ICTethics performs an integrated ESLA analysis of identified strategic ICT developments that have the potential to revolutionise private, occupational and public lives. The results of the study will be translated into a targeted feedback to all stakeholders involved, to the public at large and to general innovation and e-inclusion policy.
Recent: Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations (Lancaster University)
Novel Neurotechnologies: Intervening in the Brain (Cesagen's response to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics consultation on neurotechnology)
Contract No: FP7-230368
Programme: FP7 Capacities
Science in Society
Ethics and new and emerging fields of science and technology
EU Grant: 942.540 €
The official ICTethics website.
Challenges engendered by new and emerging ICTs
Among key challenges is the fact that many legislations and directives are obsolete and unable to keep pace with the implications of new ICT developments. To further explore the challenges, the ICT ethics partners are devoted to strategic networking and communication. These activities support the development of four interconnected research lines, each focusing on specific flagship developments:
1) Intelligent environments
Focus area: Personal health systems
2) Convergence of physical, mental and virtual
Focus area: Assistive robotics and "smart" implants
3) Internet of things
Focus area: Radio-frequency identification (RFID)
4) ICT for human security
Focus area: Biometric identification
Cesagen's flagship development on assistive robotics and "smart" implants
In a recent EC policy perspective on European robots, future robots are described as "smarter, safer, and more sensitive". They will be more-than-machines, for example, companions and efficient helpers. Similarly, the 2009 Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for European robotics, titled Robotic Visions, argues that "[w]ith increased flexibility and ease of use, robots are at the dawn of a new era, turning them into ubiquitous helpers to improve our quality of life by delivering efficient services in our homes, offices, and public places." The SRA document states that 6.5 million robots were in operation worldwide in 2007, and it predicts that 18 million will populate the world in 2011.
The 2010 UK (BIS) foresight document on Technology and Innovation Futures also teaches us that, "[o]ver the next decade, the convergence of information technology, nanoscale engineering, biotechnology and neuroscience is likely to lead to highly sophisticated bio-interfaces" (Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre, 2010 - Annex: 136). This document is one among many (e.g. UK MoD Strategic Trends Programme), predicting a proliferation in direct brain-computer interfaces, neural prosthesis, and hybrid computers using technology and organic tissue. The perceived opportunities are e.g. hands-free computing and communication, greatly improved understanding of brain functions, and physical/cognitive enhancement.
Members of the Cesagen team
International Forum for Biophilosophy, Belgium (coordinator)
Cesagen - Lancaster University, United Kingdom
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso-Issoco, Italy