Nearly 50 years ago, a group of the world’s leading scientists — a generation that grew up in the shadow of the atomic bomb — came together to discuss the ethics and safety of the promising new field of genetic engineering, when little was known about its potential hazards. Ever since, scientists, scholars and policymakers have questioned whether future decisions about promising, but potentially hazardous, research are best conducted by experts behind closed doors or by using a more collaborative mechanism with meaningful public input or oversight.
Today we are faced with provocative questions about a new generation of genetic tools (including CRISPR) that promise to transform our health, our bodies, and our world. There are also novel challenges about machine-learning, computer technologies, the uses of data and surveillance, and an ever-intensifying climate crisis. Despite changes in technology and circumstances, these questions remain the same:
- What does scientific research, technological development, and public interest and governance look like in these brave new worlds?
- How can thinking about the past help us navigate our difficult present toward the futures we seek?
- Most importantly: Who decides?
During this two-day conference, we will explore these themes through a series of lively interventions and debates by scientists, scholars, and artists.
This event is sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for Health and Biosciences and the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program. It is cosponsored by Rice University’s Scientia Institute De Lange Conference and Luis Campos, Baker College Associate Professor for History of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Faculty Scholar, Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Further Information and Registration
For further information about the event and to register, click here.