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Vita-More, Natasha. Managing the Consequences of Rapid Technological Change

 

 Managing the Consequences of

Rapid Technological Change

 

   The world is facing a major turning point in how its many societies, ethnic traditions, ideological viewpoints, and philosophical and religious beliefs are reacting to the continued rapid advancement of technological change.

 

   Citizens of the world are no longer isolated, as the “open source” movement has extended beyond Linux into the global networking community and broken through the haze of national boundaries.  Interconnected economic interests act as the synthesis for international cooperation. Corporations are concerned with ethics, and human rights are more the standard than ever. We are all turning together as we face one of the most immediate issues that will affect the future of humanity—the technological advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence (“BNA technologies”).

 

   Over the past century, society has quickly adapted to the momentous hi-tech trends. Nonetheless, BNA technologies are occurring so rapidly that society is often perplexed, distressed, and even reticent about accepting the increasing pace of change. The inability to cope with rapid technological change is crippling society’s ability to rationally determine potentially beneficial outcomes from potentially detrimental outcomes.  Without critically examining of the pros and cons of technological advancements, we cannot manage the consequences of rapid technological change.

 

   The global turning point is how society and its governing bodies decide to pursue in-depth examination of the potential for positive outcomes of BNA technologies.  Because this decision affects all of us, it must be based on an objective, evenhanded standard for measuring the pros and cons of these innovative technologies. Such a standard would assist society in coping with concerns and fears. Rather than relying on biased methods for examining issues relating to BNA technologies, an objective model would establish guidelines and legislation.  Such a model is The Proactionary Principle, a carefully written doctrine for addressing and assessing the pros and cons of the rapid changes resulting from the use of the BNA technologies and which is described later in this essay.

 

   Nearly every nation in the world is dependent on innovative technology.  For the most part, global society is progressive and welcomes the novelty of up-to-date technological invention to rev-up productivity and simplify and speed up daily chores. Proponents of technological research report that society is dependent on technology and welcomes its novelty, favoring the advancements and benefits that technology provides. The favored view of progressives and the global research community is that BNA technologies have the potential to cure disease and physical and mental handicaps, facilitate enhanced cost-effective and pollution-free transportation and communication mechanisms, and develop smart intelligences to aid humanity in our ability to explore scientific realms in learning about our world and universe. 

 

   The segment of society recognized as most adverse to rapid technological change and the BNA technologies are the conservatives, encompassing religious traditionalists, political conservatives, and anti-technology environmentalists, such as Foundation for Economic Trends and Greenpeace.  The conservative reasoning is that society should not tamper with our natural biology, beyond curing disease, for moral reasons; and that run-away and cross-fertilizing technologies could be dangerous and life-threatening to humanity. Conservatives believe society should be concerned, conflicted, and even fearful about potentially dangerous outcomes resulting from the continued development and use of BNA technologies, which offer too much innovation and too much change.

 

   Between the progressives and the conservatives, the success rate for achieving authority and control over decision making in dealing with BNA technologies, including what ethical code to employ and what actions to take, is at a stalemate.  Both groups are unable to reach a shared level of understanding, compromise and strategy. Faced with this dilemma, society continues to try to find ways to cope with the effects of rapid technological change.  

 

  There has been an increase in the number of conferences, workshops, webcasts and podcasts about change management and scenario planning.  Authors keep turning out books on how to manage change for corporations and the individual. Yet, for all helping aids for business executives, management and for the public, we still can not handle change.  If we could, then conservatives and progressives would already be getting together and pursuing an evenhanded plan of action. 

 

   Meanwhile, world continues to advance in a fundamental state of business as usual as society continues to cope with and manage change.   Biotechnology researchers continue to sequence the genome of threatening agents, explore gene therapy to eliminate gene cell malfunctions, as geneticists locate gene mutations that increase risk of sight loss in old age.  Nanotechnologists continue to explore new derivates for nanotechnology such as nanorobotics, nanoscale photonics, nanothermal spray, carbon nanotubes, and nanowax, making nanotechnology a change enabler that continues to grow.  Programmers continue to build artificial intelligence into entertaining products such as game design where techniques such as finite state machines, fuzzy logic, neural networks, and genetic algorithms are developed.

 

   As the BNA technologies develop, organizations concerned with ethics and society are struggling for national and international leadership.  For example, the Council on Bioethics, under the direction of President Bush, developed the Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, which mission is to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology.  While this could be used as an unbiased and reasonable approach to understanding rapid technological change, it fails miserably.  The report’s bias places the full burden of proof on technology and innovation.

 

   Opposed to the report and its bias are a number of progressive organizations which support and encourage the continued reasonable growth of the BNA technological industry.  Organizations such as The Center for Economic Growth looks at regional economic and business development to develop and promote efforts to attract high-tech talent and companies and to provide innovative services.  Extropy Institute acts as a networking and information center for those seeking to improve the future by using technology to extend healthy life, augment intelligence, optimize psychology, and improve social systems. Universities such as Stanford University encourage curricula to educate students about developments in nanotechnology and have a stake in its future. The Stanford Center for Professional Development states, “The convergence of nanoscience, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science creates tremendous opportunities for the improvement of industrial productivity and quality of human life. Stanford University is at the forefront in multidisciplinary research and innovation in nanoscience and nanotechnology.”  The potential opportunities of BNA technologies mean that we are all long-term stakeholders in its development and promise.

 

   Long-term stakeholders are also short term stakeholders.  People change their preferences and attitudes over time, from high emotions of zealousness to dismay and angst, and back again to a state of confidence once a technology has been proven acceptable.  As society adapts to change, society begins accepting what at first seemed unnatural and even uncomfortable as a natural and essential part of daily life.  The technological level of stakeholders over the long-term will be affected by the availability of materials, and application and laws governing the uses of their innovations.  The economy is a major player in the global level of long-term affects of rapid technological change because it will either adapt to change by investment building new technologies, or it will be burdened by the expenses of over manufacturing of the new technologies and risk of nanopollution and unpredictable genetic mutations. 

 

   If the BNA technologies contain or emit by-products that are hazardous to society, then the environmental consequences could be drastic.  However, an aspect of the new cycle of technologies is to build cost-effective, non-hazardous by-products and recyability and sustainability in the technological products.  Economics plays a vital role in the long-term because the market for and need of new hi-tech products will determine in large part, the speed at which technology is manufactured and also the extremes of new technologies.  Lastly, the political environment will be looking for stricter and more surveilling ways to control the application and use of potentially dangerous technologies and develop policies, rules and laws which they will expect their individual nations and the entire world to subscribe to. The results of extreme legislation could cause political unrest and damage to the economic thresholds; while lazy legislation could be an ill-fate of all humanity.

 

   For example, one township could develop technological products that affect neighboring townships, increasing dangerous side effects exponentially.  Likewise, biotechnology can be used to eradicate disease causing pathogens, but it also could affect its community of molecular cells and infect them with contaminants.  Those affected by the issues of rapid technological change are the many global societies, organizations developed to help people cope with change, the industry of technology, and the ethical organizational policy makers and governing legislation.

 

   In sum, humanity is a long-term stakeholder in the consequences of rapid technological change. Interdisciplinarian Francis Heylighen stated that “The most important characteristic of our present society may well be the incredible speed with which it changes. Whether things evolve in a positive or in a negative way, change itself constitutes a problem.” Author and futurologist Alvin Toffler made a comprehensive study of the acceleration of change and its psychological effects.  His conclusion was that change often leads to severe physical and mental disturbances, the "future shock" syndrome.  If a plan is not established to help people cope with the consequences caused by rapid technological change, Toffler’s vision might come true.

 

   Progressives who support the continued acceleration of technological change are often accused of  pushing too quickly, partly due to pressure from investors, timeliness of patents and legislation, and also because there is a market for such innovations.  Conservatives who oppose technological advancement are requesting that everyone put on the breaks, partly in reaction to the in-your-face marketing campaign against BNA technologies, as evidence by the Turning Point Project of 1999, formed “to design and produce a series of educational advertisements concerning the major issues of the new millennium.”  

 

   According to Reason Magazine journalist Ronald Bailey, “[I]t is no surprise that opponents of technological progress often want decisions about new technologies to be made in political arenas. Opponents of a given new technology believe that they will have more luck by lobbying their local congressperson or members of Parliament to vote to prohibit its development. The European Union's effort to slow the introduction of genetically enhanced crops is a contemporary example of this process at work.”

 

   The current condition is that an “autocatalytic” sentiment is growing from the frenzy of media and press around BNA technologies.  Many people may not have realized the rate of acceleration and that they are in the midst of change, but they cannot avoid it when confronted with it by media-savvy conservatives such as Jeremy Rifkin and Leon Kass. 

 

      Since biotech and nanotech are self-accelerating, as is AI, these three autocatalytic technologies are now loose in the environment at the same time and perpetually redefining the definition of what is possible with computing power, with human life, and with building materials. To add a dramatic side effect, the BNA technologies are cross-fertilizing while they accelerate each other—causing hyperacceleration.

 

   There is a logical reason why society is concerned about BNA technologies.  History has shown that technology has two sides, and the dark side is terribly frightening.  People remember the H-bomb; the aftereffects of Cybernobyl, the filthy smog smothering the world’s major cities; and the 20th Century scare from Monsanto’s genetically modified food—all caused by the industrialized world’s inability to control the hazards and the toxic by-products of technology.  These ill-effects often overshadow the positive side of technology—air travel, space exploration, heart transplants, hip implants, brain surgery, engineered skin, and so much more.

 

   The experience of modern technology is an experience of change, and in this experience, the familiar may be lost or altered forever.  But it is not lost forever, it evolves.  During the evolution, there has not been a need for a managing mechanism.  The world only recently became interconnected and “global”.  It stands to reason that over the years, there has not been a central principle for measuring how much, how often and when new technologies can and should be released into the environment.  Up until recently, whichever person or organization held the biggest stick was usually able to convince governing bodies, the news media, and therefore society.

 

    We can be fairly certain that there are a number of constants that we will witness, however cyclic.  Technological change will continue accelerating; the outcomes of building, consuming and using new technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will either have positive results benefiting society and/or negative results harming society; these technologies are cross-fertilizing at an accelerated rate and, at the same time, forming new possibilities and potential concern; there are two leading opposing groups: the progressives who encourage the continued rapid technological change and the conservatives who oppose technological change desiring to halt and even reverse the changes brought about by new technologies; and people will rely on those with knowledge and power to determine how much and how often new technologies will be developed, consumed and used by the world.

 

   The cycles of technology hinge on discontinuities and the emergence of dominant design. Controversial topics such as self-replicating nanotechnology, nanomedicine, genetic engineering, therapeutic stem cell cloning and super computing intelligences have separately and together caused a rise in the global social temperature.  These innovative technologies are examples of discontinuities that have erupted social unrest, resulting in the development of desperate social groups and legislation.  For example, many countries are attempting to regulate stem cell cloning.  Canadian Parliament passed legislation permitting research on stem cells from embryos under specific conditions. In 1998 the Commission of the European Convention in Paris ratified a Protocol regarding human cloning signed by the leaders of 24 countries.  Germany refused to sign it because it did not ban all research on human embryos.  No legal framework exists to prohibit human cloning under current Greek Law. In the Greek legal system, no statute exists against cloning of human beings. Cloning prohibitions are also not strong in Asia. Although Japan enacted a law that bans human reproductive cloning and penalizes violators for up to ten years in prison, stem cell research is allowed. Other Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, and South Korea, also allow experimentation with stem cell research. In Bangladesh still cloning prohibition law is absent. Legislators should take proper steps to provide guidance regarding the human cloning. In the United States, Rhode Island law does not prohibit cloning for research and California and New Jersey human cloning laws specifically permit cloning for the purpose of research.

 

   Technology can be competence destroying—people are left with not knowing what to do with their traditional mind-set.  Another variable in cycles is the level of social confidence which rise and decline based on the cyclic pattern of technological innovation.  For example, when a new technology is first released, people are either excited or daunted.  Those who understand the technology quickly form cliques and develop new terms and slang to establish their subculture.  For those who are not so adept at adapting quickly to technological change, feelings of being left out prevail, and even feelings of not being and even unintelligent occur.  This variable can add to the time lapse in society’s adapting to new technologies. When there is a gap in the understanding and acceptance of a trend, adverse actions to counter the trend can evolve.  We see this happening with nanotechnology and biotechnology within the conservative culture which is reacting to headways developed from technological advocates.   Steven Spielberg produced a film titled “AI” and later “Robots” which suggested adverse social feelings toward accelerating machine technologies. 

 

   The result of adverse social feelings and explosive advances forms curves and cycles which develop slowly at first and accelerates with a dominant design, and then slows again as efforts shift to new technologies.  An example of the S-curve exemplifying rapid technological change of BNA technologies would contain the number of patients over time, the growth of technological innovations, the number of patents, and the increase in social acceptance of new technologies. 

 

   Rapid technological change in technologies that invades and eventually overwhelms the establish technology accepted by society as the norm.  For biotechnology, the rise of the curve was slow in the 1990s, and speeded up when DNS was unraveled.  It slowed down thereafter when scientist realized that new research would take years to accomplish in learning about and identifying proteins.  Yet, social interest has developed due to the potential for genetics to cure disease; while at the same time, interest has heated up due to the threat of genetic engineering.  For this domain, the most appropriate S-Curve would be society’s ability to adapt to the potential changes resulting from biotechnology and the level of angst and rise in anti-biotechnology legislation. 

 

   Quantities or changes that move incrementally in a specific direction over a long period of time exemplify an increase in the number of organizations that are developing to promise an ethical viewpoint as well as business strategy for addressing the pending social conflicts that have emerged from the issues around BNA technologies.  In the 1990s, there were a few organizations that were forward thinking in writing about and producing conferences on rapid technological trends.  Today these organizations, business and educational sources are saturating the environment both locally and globally.

 

   Trends affecting managing the consequences of rapid technological are becoming more visible. Conservatives are pressing a call for morality and a back to Christianity movement and a strong religious voice in politics, potentially causing an ideological realignment in American politics.  Our children’s’ primary and secondary schools are placing religion and morality first and literacy second. As this is going on, the trend toward increased research and development, university programs, conference and business growth in BNA technologies is increasing.  There is no question that either thing will continue to simmer or reach a boiling point sometime within the next decade.  Since we can alter the course of our future, it seems apropos to start a trend.

           

   A trend toward evenhanded measuring the pros and cons of the BNA technologies would be a well-received direction for society. Such a standard would help us cope with our concerns rather than depending on partial methods for examining. The Proactionary Principle, authored by Max More, reflects such a standard. “Understanding that we need to develop and deploy new technologies to feed billions more people over the coming decades, to counter natural threats from pathogens to environmental changes, and to alleviate human suffering from disease, damage, and the ravages of aging, those involved in the VP Summit recognized two things: The importance of critically analyzing the precautionary principle, and the formation of an alternative, more sophisticated principle that incorporates more extensive and accurate assessment of options while protecting our fundamental responsibility and liberty to experiment and innovate.”

 

The Proactionary Principle states, “People’s freedom to innovate technologically is highly valuable, even critical, to humanity. This implies several imperatives when restrictive measures are proposed: Assess risks and opportunities according to available science, not popular perception. Account for both the costs of the restrictions themselves, and those of opportunities foregone. Favor measures that are proportionate to the probability and magnitude of impacts, and that have a high expectation value. Protect people’s freedom to experiment, innovate, and progress.”

 

   Managing the consequences of rapid technological change calls for an ardent look at the expected future and baseline forecasts. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, made a disturbing claim about the future. "Major anti-technology movements will be active in the U.S. and elsewhere by 2030," he predicted.  Unfortunately, Collins is off by three decades.

 

      But not all is as it is expected to be! There are alternative futures resulting from unforeseen events.  What if there was a global moratorium on BNA technologies?  What if Iran, Iraq and Egypt formed a coalition for an alternative energy source, maintaining their frontline position as world’s fuel barons? Or there were run-away nanotechnological assemblers causing severe damage to the world’s economy? Or the world’s core nations employing the Proactionary Principle as the fundamental principle for measuring pros and cons of technological change. Or the Catholic Church approving of genetic engineering to improve the human life.  Stranger things have happened.

 

   Yet, there are issues, dilemmas and choices to deal with to foster the type of future that we would like to see realized. Issues that are currently being discussed by the U.S. Council of Bioethics on the one hand and any number of progressive transhumanist organizations on the other.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Council of Bioethics has the President’s ear, as well as most legislative activists.   What we need are the ideas, perspectives and proposals of people who present new or insightful ideas about the structure which determines our future and the types and rates of change which will help society to understand technological change.

 

   It is uncertain whether or not technological scope of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, will succeed in achieving the desired goal of extending the human lifespan past 125 years, cleaning up the environment, and enhancing human intelligence to equal or surpass the pending superintelligence of computers, as suggested by the Singularity.  If the truth be known, we can change our circumstances at any given moment.  If we can do this, then we can script a future that represents the most important and different plausible alternative futures that result from the uncertainties, including major differences from the present, the value of key quantities, and implications for stakeholders.  If humanity is the major stakeholder, then we better get busy at getting involved in how the world is going to manage rapid technological change.

 

   There is a way for humanity to develop managing skills and that is through an objective yet positive method for measuring the pros and cons of the BNA technologies.  If The Proactionary Principle is used as a balanced measure, society could develop the awareness and knowledge to determine if their angst and fears are justified.  And, if so, guidelines would be developed as a safeguard.  If their angst and fears are not justified, then the building emotional pressure would be released and social confidence would ensue.

 

   In doing so, I have outlined the experts, texts, periodicals, websites and organizations who are vital stakeholders in our future.

 

 

Experts.

 

  Robert A. Freitas, Jr. J.D.  Dr. Freitas published the first detailed technical design study of a medical nanorobot ever published in a peer-reviewed mainstream biomedical journal and is the author of Nanomedicine, the first book-length technical discussion of the medical applications of nanotechnology and medical nanorobotics.

 

   Prof. Francis Fukuyama, American political economist and author. Prof. Fukuyama is currently Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Prof. Fukuyama is the author of Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. In the latter, he qualifies his original "end of history" thesis, arguing that since biotechnology increasingly allows humans to control their own evolution, it may allow humans to become fundamentally unequal, and thus spell the end of liberal democracy as a workable system.

 

   Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, Department of Genetics.  Dr. De Gray is a member of International Association of Biomedical Gerontology (Board of Directors), British Society for Research on Ageing, American Aging Association (Board of Directors), Gerontological Society of America (Fellow)

 

   Bill Joy, Chief Scientist and Corporate Executive Officer of Sun Microsystems.  Bill received a B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1975, after which he attended graduate school at U.C. Berkeley where he was the principal designer of Berkeley UNIX (BSD) and received a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In 1997, Joy was appointed by President Clinton as Co-Chairman of the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee.

 

   Leon R. Kass, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman Addie Clark Harding Professor, The College and the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago. Hertog Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.  Author of several books, including, Toward A More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs.  He has also taken periodic government positions, most recently as chair of the President's Council on Bioethics.

 

   Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies. Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office, in 2002, and received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the nation’s largest award in invention and innovation. He also received the 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony.

 

   Bill McGibbin, former staff writer for The New Yorker. Author of many outstanding books, including the outspoken Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McGibbin is an environmentalist who writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering.

 

   Dr. Max More, Ph.D., strategic philosopher and Director of Content Solutions at ManyWorlds, Inc. Dr. More is the author of the formalized “Proactionary Principle” which was the topic of the VP Summit 2004.  More writes and lectures on the future...

 

   Dr. Gregory Stock, Director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at UCLA’s School of Public Health. In this role he explores critical technologies poised to have large impacts on humanity’s future and the shape of medical science. His goal has been to bring about a broad public debate on these technologies and their implications, leading to wise public policies surrounding their realization.

 

   Natasha Vita-More, cultural Strategist. Producer/Host “TransCentury/Transhuman Update”, designer of “Primo Posthuman,” and author of Create/Recreate: The 3rd Millennial Culture, President of Extropy Institute, and activist for superlongevity and a pioneer of transhumanism.

 

   Texts.

 

   The Artilect War: Cosmists Vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines, ETC Publications, 2005.

 

   Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, Dr. Leon Kass.  Regan Books, 2003. “Almost every week brings news of novel methods for screening genes and testing embryos, choosing the sex and modifying the behavior of children, enhancing athletic performance, slowing aging, blunting painful memories, brightening mood, and altering basic temperaments. But we must not neglect the fundamental question: Should we be turning to biotechnology to fulfill our deepest human desires? … In connection with its advisory role, the mission of the Council includes the following functions: To undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology. To explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these developments. To provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues. To facilitate a greater understanding of bioethical issues.”

 

   Declaration of Helsinki — 1964. The Declaration of Helsinki is a statement of ethical principles intended to guide biomedical research involving human subjects. Created by the World Medical Association in 1964, the Declaration has been updated multiple times.

 

   Emerging Risks in the 21st Century: An Agenda for Action.  OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Publisher: OECD - Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003.  “Focuses on five large-scale systemic risks: natural disasters, infectious diseases, industrial accidents, terrorism, and food safety. A framework for a systemic response involves a new policy approach to risk management, developing a safety culture, better international cooperation, and making better use of technology to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience.”

 

   Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, Bill McKibbin. Owl Books, 2004. “Reporting from the frontiers of genetic research, nanotechnology and robotics, he explores that subtle moral and spiritual boundary that he calls the "enough point." Presenting an overview of what is or may soon be possible, McKibben contends that there is no boundary to human ambition or desire or to what our very inventions may make possible. In an absorbing and horrifying montage of images, he depicts microscopic nanobots consuming the world and children born so genetically enhanced that they will never be able to believe that they reach for the stars as pianists or painters or long-distance runners because there is something unique in them that has a passion to try. Indeed, in the view of the most unbridled "technoutopians," the day of the robotically striving human is already here. What does set a human being apart from other beings, McKibben argues, is our capacity for restraint-and even for finding great meaning in restraint. "We need to do an unlikely thing: We need to survey the world we now inhabit and proclaim it good. Good enough." McKibben presents an uncompromising view, and an essential view.”

 

   Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects, written by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), 2003. These are the latest ethical guidelines intended to help countries develop policies on biomedical research involving human subjects.

 

Our Posthuman Future, Francis Fukuyama. Picador; 1st Picado edition, 2003. “The most obvious way that might happen is through the achievement of genetically engineered "designer babies," but he presents other, imminent routes as well: research on the genetic basis of behavior; neuropharmacology, which has already begun to reshape human behavior through drugs like Prozac and Ritalin; and the prolongation of life, to the extent that society might come "to resemble a giant nursing home." Fukuyama then draws on Aristotle and the concept of "natural right" to argue against unfettered development of biotechnology.”

 

   Precautionary PrincipleThe Precautionary Principle in Action: A Handbook First Edition, written for the Science and Environmental Health Network by Joel Tickner, Carolyn Raffensperger and Nancy Myers

 

   Proactionary Principle.  Max More, Ph.D. Concept created during Extropy Institute for VP Summit 2004. Max More. “People’s freedom to innovate technologically is highly valuable, even critical, to humanity. This implies several imperatives when restrictive measures are proposed: Assess risks and opportunities according to available science, not popular perception. Account for both the costs of the restrictions themselves, and those of opportunities foregone. Favor measures that are proportionate to the probability and magnitude of impacts, and that have a high expectation value. Protect people’s freedom to experiment, innovate, and progress.”

 

   The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects Research. The Belmont Report, published in 1979.  Summarizes the ethical principles that became the basis of federal regulations protecting the rights of human subjects in biomedical research in the United States The report emphasized three principles—respect for persons, beneficence, and justice—that effectively extend the notion of “do no harm” to “do good.” The principles are part of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 46.

 

   The Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath, written circa 400 BCE, communicates the message that physicians should, above all, “do no harm.” This phrase does not actually appear in the oath but may come from another of Hippocrates writings, Of the Epidemics. Many medical schools administer a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath to their graduating students. This version was written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, who was Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University in Boston.

 

   The Nuremberg Code. The Nuremberg Code was written in 1947 as part of the legal judgment against 23 Nazi physicians convicted of crimes against humanity for the gruesome experiments they conducted on concentration camp prisoners. The trial took place at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. The Code has been a model for statements about the ethical treatment of human subjects in biomedical research.

 

Periodicals.    

 

   Atlantic Monthly

   Global Information Technology Report

   MIT Technolohy Review

   Scientific American

   The Economist - Technology Quarterly.  .

   The New Atlantis - A Journal of Technology and Society

   Wired

   Wise Nano

 

Websites.

 

   American Association for Artificial Intelligence. A nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. AAAI also aims to increase public understanding of artificial intelligence, improve the teaching and training of AI practitioners, and provide guidance for research planners and funders concerning the importance and potential of current AI developments and future directions. http://www.aaai.org/

 

   Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.  CRN acts to raise awareness of the issues. We believe that even a technology as powerful as molecular manufacturing can be used wisely and well—but that without adequate information, unwise use will be far too common. The mission of CRN is to raise awareness of the issues presented by nanotechnology: the benefits and dangers, and the possibilities for responsible use.

http://www.crnano.org/

 

   Council for Responsible Genetics.  The Council for Responsible Genetics and GeneWatch turn twenty in 2003, a good time for reflection on where we have come from and where we should be headed. In the late 1970s, scientists, environmentalists, public health and labor activists and other concerned citizens came together in response to unprecedented developments in genetics and biotechnology to form the Coalition for Responsible Genetics Research and the Coalition for the Reproductive Rights of Workers.

http://www.gene-watch.org/genewatch/articles/16-2hubbard_krimsky.html

  

      Extropy Institute.  ExI's approach is to design strategies and solutions for the future that affect people worldwide.  Extropy Institute is a networking organization which advocates the Proactionary Principle in addressing social issues. ExI is moving forward in designing the means for resolving technological and cultural issues of transhumanity. Extropy Institute does not support any one political agenda. http://www.extropy.org

  

      Genomics News Network.  “Genomics is News. It is often hyped. It can be difficult to understand. Sometimes it raises more questions than it can yet answer. But its importance to biology and medicine cannot be overstated; nor can the importance of good journalistic coverage of this dynamic new area of science. … [GNN] produces a lively and trusted online magazine that covers important developments in genomics research around the world. Our news coverage focuses on stories about genomics and human medicine, as well as the ways in which scientists are using genomics  to  find  biological  solutions  to energy needs  and

environmental problems.”   http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/  

 

   World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world. The Forum provides a collaborative framework for the world's leaders to address global issues, engaging particularly its corporate members in global citizenship. http://www.weforum.org/

  

Organizations.

 

   American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.  is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.  http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/

 

   Cato Institute.  The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government. http://www.cato.org/

           

   Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.  The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology is a non-profit think tank concerned with the major societal and environmental implications of advanced nanotechnology. CRN promotes public awareness and education, and the crafting of effective policy to maximize benefits and reduce dangers. We engage individuals and groups to better understand the implications of molecular manufacturing and to focus on the real risks and benefits of the technology. Our goal is the creation and implementation of wise, comprehensive, and balanced plans for global management of this transformative technology.  http://www.crnano.org/about_us.htm

 

   Extropy Institute.  Extropy Institute is a multidisciplinary networking and educational non-profit organization. ExI focuses on the pace of change — technological, cultural, and economic — continues to accelerate. Uncertainty has become endemic, with historical certainties now being challenged — including the biological conditions of human beings and our social structures. Known to be the groundbreaking transhumanist organization, ExI introduced innovative technologies and how they would change the world.  ExI supports the Proactionary Principle for addressing human rights on a global scale.

 

   Foresight Institute.  Foresight Institute's goal is to guide emerging technologies to improve the human condition. Foresight focuses its efforts upon nanotechnology, the coming ability to build products—of any size—with atomic precision. http://www.foresight.org

 

   Foundation for Economic Trends.  The Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET) was established in 1977 and is based in Washington D.C.  We have been active in both national and international public policy issues, particularly around the environment, the economy, and biotechnology.  FOET examines new trends in science and technology and their impacts on the environment, the economy, culture and society.  We engage in litigation, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing activities to advance our goals.  http://www.foet.org/

 

   Stanford University.  The convergence of nanoscience, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science creates tremendous opportunities for the improvement of industrial productivity and quality of human life. Stanford University is at the forefront in multidisciplinary research and innovation in nanoscience and nanotechnology.  Stanford offers graduate courses in Bioengineering and Biodesign and Biomedical Genomics and certificates in Nanoscale Materials Science.

 

   The European Federation of Biotechnology. Established by European scientists in 1978. The objective of EFB is to promote safe and ethically acceptable biotechnology for the better use of Nature's resources. EFB also wishes to expand collaborations between academic and industrial researchers throughout Europe to increase competencies, strengthen education, promote innovation and increase the benefits of biotechnological research to society at large. Every second year, EFB holds a European Congress on Biotechnology, which typically attracts more than a thousand people.

http://www.efbweb.org/who/organi.htm

 

   World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is an independent, international organization incorporated as a Swiss not-for-profit foundation. We are striving towards a world-class corporate governance system where values are as important a basis as rules. Our motto is ‘entrepreneurship in the global public interest.’  We believe that economic progress without social development is not sustainable, while social development without economic progress is not feasible.

http://www.weforum.org/site/homepublic.nsf/Content/Global+Competitiveness+Programme%5CGlobal+Information+Technology+Report