I doubt even one person out of the 130+ attendees of yesterday’s CSID panel discussion walked away without being intellectually stimulated (or even enhanced). The debate, which turned heated at times, regarded humanity’s best response to the accelerated development of biotechnology, information and communications technology, applied cognitive science, nanotechnology, and robotics.
Steve Fuller, author of Humanity 2.0, argued that collective resistance to the increasing interface between human beings and technology is going to accelerate along with the technology. He, by-and-large, ethically endorses this resistance. A pertinent question was raised regarding the co-opting of institutions of political liberalism by transnational corporations determined t0 accelerate technological development. Such control seems to render collective action difficult to envision at this point (to me, at least), especially through institutional levers.
Daniel Sarewitz and Braden Allenby, authors of The Techno-Human Condition, argued that ever accelerating technological development is inevitable. As resistance is futile, we ought to concentrate on the best policy responses to this given. Two points raised regarding this position included a questioning of the “we” benefiting from this technological development, as well as the critique that runaway technological development could lead to ecological collapse. It might be hubristic to assume that humanity can engineer its way out of that danger.
All in all: a great discussion.