Implanting Technology: Smart Moves from an Engineer, Ethicist and Philosopher

Implanting Technology: Smart Moves from an Engineer, Ethicist and Philosopher
Event on 2013-01-29 12:00:00

Today, biology, nanoscience and information technologies are coming together with advances in cognitive science, miniaturisation and biocompatibility to give rise to new forms of miniature technologies.  The result is that devices that are carried or worn are shrinking and giving rise to devices that are implanted and 'smarter'.  As such, current medical technologies like artificial joints, cochlear implants, and heart valves are being joined by new technologies, such as automated insulin pumps, radio frequency identification implants, brain-computer interfaces, deep brain stimulators, and next generation implanted micro-monitors/transmitters.  These implanted smart technologies (ISTs) will be complex and value-challenging, and they have the potential to both augment and damage the health of the implantee.  While some issues raised by ISTs will not be new, others will be novel and profound.  Our speakers will explore this technology from the viewpoint of their respective disciplines, outlining what they see as the utopian and dystopian futures such technology promises….



Alan Murray is Professor of Neural Electronics and Dean of Students for Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He introduced the Pulse Stream method for analogue neural VLSI in 1985. Murray’s interests are now in (a) biologically-inspired computational forms (particularly in VLSI hardware), where noise and overt temporal behaviour are important, and (b) direct interaction between silicon and real neuronal cells and networks.

Murray is a Fellow of HEA, IET, IEEE and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has published over 300 academic papers.

Kenneth Boyd is Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics & Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow, Edinburgh University College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Honorary Vice-President of the Institute of Medical Ethics, Chair of the Boyd Group on the use of animals in science, and a member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel and other ethics committees. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics and author or editor of a number of books and papers on various aspects of medical ethics. 

Prof. dr. Tsjalling Swierstra studied philosophy and political science at the University of Amsterdam (both cum laude) and obtained his doctorate in Groningen in 1998 with a dissertation about the relationship between ethics, politics, science and technology. His main research interest is the way in which ethical and political beliefs influence scientific and technological research, and – vice versa – how science and technology change our (moral) values, philosophies and political beliefs. How to analyse, evaluate and anticipate this dynamic interaction between science and technology on the one hand, and ethics and politics on the other? And how to make this kind of anticipatory knowledge available technologists, policy makers, and the larger audience?

at McEwan Hall Reception Room
Teviot Place
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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