A recurring objection to the exploration, development and deployment of radical new technologies is based on their implications with regards to social justice. In this article, using synthetic biology as an example, I explore this line of objection and how we ought to think about justice in the context of the development and introduction of radically new technologies. I argue that contrary to popular opinion, justice rarely provides a reason not to investigate, develop and introduce radical new (...) class='Hi'>technologies, although it may have significant implications for how they ought to be introduced. In particular I focus on the time dependency of justice objections and argue that often these function by looking only at the implications of the introduction of the technology at the point of introduction, rather than the more important long-term impact on patterns of distribution and opportunity. (shrink)
One of the less-appreciated modalities of Lyotard’s rethinking of aesthetics is a consideration of the way that technologies, and in particular information technologies, reconfigure the nature of aesthetic experience. For Lyotard, information technology presents a particular problem in relation to the arts and aesthetic experience. When art uses communication technologies themselves as its matter or medium, the “traditional” model of aesthetic experience becomes problematised. Lyotard argues that this is the case because information technologies determine or “program” (...) a conceptual meaning in advance of an aesthetic experience. Therefore, we no longer have a situation of the “free play” between sensible forms and concepts that constitutes the aesthetics of the beautiful for Kant. Lyotard argues, however, that this decline in aesthetic experience as traditionally conceived need not be understood negatively: rather, it may be seen positively in so far as it furthers experimentation with materials. This chapter concludes by highlighting the positive potentials Lyotard sees in what may now be termed “new media arts,” but also indicates the limitations in Lyotard’s analysis – delimited in part by the theoretical models of information and communication he employed – and suggests directions for further research into new aesthetics from the bearings Lyotard has given us. (shrink)
New medical technologies provide us with new possibilities in health care and health care research. Depending on their degree of novelty, they may as well present us with a whole range of unforeseen normative challenges. Partly, this is due to a lack of appropriate norms to perceive and handle new technologies. This article investigates our ways of establishing such norms. We argue that in this respect analogies have at least two normative functions: they inform both our understanding and (...) our conduct. Furthermore, as these functions are intertwined and can blur moral debates, a functional investigation of analogies can be a fruitful part of ethical analysis. We argue that although analogies can be conservative; because they bring old concepts to bear upon new ones, there are at least three ways in which they can be creative. First, understandings of new technologies are quite different from the analogies that established them, and come to be analogies themselves. That is, the concepts may turn out to be quite different from the analogies that established them. Second, analogies transpose similarities from one area into another, where they previously had no bearing. Third, analogies tend to have a figurative function, bringing in something new and different from the content of the analogies. We use research-biobanking as a practical example in our investigations. (shrink)
An epistemology mainly oriented at a philosophical discussion of natural sciences and technology is sketched out on the basis of the author’s “methodological scheme-interpretationism” combining a realistic and a perspectival pragmatic approach. - In the main part, 12 characteristic features of the New Technologies are presented and discussed as, e.g., operationalization, computerization, models and modularity, virtuality and artificiality, interdisciplinary interaction, comprehensive and complex systems, telematization and remote control, robotics and AI technology and automatization as well as “socio-eco-techno-systems”, technology-driven globalization (...) and the respective problems of individual and social responsibility. - Also, actual trends are listed and future tasks for the international ecological cooperation of states, UN and UNESCO bodies under urgent guidelines of humanitarian values and “practical/concrete humanity” are recommended. (shrink)
The developing countries are currently undergoing a perhaps unprecedented technological revolution that has given new credence and life to the concept of alienation after a period of relative decline in which M arxian, existentialist, and other modern discourses were replaced with postmodern perspectives skeptical or critical of the concept of alienation. In this paper, I want to suggest that emergent information and communication technologies and the restructuring of global capitalism require us to rethink the problematics of technology and alienation. (...) If it is true that we are undergoing a Great Transformation, one of the epochal shifts within the history of capitalism, that the new technologies are taking us into a novel field of cultural experience and that the very nature of human identity and social relations are changing, then obviously we need to develop fresh theories to analyze these changes and politics to respond to them.2 For many, the changes underway on a global scale are as thorough-going and dramatic as the shift from the stage of market and competitive and laissez-faire capitalism theorized by M arx to the stage of state monopoly capitalism critically analyzed by the Frankfurt School in the 1930s.3 Theorizing this ongoing and epic transformation requires critical social theory to engage anew the relations between the economy, state, culture industry, science and technology, social institutions and everyday life as radically as the Frankfurt School revised classical M arxism in the 1930s. In this context, talking about technology and alienation is not just an academic affair, the latest twist in the discourse of alienation or of technology, but rather concerns the fate of the human being in the contemporary world and thus requires serious reflection and discussion whether the changes in society, culture, and human existence are or are not beneficial, and what we can do to promote a positive outcome and prevent a harmful one.. (shrink)
The current explosion of new technologies and furious debates over their substance, trajectory, and effects poses two major challenges to critical social theory and a radical democratic politics: first, how to theorize the dramatic changes in every aspect of life that the new technologies are producing; and, secondly, how to utilize the new technologies to promote progressive social change to create a more egalitarian and democratic society in an era marked by rampant technological development and the seeming (...) victory of market capitalism over its historical opponents. (shrink)
This article addresses the question of whether an expectation of privacy is reasonable in the face of new technologies of surveillance, by developing a principle that best fits our intuitions. A "no sense enhancement" principle which would rule out searches using technologically sophisticated devices is rejected. The paper instead argues for the "mischance principle," which proscribes uses of technology that reveal what could not plausibly be discovered accidentally without the technology, subject to the proviso that searches that serve a (...) great public good that clearly outweighs minimal intrusions upon privacy are permissible. Justifications of the principle are discussed, including reasons why we should use the principle and not rely solely on a utilitarian balancing test. The principle is applied to uses of aerial photography and heat-detection devices. (shrink)
In this paper I intend to discuss social decision-making involving extreme risks. By an extreme risk, I mean a potential outcome of an act for which the probability is low, but whose negative value is high. Extreme risks are often discussed when new technologies are introduced into society. Nuclear power and genetic engineering are two well-known examples.
In this paper I respond to van de Poel’s claim that new technologies should be conceived as ongoing social experiments, which is an idea originally introduced by Schinzinger and Martin in the 1970s. I discuss and criticize three possible motivations for thinking of new technologies as ongoing social experiments.
The ongoing process of revising and rethinking the foundations of economic theory leads to great complexities and contradictions at the heart of economics. ‘Economics of innovation’ provides a fertile challenge to standard economics, and one that can help it overcome its many criticisms. This authoritative book from Cristiano Antonelli provides a systematic account of recent advances in the economics of innovation. By integrating this account with the economics of technological change, this exceptional book elaborates an understanding of the effects of (...) the introduction of new technologies. This excellent, comprehensive account from respected expert Antonelli will be much appreciated within the innovation economics community, yet it is also a book that should be read by all those with either a private or professional interest in economic theory. (shrink)
Policymakers, legislators, scientists, thinkers, military strategists, academics, and all those interested in understanding the future want to know how twenty-first century scientific advance should be regulated in war and peace. This book tries to provide some of the answers. Part I summarises some important elements of the relevant law. In Part II, individual chapters are devoted to cyber capabilities, highly automated and autonomous systems, human enhancement technologies, human degradation techniques, the regulation of nanomaterials, novel naval technologies, outer space, (...) synthetic brain technologies beyond artificial intelligence, and biometrics. The final part of the book notes important synergies that emerge between the different technologies and legal provisions, existing and proposed, assesses notions of convergence and of composition in international law, and provides some concluding remarks. The new technologies, their uses, and their regulation in war and peace are presented to the reader who is invited to draw conclusions. (shrink)
The first IVF baby was born in the 1970s. Less than 20 years later, we had cloning and GM food, and information and communication technologies had transformed everyday life. In 2000, the human genome was sequenced. More recently, there has been much discussion of the economic and social benefits of nanotechnology, and synthetic biology has also been generating controversy. This important volume is a timely contribution to increasing calls for regulation - or better regulation - of these and other (...) new technologies. Drawing on an international team of legal scholars, it reviews and develops the role of human rights in the regulation of new technologies. Three controversies at the intersection between human rights and new technology are given particular attention. First, how the expansive application of human rights could contribute to the creation of a brave new world of choice, where human dignity is fundamentally compromised; second, how new technologies, and our regulatory responses to them, could be a threat to human rights; and, third, how human rights could be used to create better regulation of these technologies. (shrink)
In 2003, The Guardian newspapers ran an article with the headline, “Prospect of babies from unborn mothers.” A team of Israeli researchers had been attempting to grow viable eggs from the ovarian tissue of aborted fetuses for use in fertility treatments such as IVF. The rhetoric of “unborn mothers” poses new challenges to the liberal feminist discourse of personhood. How do we articulate the ethical issues involved in harvesting eggs from an aborted fetus, without resurrecting the debate over whether this (...) fetus is a full-fledged person with, for example, rights to non-interference or freedom from harm? Can we coherently defend a woman’s right to terminate pregnancy without relinquishing a feminist position from which to critique the use of aborted fetuses in certain experimental procedures? In short, what happens when the “new” discourse of reproductive technology intersects with the “old” discourse of abortion? (shrink)
A short article examining the problems of the fertility industry, commodifying human life and allowing unaccountable third parties to create children in ways that undermine their identity by way of donor conception, human cloning and artificial reproductive techniques.
Currently, some philosophers and technicians propose to change the fundamental constitution of Homo sapiens, as by significantly altering the genome, implanting microchips in the brain, and pursuing related techniques. Among these proposals are aspirations to guide humanity’s evolution into new species. Some philosophers have countered that such species alteration is unethical and have proposed international policies to protect species integrity; yet, it remains unclear on what basis such right to species integrity would rest. An answer may come from an unexpected (...) angle of rights issues: Some cultures have indicated that they want no part of our technological culture, preferring to retain their practices. Yet, rights documents do not explicitly establish that any individual has a right to species integrity. Careful interpretation of rights documents nonetheless reveals that such a right to species integrity is implicit. Interpreting these so as to reveal this needed right is also necessary to retain the foundations of rights documents and institutions. Further, acknowledging a right of species integrity could mean, because of practicalities, a limit to the freedom of proponents to implement proposals to manipulate the species. (shrink)
Much discussion of decision-making processes in medicine has been patient-centred. It has been assumed that there is, most often, one patient. Less attention has been given to shared decision-making processes where two or more patients are involved. This article aims to contribute to this special area. What conditions need to be met if decision-making can be said to be shared? What is a shared decision-making process and what is a shared autonomous decision-making process? Why make the distinction? Examples are drawn (...) from the area of new reproductive medicine and clinical genetics. Possible gender-differences in shared decision-making are discussed. (shrink)
The assessment of nanotechnology applications such as nanocarrier-based targeted drug delivery has historically been based mostly on toxicological and safety aspects. The use of nanocarriers for TDD, a leading-edge nanomedical application, has received little study from the angle of experts’ perceptions and acceptability, which may be reflected in how TDD applications are developed. In recent years, numerous authors have maintained that TDD assessment should also take into account impacts on ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and social issues in order to lead (...) to socially responsible innovation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with French and Canadian researchers and research trainees with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and involved in research related to emerging technologies. The interviews focussed on scenarios presenting two types of TDD nanocarriers in two contexts of use. Content and inductive analyses of interviews showed how facets of perceived impacts such as health, environment, social cohabitation, economy, life and death, representations of the human being and nature, and technoscience were weighed in acceptability judgments. The analyses also revealed that contextual factors related to device, to use, and to user influenced the weighting assigned to perceived impacts and thus contributed to variability in interviewees’ judgments of acceptability. Giving consideration to researchers’ perspective could accompany first steps of implementation and development of nanomedicine by producing a first, but wide, picture of the acceptability of nanocarrier-based TDD. (shrink)
With increasing flexibility of technology and a shift towards competence being the core of competitive edge in worklife, the need for new organizational concepts or models which givejoint optimization across human and technological dimensions has been acknowledged in leading, innovative enterprises. National crossdisciplinary research based productivity programmes are appearing in several countries. Due to internationalization and the general shortcomings of bureaucratic organizational forms, regional networks of enterprises in cooperation with public R&D institutions seem to provide answers to needs of regions (...) to remain competitive. The paper discusses the possible role of social science in a multilevel, participative strategy for developing new, democratic and productive organizational forms in worklife. Aspects of national productivity programmes in Scandinavia, Germany and Australia are discussed in connection with the situation in Italy as analyzed through some recent research projects. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to show the way in which human cognitive system uses external prostheses. Currently developed technologies provide human beings with tools that change their way of functioning in the environment, their understanding and the perspective from which they perceive the world. Modifying systems of thoughts, reasoning and modes of operation non‑biological prostheses extend human cognitive system. A human being uses non‑biological interfaces for processing information from the external world.
Introducción. En la actualidad la relación de los niños con las tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones se inicia desde muy temprano, mediado por la figura de sus padres y contrario a los criterios de gran parte de la comunidad científica por sus potenciales efectos adversos. Objetivo. El estudio tuvo como objetivo identificar los criterios de los padres de la ciudad de Santa Clara sobre la utilidad y el riesgo del consumo de las tecnologías de la información y las (...) comunicaciones en niños menores de 3 años. Métodos. Se llevó a cabo un estudio descriptivo y transversal durante el período de junio de 2013 a julio de 2014. En el mismo fueron encuestados y entrevistados 167 padres de niños menores de 3 años de la ciudad de Santa Clara. La selección de la muestra se efectuó por el muestreo estratificado por racimos. El procesamiento de los datos se realizó mediante el SPSS versión 18.0. Resultados. Los principales resultados demostraron que los padres de niños menores de 3 años tienen una baja percepción de riesgo sobre las afectaciones que el consumo de estas tecnologías puede producir. Consideran, además, que dicho consumo facilita el cuidado del menor; en tanto permite atender otras labores domésticas, ofrece un tiempo libre y constituye una actividad segura. Conclusiones. Estos criterios de los padres favorecen el consumo excesivo de estas tecnologías y son el resultado de la escasa información recibida al respecto. Introduction. Currently, the relation of children with information and communication technologies starts at an early age, mediated by their parents and contrary to the criteria of great part of the scientific community, by its potential adverse effects. Objetive. The objective of this study was to identify the criteria of parents on the usefulness and risk of consumption of information and communication technologies in children under 3 years in the city of Santa Clara. Methods. A descriptive and transversal study was carried out from June 2013 to July 2014. A total of 167 parents of children under 3 years were surveyed and interviewed in Santa Clara city. A stratified cluster sampling was performed. Results. It was demonstrated that parents of children under 3 years had a low risk perception on the harm that can be produced by consuming these technologies. Also, they considered that this consumption facilitates the caring of the child, since it permits to fulfill other domestic duties, provides a free time and it is a safe activity. Conclusions. The criteria of parents favor the excessive consumption of these technologies and they are consequence of the scarce information received on this subject respecto. (shrink)
There is considerable uncertainty about the implications of the new genetics for health services. These are the enthusiasts who argue that molecular genetics will transform health care and others argue that the scope for genetic interventions is limited. The aim of this paper is to examine some of the questions, tensions and difficulties which face health care providers particularly in developed countries as they try to come to terms with the dilemmas raised by new genetic health care technologies (NGHTs). (...) It identifies questions for research which may help the development of robust and flexible strategies for implementation. (shrink)
Agricultural intensification and extensification are standard responses to ecological and economic vulnerability among smallholder communities. Climate change has exacerbated this vulnerability and thrown the complexity of and critical need for managing a healthy natural resource base while increasing on-farm productivity into sharp light. Sustainable intensification is one of many mechanisms for accomplishing this balancing act. This study examines the adoption of sustainable intensification practices, namely input packages focused on tef row planting—designed to boost yield and promote more efficient use of (...) inputs. This study utilized a mix methods approach to survey 115 smallholder farmers in the South Wollo zone of the Amhara region in Ethiopia. This study found that cash and capital, more so than contact with the AIS, influenced farmers’ decisions to adopt row planting input packages. Khat production was an important source of cash for inputs and was more likely to be available to farmers with irrigation schemes. Long-term, farmers who cultivate khat may not successfully engage in SI, as khat replaces traditional food crop production in the region. Yet, for farmers who do not grow khat, long-term investment in SI practices is unlikely unless access to affordable credit options is improved. (shrink)
What is the place of vulnerability in our lives? The current debate about the ethics of enhancement technologies provides a context in which to think about this question. In my view, the current debate is likely to be fruitless, largely because we bring the wrong ethical resources to bear on its questions. In this article, I recall an important, but currently neglected, role that moral concepts play in our thinking, a role they should especially play in relation to the (...) introduction of new technologies. I call this the ‘contemplative role of moral concepts’. I then contrast two approaches to the contemplative role of moral concepts which are found in the current literature, and show why it is important to keep in mind both of these approaches when thinking about human vulnerability. (shrink)
There are certain kinds of risk for which governments, rather than individual actors, are increasingly held responsible. This article discusses how regulatory institutions can ensure an equitable distribution of risk between various groups such as rich and poor, and present and future generations. It focuses on cases of risk associated with technological and biotechnological innovation. After discussing various possibilities and difficulties of distribution, this article proposes a non-welfarist understanding of risk as a burden of cooperation.
Critical intellectuals were traditionally those who utilized their skills of speaking and writing to denounce injustices and abuses of power, and to fight for truth, justice, progress, and other positive values. In the words of Jean-Paul Sartre (1974: 285), "the duty of the intellectual is to denounce injustice wherever it occurs." The modern critical intellectual's field of action was what Habermas (1989) called the public sphere of democratic debate, political dialogue, and the writing and discussion of newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and (...) books. Of course, not all intellectuals were critical or by any means progressive. With the rise of modern societies, there was a division between physical and mental labor, and intellectuals became those who specialized in mental labor, producing and distributing ideas and culture, with some opposing and some legitimating the established forms of society. (shrink)
Decisions on which new health technologies to provide are controversial because of the scarcity of healthcare resources, the competing demands of payers, providers and patients and the uncertainty of the evidence base. Given this, additional information about new health technologies is often considered valuable. One response is to make access to a new health technology conditional on further research. Access can be restricted to patients who participate in a research study, such as a randomised controlled trial; alternatively, a (...) new treatment can be made generally available, but only on condition that further evidence is collected (eg, on long-term outcomes and adverse events, in patient registries). The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance on which new health technologies to make available under the UK's NHS, for example, has made some research conditional recommendations, and the current interest in such options suggests that they are likely to become more prevalent in the future. This paper identifies and discusses the main ethical issues created by this distinctive range of recommendations. We argue that decisions to put research conditions on access to new technologies are compatible with widely accepted values, principles and practices relevant to resource allocation. However, there are important features of these distinctive judgements that must be taken into account by resource allocation decision-making bodies and research ethics committees, and that require new sorts of empirical data. (shrink)
New agrifood technologies are often difficult to grasp for the public, which may lead to resistance or even rejection. Insight into which technology features determine public acceptability of the technology could offer guidelines for responsible technology development. This paper systematically assesses the relative importance of specific technology features for consumer response in the agrifood domain in two consecutive studies. Prominent technology features were selected from expert judgment and literature. The effects of these features on consumer evaluation were tested in (...) a consumer study. Fictitious technologies were used to avoid any uncontrollable contextual influences that existing new technologies may evoke. Results show that technologies that were seen as more natural and newer were perceived less risky, more beneficial, and were evaluated more positively. Technologies applied to food were judged to be more beneficial, but also more risky than those applied to non-food. Technologies used in the production process were perceived to be less risky and evaluated more positively than those used in the product. Technologies owned by the market leader were perceived to be more beneficial, and evaluated more positively than those that were freely available. In a next study, effects of the technology features on consumer response were tested for existing new agrifood technologies. This study replicated the results for perceived naturalness, perceived newness, and place in the production process where the technology is applied. However, in contrast to the first study, we did not find an effect of application area and technology ownership. (shrink)