What are the ethical challenges raised by the new and emerging technologies? How will these technologies affect the way we perceive ourselves and the society at large? Can we establish a common ground for evaluating the moral implications of any new or emerging technology? Should we be more cautious or should we let the chance take its course when we develop a new technology? In a world more and more concerned with the risks of its developments, these questions come to open the public debate on the need for ethical evaluation in technology research, development and implementation.
The 4th edition of the Bucharest Conference in Applied Ethics will provide the platform to make this debate as rich as possible for both specialists and the public. Our aim is to bridge the academic sector with the economic and research sectors and discover the ways ethical evaluation can lead to smoother acceptance of those technologies that best respond to our common ethical concerns.
The BCAE 2011 is being organized by a consortium of organizations with Smart Solutions & Support, Romania, and the Research Centre in Applied Ethics of the University of Bucharest as coordinators. Among our partners are the National Commission of Romania for UNESCO and Victor Babeş National Institute of Pathology Bucharest (Romania).
The 2011 edition will be dedicated to ethical explorations in borderline fields regarding new and emerging technologies, with a particular focus on ethical evaluation and the new democratic societies. Five directions of interest have been set up. Each direction is circumscribed by subsequent topics that might guide the specialists interested in delivering presentations or participating with corporate presentation panels:
1. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES & GAMES: privacy issues; piracy and free access to knowledge; digital divide; Information Society and public participation; Informational Capitalism vs. Info-Communism; aesthetic ownership in games; on-line pornography and regulating the Internet; the new Internet security enhancements.
2. MEDICINE & PHARMACEUTICS: BioBanks and Human Genetic Information Security; ethical aspects of Cell Therapies; new drugs research ethical evaluation.
3. ROBOTICS & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: the proliferation of robots in industries and the social impact on labour; the proliferation of robots in home environments; robots, humans and moral agency; robot enhanced reality; interconnected sexual robots.
4. BIOTECHNOLOGIES & ARTIFICIAL LIFE: Bioengineered foods, food safety and moral concerns; seeds and food labelling; bio-terrorism and moral use of biotechnologies; artificial life and moral agency.
5. NANOTECHNOLOGIES: military vs. civil research and usage of nanotechnologies; human enhancement; privacy and freedom in ICT applications of nanotechnologies; ethical responsibilities in nanotechnology research.
To provide an integrative perspective over the ethical aspects and social impact of New and Emerging Technologies in the European Union, we also propose three longitudinal topics covering the five directions. The first topic examines the fairness of technology transfer between Western democracies and those from the rest of Europe. The second one focuses on intellectual property, identity and knowledge control in the era of logical and biological malleability. The last one proposes the mapping of social inequalities and knowledge gaps driven by new and emerging technologies.
The conference will also host a 3 hours public round-table. The topic will be “Experts vs. Participatory Democracy: what kind of policies should we have for new and emerging technologies?” The keynote speakers will be announced by October 1, 2011.
Only one paper per person/research group is permitted and must represent an original contribution, not published or submitted elsewhere. Early submissions are highly encouraged. This way, the prospective participants may receive the acceptance letters sooner. Prospective participants must send a 400 words abstract by August 29, 2011, and final papers by September 19, 2011. Papers will circulate before conference and will be temporarily published on the official website. After the conference, a selection of the presented papers will be published in the BCAE Proceedings. The selection will be determined via a peer reviewing system with the support of the Scientific Advisory Board.
The official language is English and papers must be proofread before submission. All papers must observe the editorial guidelines and must be prepared for blind-review (one Word/OpenOffice file containing the title, author’s name, and the academic affiliation + a separate Word/OpenOffice file containing the 400-words abstract with only the title). All correspondence should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Companies and their representatives are encouraged to participate with conference lectures or presentation panels about their technologies and the ethical frameworks they employ in assessing their technologies. Special panel sessions (2 days show cases) and conference open space will be provided to them. Live presentations of their technologies can be set up during the 2 days. Refer to “Company package” from our website. Inquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
There is no participation fee, but the participants will have to manage on their own travelling and accommodation costs. The organizers will provide a list of hotels (3, 4 and 5 stars), close to the conference hall, that can accommodate the participants.