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Jeff Ubois

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by Redazione FGB [1], 15 November 2006

Over the next few months, I'll be exploring issues related to responsibility in innovation by exploring technologies with significant but not always obvious societal implications through a series of interviews with noted inventors, practitioners, ethicists, academics, and thought leaders in the fields of genetics, nanotech, climate change, and surveillance technologies.

In the interviews so far (with Ignacio Chapela, Arthur Caplan, David Magnus, Mildred Cho, Christine Peterson, Lawrence Gasman) issues such as pre-natal genetic testing and sex selection, the release of genetically modified organisms,and the use of nanotechnology for human enhancement have been discussed, all with an eye towards developing new approaches to enabling greater responsibility in innovation.

Just from this small sample, a number of common themes are beginning to emerge. Among them:

- the need for interdisciplinary dialog to mitigate negative effects of specialization
- the difficulty of seeing consequences in prospect
- the inadequacy of current institutional responses, and the problems with institutional review boards
- the need for improved public dialog, and potential of entertainment media as a forum for dramatizing complex issues
- suggested changes to the funding priorities of large institutions

The interviews posted here are long form, but will serve as a the basis for a paper next year summarizing the most promising, provocative, and practical approaches to responsibility in innovation.

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Jeff Ubois

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