to tackle big data projects, while minimizing the need for hardware and distributed compute software know-how.

a) BIG DATA AND THE GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come into force in May 2018, establishes a few areas that have been either drafted with a view to encompass Big Data-related issues or carry additional weight in the context of Big Data, lets analyse just two aspects.

– Data processing impact assessment

According to the GDPR, where a type of processing in particular using new technologies, and taking into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing, is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the controller shall, prior to the processing, carry out an assessment of the impact of the envisaged processing operations on the protection of personal data. This criterion is most likely going to be met in cases of Big Data analytics, IoT or Cloud operations, where the processing carries high privacy risks due to the properties of either technology or datasets employed. For example, linking geolocation data to the persons name, surname, photo and transactions and making it available to an unspecified circle of data users can expose the individual to a higher than usual personal safety risk. Involving data from connected IoT home appliances or using a Cloud service to store and process such data is likely to contribute to this risk.

– Pseudonymisation

 

According to the GDPR, ‘pseudonymisation’ means the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person. At least two aspects link pseudonymisation to Big Data. First, if implemented properly, it may be a way to avoid the need to obtain individual consent for Big Data operations not foreseen at the time of data collection. Second, paradoxically, Big Data operations combining potentially unlimited number of datasets also makes pseudonymisation more difficult to be an effective tool to safeguard privacy.

b) BIG DATA APPLICATIONS

Big data has increased the demand of information management specialists so much so that Software AG, Oracle Corporation, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, EMC, HP and Dell have spent more than $15 billion on software firms specializing in data management and analytics. In 2010, this industry was worth more than $100 billion and was growing at almost 10 percent a year: about twice as fast as the software business as a whole. Developed economies increasingly use data-intensive technologies. There are 4.6 billion mobile-phone subscriptions worldwide, and between 1 billion and 2 billion people accessing the internet. Between 1990 and 2005, more than 1 billion people worldwide entered the middle class, which means more people became more literate, which in turn lead to information growth. The world’s effective capacity to exchange information through telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2.2 exabytes in 2000, 65 exabytes in 20073 and predictions put the amount of internet traffic at 667 exabytes annually by 2014. According to one estimate, one third of the globally stored information is in the form of alphanumeric text and still image data, which is the format most useful for most big data applications. This also shows the potential of yet unused data (i.e. in the form of video and audio content).

2 “Data, data everywhere”. The Economist. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2012.

3 Hilbert, Martin; López, Priscila (2011). “The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information”. Science. 332 (6025): 60-65. doi:10.1126/science.1200970. PMID 21310967.

 

While many vendors offer off-the-shelf solutions for big data, experts recommend the development of in-house solutions custom-tailored to solve the company’s problem at hand if the company has sufficient technical capabilities.

2- PATENTS

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. An invention is a solution to a specific technological problem and is a product or a process. Being so, Patents are a form of intellectual property.

A patent does not give a right to make or use or sell an invention.5 Rather, a patent provides, from a legal standpoint, the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing date6 subject to the payment of maintenance fees. From an economic and practical standpoint however, a patent is better and perhaps more precisely regarded as conferring upon its proprietor “a right to try to exclude by asserting the patent in court”, for many granted patents turn out to be invalid once their proprietors attempt to assert them in court.7 A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned.

The procedure for granting patents, requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a granted patent application must include one or more claims that define the invention. A patent may include many claims, each of which defines a specific property right.

4 WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Policy, Law and Use. Chapter 2: Fields of Intellectual Property Protection WIPO 2008

A patent is not the grant of a right to make or use or sell. It does not, directly or indirectly, imply any such right. It grants only the right to exclude others. The supposition that a right to make is created by the patent grant is obviously inconsistent with the established distinctions between generic and specific patents, and with the well-known fact that a very considerable portion of the patents granted are in a field covered by a former relatively generic or basic patent, are tributary to such earlier patent, and cannot be practiced unless by license

thereunder.” – Herman v. Youngstown Car Mfg. Co., 191 F. 579, 584-85, 112 CCA 185 (6th Cir. 1911)

6 Article 33 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

7 Lemley, Mark A.; Shapiro, Carl (2005). “Probabilistic Patents”. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Stanford Law and

Economics Olin Working Paper No. 288. 19: 75.

 

relevant patentability requirements, such as novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness. The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent others, or at least to try to prevent others, from commercially making, using, selling, importing, or distributing a patented invention without permission.

Under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, patents should be available in WTO member states for any invention, in all fields of technology,9 and the term of protection available should be a minimum of twenty years.10 Nevertheless, there are variations on what is patentable subject matter from country to country.

a) EUROPEAN PATENT LAW

European patent law covers a wide range of legislations including national patent laws, the Strasbourg Convention of 1963, the European Patent Convention of 1973, and a number of European Union directives and regulations in countries which are party to the European Patent Convention. For certain states in Eastern Europe, the Eurasian Patent Convention applies.

Patents having effect in most European states may be obtained either nationally, via national patent offices, or via a centralised patent prosecution process at the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO is a public international organisation established by the European Patent Convention. The EPO is not a European Union or a Council of Europe institution.[1] A patent granted by the EPO does not lead to a single European patent enforceable before one single court, but rather to a bundle of essentially independent national European patents enforceable before national courts according to different national legislations and procedures.[2] Similarly, Eurasian patents are granted by the Eurasian Patent Office and become after grant independent national Eurasian patents enforceable before national courts.

8 Lemley, Mark A.; Shapiro, Carl (2005). “Probabilistic Patents”. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 288. 19: 75. doi:10.2139/ssrn.567883.

9 Article 27.1. of the TRIPs Agreement.

10 Article 33 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

 

European patent law is also shaped by international agreements such as the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs Agreement), the Patent Law Treaty (PLT) and the London Agreement.

3- BIG DATA PATENTS

11 Patent Analytics Solutions That Help Inventors Invent”, Outsell Inc, June 3 2016

Patent data is uniquely suited for big data tools and techniques, because of the high volume, high variety (including related information) and high velocity of changes. In fact, patents are leading the way with big data and analytics in many ways. “The patent space offers a fascinating insight into the potential of big data analytics, rich visualization tools, predictive and prescriptive analytics, and artificial intelligence”.11 Especially recently, big data tools and technologies are being used in several ways in the patent world to transform and improve patent analysis.

Patents and Intellectual Property are gradually gaining significance around the world. This is leading to a bottleneck-large databases and ever growing information. A new way around the innovation problem is to acquire patents. With examples such as Nokia, Motorola, Twitter, the patent purchases seem rather straightforward. Nokia sold a large chunk of its company to Microsoft, but held on to the crucial patents by signing a licensing deal. They can now earn a revenue using patents licensed to Microsoft. Google bought Motorola and its patents and later sold the company to Lenovo while holding on to the patents. There are ample such examples in the industry.

Transactions of Intellectual Property (IP) are rather complex. Per example, a basic component to be verified before a patent is granted, is novelty. In other words, if a priorart describing the invention is found, the application stands to be rejected. A prior-art could be in the form of a publication, a blog post, a lecture, a video, or a book. With a massive amount of information generated, that doubles every 18 months, it is extremely difficult to found prior-art. One way, some organizations follow, is crowdsourcing the prior art search. Details about the patent are published on a website asking IP professionals from around the world to find a prior-art. The emergence of Big Data analytics, on the other hand, has provided a clear solution. In addition, the outcomes through this method get better and precise with each operation.

Since Big Data analytics is still not commonly used by most government authorities, prior-art gets overlooked and many false patents are granted. This comes out when-in litigation-the opposing parties put all their efforts in looking for a prior-art to invalidate each other’s patents. More often than not, a prior-art is found or there is an out of court settlement. Hence, a concept called patent wall has gained traction. It is very common for companies to file as well as acquire a number of patents around the technology they are working on. This serves as a defence against litigators and allows the companies to market and sell their products/services without any fear of litigation.

The core value of patents is that the invention must be publicly disclosed in exchange for a time-limited monopoly on the invention. Patents are not only a legal asset that can block competitors, they are potentially a business and financial asset. For market participants, patents can provide direct insight into where competitors are headed strategically.

Big Data is the key to unlocking this inherent value. Patent information is comprised of vast data sets of textual data structures involving terabytes of information. When unlocked through Big Data techniques and analysis, the insights are compelling, revealing the direction a technology is headed and even uncovering the roadmap for a specific company’s product plans. But, deriving these insights from the proliferation of information requires truly sophisticated Big Data analysis.

While Big Data is quickly growing as a trend, what’s delivering more value these days are Big Data services that optimize specific data sets and create specialized analysis tools for that data. Technology teams that are dedicated to certain data sets will curate and improve the data, learn the specifics of that data and how best to analyze it, and create selfservice tools that are far more useful than generic Big Data technologies.

A key part of the Big Data service is a specialized analysis engine tailored to particular data. For example, a patent analysis engine must understand the dozens of metadata items on each patent in order to group patents correctly and traverse the references. To be most effective, Big Data services need to automatically keep up with the data updates, as patents are living documents that change over time. Even after the patent Big Data Patents is finalized and issued, it can be reclassified, assigned to a new owner, reexamined and updated, attached to a patent family or abandoned.

Most importantly, Big Data services are only as good as the insights they deliver – a Big Data service should provide a specialized user interface that allows real-time, userdriven analysis with search, correlations and groupings, visualizations, drill down and zooms. The patent data analysis must be presented in a manner that is compelling and consistent.

There are more than 22,000 published patent applications between 2004 and 2013 relating to big data and efficient computing technologies, resulting in almost 10,000 patent families. Patenting activity in this field has grown steadily over the last decade and has seen its highest increases in annual patenting over the last two years (2011-2012 and 2012-2013) of the present data set. The growth has continually been above the general worldwide increase in patenting, showing a small increase of 0.4% over worldwide patenting for the 2005-2006 period and showing a maximum increase of 39% for 2012-13.~

“Using” a patent effectively means suing a competitor to have them blocked access to market, or charge them a license for allowing them to sell. When a patent holder wishes to enforce a patent, the defendant often can invoke that the patent should not have been granted, because there was prior art at the time the patent was granted. And, while patent offices do not seem to have a clear incentive to take into account actual reality, including the exponentially available information created by Big Data, when reviewing the application, the situation is very different for a defendant in a patent lawsuit. They will have every incentive to establish that the patent should never have been granted, because there was pre-existing prior art, and the information in the patent was not new at the time of application. And one important consequence of Big Data will be that the information available to defendants in this respect, will also grow exponentially. This means that, the probability of being able to defend against a patent claim on the basis of prior art, will grow significantly. Because of the lag of time between patent applications and their use in court, the effect of the recent explosion of information as a result of Big Data is not very visible in the patent courts yet.

A patent is, of itself, an algorithm. It describes the process of a technical invention – how it works (at least, that’s what a patent is theoretically supposed to be doing). It is therefore quite possible that a lot of algorithms around analysis of Big Data will become patented themselves. It could be argued that this will act as a counterweight against the declining value and potential of patents.

Many of these algorithms are, in fact, not technical inventions. They are theoretical structures or methods, and could therefore easily fall into the area of non-patentable matter. Algorithmic patents are particularly vulnerable to the ability by others to “innovate” around them. It is quite unlikely that a data analysis algorithm would be unique, or even necessary from a technical point of view. Most data analysis algorithms are a particular way of doing similar things, such as search, clever search, and pattern recognition. There is, in actual fact, a commoditization process going on in respect of search and analytical algorithms. Patents are “frozen” algorithms. The elements of the algorithm described in a patent are fixed. In order to have a new version of the algorithm also protected, the patent will either have to be written very vague (which seriously increases the risk of rejection or invalidity) or will have to be followed up by a new patent, every time the algorithm is adapted. And the key observation around Big Data algorithms is that, in order to have continued business value, they must be adapted continuously. This is because the data, their volume, sources and behaviour, change continuously.

The consequence is that, even if a business manages to successfully patent Big Data analytical algorithms, such patent will lose its value very quickly. The reason is simple: the actual algorithms used in the product or service will quickly evolve away from the ones described in the patent. Again, the only potential answer to this is writing very broad, vague claims – an approach that does not work very well at all.

80% of all big data and efficient computing patent families (inventions) are filed by US and Chinese applicants, with UK applicants accounting for just 1.2% of the dataset and filing slightly fewer big data and efficient computing patents than expected given the overall level of patenting activity from UK applicants across all areas of technology.

Against this, however, it should be borne in mind that many of the potential improvements in data processing, particularly with regard to pure business methods and computer software routines, are not necessarily protectable by patents and therefore will not be captured by this report. UK patenting activity in big data and efficient computing has, on the whole, increased over recent years and the year-on-year changes are comparable to the growth seen in Germany, France and Japan.12

12 Intellectual Property Office, Eight Great Technologies Big Data A patent overview

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ï‚· Herman v. Youngstown Car Mfg. Co., 191 F. 579, 112 CCA 185 (6th Cir. 1911)

ï‚· Hilbert, Martin; López, Priscila (2011). “The World’s Technological Capacity to

Store, Communicate, and Compute Information”. Science. (6025).

ï‚· Lemley, Mark A.; Shapiro, Carl (2005). “Probabilistic Patents”. Journal of

Economic Perspectives, Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No.

288.

ï‚· Springer, New Horizons for a Data-Driven Economy –

ï‚· “Data, data everywhere”. The Economist. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 9

December 2012.

ï‚· Eight Great Technologies Big Data – A patent overview, Intellectual Property

Office,

ï‚· “Patent Analytics Solutions That Help Inventors Invent”, Outsell Inc, June 3 2016

ï‚· Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

ï‚· Article 33 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property

Rights (TRIPS).

ï‚· 75. doi:10.2139/ssrn.567883.

ï‚· TRIPs Agreement.

ï‚· WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Policy, Law and Use. Chapter 2: Fields of

Intellectual Property Protection WIPO 2008

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David Hume: An Inquiry Concerning the Principals of Morals

Reason Versus Sentiment:

There has been a controversy started of late, much better worth examination, concerning the general foundation of morals; whether they be derived from reason, or from sentiment; whether we attain the knowledge of them by a chain of argument and induction, or by an immediate feeling and finer internal sense; whether, like all sound judgment of truth and falsehood, they should be the same to every rational intelligent being; or whether, like the perception of beauty and deformity, they be founded entirely on the particular fabric and constitution of the human species.

The ancient philosophers, though they often affirm, that virtue is nothing but conformity to reason, yet, in general, seem to consider morals as deriving their existence from taste and sentiment. On the other hand, our modern enquirers, though they also talk much of the beauty of virtue, and deformity of vice, yet have commonly endeavored to account for these distinctions by metaphysical reasonings, and by deductions from the most abstract principles of the understanding. Such confusion reigned in these subjects, that an opposition of the greatest consequence could prevail between one system and another, and even in the parts of almost each individual system; and yet no body, till very lately, was ever sensible of it.

The Case for Reason:

It must be acknowledged, that both sides of the question are susceptible of specious arguments. Moral distinctions, it may be said, are discernible by pure reason: Else, whence the many disputes that reign in common life, as well as in philosophy, with regard to this subject: The long chain of proofs often produced on both sides; the examples cited, the authorities appealed to, the analogies employed, the fallacies detected, the inferences drawn, and the several conclusions adjusted to their proper principles. Truth is disputable; not taste: What exists in the nature of things is the standard of our judgment; what each man feels within himself is the standard of sentiment. Propositions in geometry may be proved, systems in physics may be controverted; but the harmony of verse, the tenderness of passion, the brilliancy of wit, must give immediate pleasure. No man reasons concerning another’s beauty; but frequently concerning the justice or injustice of his actions. In every criminal trial the first object of the prisoner is to disprove the facts alleged, and deny the actions imputed to him: The second to prove, that, even if these actions were real, they might be justified, as innocent and lawful. It is confessedly by deductions of the understanding, that the first point is ascertained: How can we suppose that a different faculty of the mind is employed in fixing the other?

The Case For Sentiment:

On the other hand, those who would resolve all moral determinations into sentiment, may endeavor to show, that it is impossible for reason ever to draw conclusions of this nature. To virtue, say they, it belongs to be amiable, andvice odious. This forms their very nature or essence. But can reason or argumentation distribute these different epithets to any subjects, and pronounce before-hand, that this must produce love, and that hatred? Or what other reason can we ever assign for these affections, but the original fabric and formation of the human mind, which is naturally adapted to receive them?

The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of the deformity of vice and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one, and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: But where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behaviour. What is honourable, what is fair, what is becoming, what is noble, what is generous, takes possession of the heart, and animates us to embrace and maintain it. What is intelligible, what is evident, what is probable, what is true, procures only the cool assent of the understanding; and gratifying a speculative curiosity, puts an end to our researches.

Extinguish all the warm feelings and prepossessions in favour of virtue, and all disgust or aversion to vice: Render men totally indifferent towards these distinctions; and morality is no longer a practical study, nor has any tendency to regulate our lives and actions.

The Limited Role of Reason:

These arguments on each side (and many more might be produced) are so plausible, that I am apt to suspect, they may, the one as well as the other, be solid and satisfactory, and that reason and sentiment concur in almost all moral determinations and conclusions. The final sentence, it is probable, which pronounces characters and actions amiable or odious, praise-worthy or blameable; that which stamps on them the mark of honour or infamy, approbation or censure; that which renders morality an active principle, and constitutes virtue our happiness, and vice our misery: It is probable, I say, that this final sentence depends on some internal sense or feeling, which nature has made universal in the whole species. For what else can have an influence of this nature? But in order to pave the way for such a sentiment, and give a proper discernment of its object, it is often necessary, we find, that much reasoning should precede, that nice distinctions be made, just conclusions drawn, distant comparisons formed, complicated relations examined, and general facts fixed and ascertained.

Some species of beauty, especially the natural kinds, on their first appearance, command our affection and approbation; and where they fail of this effect, it is impossible for any reasoning to redress their influence, or adapt them better to our taste and sentiment. But in many orders of beauty, particularly those of the finer arts, it is requisite to employ much reasoning, in order to feel the proper sentiment; and a false relish may frequently be corrected by argument and reflection. There are just grounds to conclude, that moral beauty partakes much of this latter species, and demands the assistance of our intellectual faculties, in order to give it a suitable influence on the human mind.

Arguments Against Other Roles of Reason in Morality:

This partition between the faculties of understanding and sentiment, in all moral decisions, seems clear from the preceding hypothesis. But I shall suppose that hypothesis false: It will then be requisite to look out for some other theory, that may be satisfactory; and I dare venture to affirm, that none such will ever be found, so long as we suppose reason to be the sole source of morals. To prove this, it will be proper to weigh the five following considerations.

Approval as Not a Judgment About Fact Or Relations:

It is easy for a false hypothesis to maintain some appearance of truth, while it keeps wholly in generals, makes use of undefined terms, and employs comparisons, instead of instances. This is particularly remarkable in that philosophy, which ascribes the discernment of all moral distinctions to reason alone, without the concurrence of sentiment. It is impossible that, in any particular instance, this hypothesis can so much as be rendered intelligible; whatever specious figure it may make in general declamations and discourses. Examine the crime of ingratitude, for instance; which has place, wherever we observe good-will, expressed and known, together with good-offices performed, on the one side, and a return of ill-will or indifference, with ill-offices or neglect on the other: Anatomize all these circumstances, and examine, by your reason alone, in what consists the demerit or blame. You never will come to any issue or conclusion.

Reason Judges Either of matters or Fact or Relations:

Enquire then, first, where is that matter of fact, which we here call crime; point it out; determine the time of its existence; describe its essence or nature; explain the sense or faculty, to which it discovers itself. It resides in the mind of the person, who is ungrateful. He must, therefore, feel it, and be conscious of it. But nothing is there, except the passion of ill-will or absolute indifference. You cannot say, that these, of themselves, always, and in all circumstances, are crimes. No: They are only crimes, when directed towards persons, who have before expressed and displayed good-will towards us. Consequently, we may infer, that the crime of ingratitude is not any particular individual fact; but arises from a complication of circumstances, which, being presented to the spectator, excites the sentiment of blame, by the particular structure and fabric of his mind.

No New Fact Is Discovered:

When a man, at any time, deliberates concerning his own conduct (as, whether he had better, in a particular emergence, assist a brother or a benefactor), he must consider these separate relations, with all the circumstances and situations of the persons, in order to determine the superior duty and obligation: And in order to determine the proportion of lines in any triangle, it is necessary to examine the nature of that figure, and the relation which its several parts bear to each other. But notwithstanding this appearing similarity in the two cases, there is, at bottom, an extreme difference between them. A speculative reasoner concerning triangles or circles considers the several known and given relations of the parts of these figures; and thence infers some unknown relation, which is dependent on the former. But in moral deliberations, we must be acquainted, before-hand, with all the objects, and all their relations to each other; and from a comparison of the whole, fix our choice or approbation. No new fact to be ascertained: No new relation to be discovered. All the circumstances of the case are supposed to be laid before us, ere we can fix any sentence of blame or approbation. If any material circumstance be yet unknown or doubtful, we must first employ our enquiry or intellectual faculties to assure us of it; and must suspend for a time all moral decision or sentiment. While we are ignorant, whether a man were aggressor or not, how can we determine whether the person who killed him, be criminal or innocent? But after every circumstance, every relation is known, the understanding has no farther room to operate, nor any object on which it could employ itself. The approbation or blame, which then ensues, cannot be the work of the judgment, but of the heart; and is not a speculative proposition or affirmation, but an active feeling or sentiment. In the disquisitions of the understanding, from known circumstances and relations, we infer some new and unknown. In moral decisions, all the circumstances and relations must be previously known; and the mind, from the contemplation of the whole, feels some new impression of affection or disgust, esteem or contempt, approbation or blame.

Hence the great difference between a mistake of fact and one of right; and hence the reason why the one is commonly criminal and not the other. When OEdipus killed Laius, he was ignorant of the relation, and from circumstances, innocent and involuntary, formed erroneous opinions concerning the action which he committed. But when Nero killed Agrippina, all the relations between himself and the person, and all the circumstances of the fact, were previously known to him: But the motive of revenge, or fear, or interest, prevailed in his savage heart over the sentiments of duty and humanity. And when we express that detestation against him, to which he, himself, in a little time, became insensible; it is not, that we see any relations, of which he was ignorant; but that, from the rectitude of our disposition, we feel sentiments, against which he was hardened, from flattery and a long perseverance in the most enormous crimes. In these sentiments, then, not in a discovery of relations of any kind, do all moral determinations consist. Before we can pretend to form any decision of this kind, every thing must be known and ascertained on the side of the object or action. Nothing remains but to feel, on our part, some sentiment of blame or approbation; whence we pronounce the action criminal or virtuous.

Similarity Between Moral and Aesthetic Perception:

This doctrine will become still more evident, if we compare moral beauty with natural, to which, in many particulars, it bears so near a resemblance. It is on the proportion, relation, and position of parts, that all natural beauty depends; but it would be absurd thence to infer, that the perception of beauty, like that of truth in geometrical problems, consists wholly in the perception of relations, and was performed entirely by the understanding or intellectual faculties. In all the sciences, our mind, from the known relations, investigates the unknown. But in all decisions of taste or external beauty, all the relations are before-hand obvious to the eye; and we thence proceed to feel a sentiment of complacency or disgust, according to the nature of the object, and disposition of our organs.

Euclid has fully explained all the qualities of the circle; but has not, in any proposition, said a word of its beauty. The reason is evident. The beauty is not a quality of the circle. It lies not in any part of the line, whose parts are equally distant from a common centre. It is only the effect, which that figure produces upon the mind, whose peculiar fabric of structure renders it susceptible of such sentiments. In vain would you look for it in the circle, or seek it, either by your senses or by mathematical reasoning, in all the properties of that figure.

Attend to Palladio and Perrault, while they explain all the parts and proportions of a pillar: They talk of the cornice and frieze and base and entablature and shaft and architrave; and give the description and position of each of these members. But should you ask the description and position of its beauty, they would readily reply, that the beauty is not in any of the parts or members of a pillar, but results from the whole, when that complicated figure is presented to an intelligent mind, susceptible to those finer sensations. ’Till such a spectator appear, there is nothing but a figure of such particular dimensions and proportions: From his sentiments alone arise its elegance and beauty.

Again; attend to Cicero, while he paints the crimes of a Verres or a Catiline. You must acknowledge that the moral turpitude results, in the same manner, from the contemplation of the whole, when presented to a being, whose organs have such a particular structure and formation. The orator may paint rage, insolence, barbarity on the one side: Meekness, suffering, sorrow, innocence on the other: But if you feel no indignation or compassion arise in you from this complication of circumstances, you would in vain ask him, in what consists the crime or villainy, which he so vehemently exclaims against: At what time, or on what subject it first began to exist: And what has a few months afterwards become of it, when every disposition and thought of all the actors is totally altered or annihilated. No satisfactory answer can be given to any of these questions, upon the abstract hypothesis of morals; and we must at last acknowledge, that the crime or immorality is no particular fact or relation, which can be the object of the understanding: But arises entirely from the sentiment of disapprobation, which, by the structure of human nature, we unavoidably feel on the apprehension of barbarity or treachery.

No Distinctly Moral Relation:

Inanimate objects may bear to each other all the same relations, which we observe in moral agents; though the former can never be the object of love or hatred, nor are consequently susceptible of merit or iniquity. A young tree, which over-tops and destroys its parent, stands in all the same relations with Nero, when he murdered Agrippina; and if morality consisted merely in relations, would, no doubt, be equally criminal.

 

Conclusion:

Thus the distinct boundaries and offices of reason and of taste are easily ascertained. The former conveys the knowledge of truth and falsehood: The latter gives the sentiment of beauty and deformity, vice and virtue. The one discovers objects as they really stand in nature, without addition or diminution: The other has a productive faculty, and gilding or staining all natural objects with the colours, borrowed from internal sentiment, raises, in a manner, a new creation. Reason, being cool and disengaged, is no motive to action, and directs only the impulse received from appetite or inclination, by showing us the means of attaining happiness or avoiding misery: Taste, as it gives pleasure or pain, and thereby constitutes happiness or misery, becomes a motive to action, and is the first spring or impulse to desire and volition. From circumstances and relations, known or supposed, the former leads us to the discovery of the concealed and unknown: After all circumstances and relations are laid before us, the latter makes us feel from the whole a new sentiment of blame or approbation. The standard of the one, being founded on the nature of things, is eternal and inflexible, even by the will of the Supreme Being: The standard of the other, arising from the internal frame and constitution of animals, is ultimately derived from that Supreme Will, which bestowed on each being its peculiar nature, and arranged the several classes and orders of existence.

 

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Epidemiology of Alcoholism

Question:

Explain the epidemiology of Alcoholism. Critically discuss the public policy options which are available to address this problem.

Introduction

According to Alcohol Concern Organisation (2015) more than 9 million people in England consume alcoholic beverages more than the recommended daily limits. In relation to this, the National Health Service (2015) actually recommends no more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day for men and 2 to 3 units a day for women. The large number of people consuming alcohol more than the recommended limits, highlights the reality that alcoholism is a major health concern in the UK which can lead to a multitude of serious health problems. Moss (2013) states that alcoholism and chronic use of alcohol are linked to various medical, psychiatric, social and family problems. To add to this, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (2014) reported that between 2012 and 2013, a total of 1,008,850 admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary cause for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis. This shows the detrimental impact of alcoholism on the health and overall wellbeing of millions of people in the UK. It is therefore vital to examine the aetiology of alcoholism in order to understand why so many people end up consuming excessive alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (n.d.) supports this by stating that learning the natural history of a disorder will provide information essential for assessment and intervention and for the development of effective preventive measures. This essay will also look into the different public health policies that address the problem of alcoholism in the UK. A brief description of what alcoholism is will first be provided.

What is Alcoholism?

what is alcoholismIt is safe to declare that alcoholism is a lay term that simply means excessive intake of alcohol. It can be divided into two forms namely; alcohol misuse or abuse and alcohol dependence. Alcohol misuse simply means excessive intake of alcohol more than the recommended limits (National Health Service Choices 2013). A good example of this is binge drinking.

Alcohol dependence is worse because according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2011, n.p.) it “indicates craving, tolerance, a preoccupation with alcohol and continued drinking regardless of harmful consequences” (e.g. liver disease). Under the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)- 5, these two have been joined as one disorder called alcohol use disorder or AUD with mild, moderate and severe sub-classifications (NIAAA 2015).

Genetic Aetiologic Factor of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a complex disorder with several factors leading to its development (NIAAA 2005). Genetics and other biological aspects can be considered as one factor involved in the development of alcohol abuse and dependence (NIAAA 2005). Other factors include cognitive, behavioural, temperament, psychological and sociocultural (NIAAA 2005).

According to Goodwin (1985) as far as the era of Aristotle and the Bible, alcoholism was believed to run in the families and thus could be inherited. To some extent, there is some basis that supports this ancient belief because in reality, alcoholic parents have about four to five times higher probability of having alcoholic children (Goodwin 1985). Today, this belief seems to lack substantially clear and direct research-based evidence. On the other hand, studies also do not deny the role of genetics in alcoholism. With this view, it is therefore safe to argue that genetics is considered still as an important aetiologic factor in alcoholism.

The current consensus simply indicates that there is more to a simple gene or two that triggers the predisposition of an individual to become an alcoholic. Scutti (2014) reports that although scientists have known for some time that genetics take an active role in alcoholism, they also propose that an individual’s inclination to be dependent on alcohol is more complicated than the simple presence or absence of any one gene. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2008) states that there is no one single gene that fully controls a person’s predisposition to alcoholism rather multiple genes play different roles in a person’s susceptibility in becoming an alcoholic. The NIAAA (2005) further claims that the evidence for a genetic factor in alcoholism lies mainly with studies that involve extended pedigree, those that involve identical and fraternal twins and those that include adopted individuals raised apart from their alcoholic parents.

For pedigree studies, it is believed that the risk of suffering from alcoholism is increased four to seven fold among first-degree relatives of an alcoholic (Cotton 1979; Merikangas 1990 cited in NIAAA, 2005.). First degree relatives naturally refer to parent-child relationships; hence, a child is therefore four to seven times at higher risk of becoming an alcoholic, if one or both of their parents are alcoholics. Moss (2013) supports this by stating that children whose parents are alcoholic are at higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves when compared to children whose parents are non-alcoholics.

A study conducted by McGue, Pickens and Svikis (1992 cited in NIAAA 2005) revealed that identical twins generally have a higher concordance rate of alcoholism compared to fraternal twins or non-twin siblings. This basically means that a person who has an alcoholic identical twin, will have a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic himself when compared to if his alcoholic twin is merely a fraternal twin or a non-twin sibling. This study further proves the role of genetics in alcoholism because identical twins are genetically the same; hence, if one is alcoholic, the other must therefore also carry the alcoholic gene.

The genetic factor in alcoholism is further bolstered by studies conducted by Cloninger, Bohman and Sigvardsson 1981 cited in NIAAA 2005 and Cadoret, Cain and Grove (1980 cited in NIAAA 2005) involving adopted children wherein the aim was to separate the genetic factor from the environmental factor of alcoholism. In these studies, children of alcoholic parents were adopted and raised away from their alcoholic parents but despite this, some of these children still develop alcoholism as adults at a higher rate than those adopted children who did not have an alcoholic biological parent (Cloninger et al., 1981 cited in NIAAA 2005 and Cadoret et al., 1980 cited in NIAAA 2005).

One interesting fact about aetiologic genetic factor is that although there are genes that indeed increase the risk of alcoholism, there are also genes that protect an individual from becoming an alcoholic (NIAAA 2008). For example, some people of Asian ancestry carry a gene that modifies their rate of alcohol metabolism which causes them to manifest symptoms such as flushing, nausea and tachycardia and these generally lead them to avoid alcohol; thus, it can be said that this gene actually helps protect those who possess it from becoming alcoholic (NIAAA 2008).

Environment as an Aetiologic Factor of Alcoholism

Another clearly identifiable factor is environment, which involves the way an individual is raised and his or her exposure to different kinds of activities and opportunities. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2005) relates that the genetic factor and the environmental factor have a close relationship in triggering alcoholism in an individual. This can be explained by the simple fact that even if an individual is genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic, if he is not exposed to a particular kind of environment which triggers activities that lead to alcohol intake, the likelihood of his becoming an alcoholic will be remote.epidemiology of alcoholism

There are certain aspects within the environment that makes it an important aetiologic factor. According to Alcohol Policy MD (2005) these aspects include acceptance by society, availability and public policies and enforcement.

Acceptance in this case refers to the idea that drinking alcoholic drinks even those that should be deemed excessive is somewhat encouraged through mass media, peer attitudes and behaviours, role models, and the overall view of society. Television series, films and music videos glorify drinking sprees and even drunken behaviour (Alcohol Policy MD 2005). TV and film actors and sports figures, peers and local role models also encourage a positive attitude towards alcohol consumption which overshadows the reality of what alcohol drinking can lead to (Alcohol Policy MD 2005). In relation to this, a review of different studies conducted by Grube (2004) revealed that mass media in the form of television shows for instance has an immense influence on the youth (age 11 to 18) when it comes to alcohol consumption. In films, portrayals regarding the negative impact of alcohol drinking are rare and often highlight the idea that alcohol drinking has no negative impact on a person’s overall wellbeing (Grube 2004). In support of these findings, a systematic review of longitudinal studies conducted by Anderson et al. (2009) revealed that the constant alcohol advertising in mass media can lead adolescents to start drinking or to increase their consumption for those who are already into it.

Availability of alcoholic drinks is another important environmental aetiologic factor of alcoholism simply because of the reality that no matter how predisposed an individual is to become an alcoholic, the risk for alcoholism will still be low if alcoholic drinks are not available. On the other hand, if alcoholic beverages are readily available as often are today, then the risk for alcoholism is increased not only for those who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism but even for those who do not carry the “alcoholic genes”. The more licensed liquor stores in an area, the more likely people are to drink (Alcohol Policy MD 2005). The cheaper its price, the more affordable it is for people to buy and consume it in excess (Alcohol Policy MD 2005).

Another crucial environmental aetiologic factor is the presence or absence of policies that regulate alcohol consumption and its strict or lax enforcement. It includes restricting alcohol consumption in specified areas, enacting stricter statutes concerning drunk driving and providing for penalties for those who sell to, buy for or serve to underage individuals (Alcohol Policy MD 2005). It is worthy to point out that in the UK, the drinking age is 18 and a person can be stopped, fined or even arrested by police if he or she is below this age and is seen drinking alcohol in public (Government UK 2015a). It is also against the law for someone to sell alcohol to an individual below 18; however, an individual age 16 or 17 when accompanied by an adult can actually drink but not buy alcohol in a pub or drink beer, wine or cider with a meal (Government UK 2015a).

Policies to Combat Alcoholism

One public health policy that can help address the problem on alcoholism is the mandatory code of practice for alcohol retailers which banned irresponsible alcohol promotions and competitions, and obliged retailers to provide free drinking water, compelled them to offer smaller measures and required them to have proof of age protocol. It can be argued that this policy addresses the problem of alcoholism by restricting the acceptance, availability and advertising of alcohol (Royal College of Nursing 2012). Another is the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which is a statute that enables local authorities to take a tougher stance on establishments which break licensing rules about alcohol sale (Royal Collage of Nursing 2012).

There is also the policy paper on harmful drinking which provides different strategies in addressing the problem of alcoholism. One such strategy is the advancement of the Change4Life campaign which promotes healthy lifestyle and therefore emphasises the recommended daily limit of alcohol intake for men and women (Government UK 2015b). Another strategy within this policy is the alcohol risk assessment as part of the NHS health check for adults ages 40 to 75 (Government UK 2015b). This policy aims to prevent rather than cure alcoholism which seems to be logical for after all, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Conclusion

Alcoholism which includes both alcohol misuse and alcohol dependence is a serious health problem which affects millions in the UK. Its aetiology is actually a combination of different factors. One vital factor is genetics wherein it can be argued that some people are predisposed to becoming an alcoholic. For example, an individual is at higher risk of becoming an alcoholic if he or she has a parent who is also alcoholic. When coupled with environmental factors, the risk of suffering from alcoholism becomes even greater. Environment refers to the acceptability and availability of alcohol and the presence or absence of policies that regulate alcohol sale and consumption. Vital health policies such as Harmful Drinking Policy Paper advocated by the government, are important preventive measures in reducing the incidence and prevalence of alcoholism in the UK.

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