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Monday, July 9th, 2018 - Friday, July 13th

Human Enhancement: Bioethical Challenges of Emerging Technologies

Rome, Italy, Italy
M.Maioni, PhD

also to
increase human capacities and qualities (motor, mental, emotional and aesthetic, and so on). Certain
enhancement technologies are already available, for instance, reproductive technologies and plastic
surgery. Other technologies are called emerging due to their innovative aspect, such as genetic
engineering. There are also speculative technologies, which are only a work hypothesis in biomedical
research, for example, mind uploading.
A study and analysis of human behavior, as well as the research, production and use of these
technologies from bioethical, social, and legal standpoints, seem appropriate and necessary. On the
one hand, the scientific community has taken an increasing interest in these innovations and allocated
substantial public and private resources to them. On the other hand, such research can have an impact,
positive or negative, on individuals, the society, and future generations.
Some have advocated the right to use such technologies freely, considering primarily the value of
freedom and individual autonomy for those users. Others have called attention to the risks and
potential harms of these technologies, not only for the individual, but also for society as a whole.
Such use, it is argued, could accentuate the discrimination among persons with different abilities, thus
increasing injustice and the gap between the rich and the poor. There is a dilemma regarding how to
regulate such practices through national and international laws, so as to safeguard the common good
and protect vulnerable persons.
What will you learn?
The course offers an interdisciplinary study of human enhancement to better understand the
techniques, the benefits, and the inherent risks of these technologies. What will be the impact on our
understanding of being human—human nature as we understand it today—and what are the possible
consequences for future generations?
Participants will acquire the skills to make an ethical assessment of these cutting-edge technologies
and learn to manage the use of these technologies in life and medical sciences and make consultations
about them. In addition, they will be able to apply this knowledge professionally in the fields of
science, medicine, politics, law, sociology, communication, and education.
Who should attend?
The course is open to all, but is of especial interest for physicians and health care workers; biologists,
neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists; educators and professors; priests,
religious, catechists and other pastoral agents; lawyers and jurists; journalists, communicators and
sociologists, as well as those who are interested in the cultural and social dynamics of our times and
wish to have informed and critical criteria on cutting-edge biotechnological, ethical and social issues.
What will be covered?
The course will undertake a bioethical, interdisciplinary and integral approach to study emerging
technologies and the new generation biotechnologies in life and health sciences. The realization and
the utilization of these technologies, be they in the human genome or the brain, might increase the
gaps in the social, economic and cultural spheres. Without ethical criteria and political prudence, they
carry the risk of accentuating the differences in individual abilities and skills with great consequences
in what it means to be human and social co-existence.
Some topics:
• The dream of “improving” humanity: Convenience, temptations and challenges of perfection
and immortality.
• Science and technology serving the person (body, mind, spirit).
• Body and mind control: emerging and converging improvement technologies.
• Theories and arguments for and against enhancement.
• Interventions on humans: therapy and enhancement.
• Genetic and biological enhancement: living healthier and living longer.
• Neuro-cognitive enhancement: becoming smarter.
• Neuro-emotional enhancement: becoming more empathic.
• Motor enhancement: becoming stronger, and faster. Sports performance and doping.
• Aesthetic enhancement: becoming more beautiful.
• Moral enhancement: become more social and better citizens.
• Gender perspective and enhancement.
• Human-machine interaction and robotics.
• Military use of human enhancement.
• Cultural and religious views on enhancement.
• Impact of enhancement on human nature, freedom, justice and the common good.
• National and international regulation on enhancement and impact on human rights.
• Nature and humanity in transhumanism and posthumanism.
How is this taught?
The course is structured in classes, conferences, Q&A sessions, movie-forums, and interactive group
activities. An interdisciplinary study will be carried out with attention to the different cultural
perspectives of our society. Professors of the School of Bioethics and other experts will participate
as speakers and moderators of group dynamics.
At the end of the course students who require the European credits ECTS take an evaluation test.
How do I sign up?
The course will be immediately after the summer course of introduction to bioethics (July 2-6, 2018)
and will be held from July 9 to 13, 2018.
The course will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into Italian.
The summer course is one of the elective courses of the Licentiate in Bioethics and is valid for 3
ECTS credits.
Registration Deadline: July 9, 2018
Course Director
Prof. Alberto García
For further info:

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