Technology & Ethics


Wendell Wallach, Lecturer, Yale College; Scholar, Bioethics Center

This group meets on Wednesdays at 4:30 in room RKZ05 at 115 Prospect St, unless otherwise noted.

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Schedule 2015-2016

October 14th Philip Rubin, Senior Advisor to the President, Haskins Laboratories and Professor Adjunct, Dept. of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine

Topic:  “Obama’s BRAIN: a view of science policy from inside the White House”

February 17th  Susan Schneider, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of Connecticut

Topic:  “The Mind isn’t the Software of the Brain (Even if the Brain is Computational)

April 20th  John Horgan, Science Journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology

Topic: “The Mind-Body Problem: A Lack-of-Progress Report”

May 4th  Melanie Swan, Philosopher and Economic Theorist, New School for Social Research

Topic: “Ethical Implications of Blockchain Technology”

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The Technology and Ethics study group examines crucial societal, ethical, and public policy questions arising from the adoption of new technologies. Areas of interest include the benefits and ethical challenges posed by genomics, synthetic biology and artificial life, nanotechnology, neuropharmacology, neuroprosthetics and bionics, stem cell research, telemedicine, radical life extension, cryonics, information technology, virtual reality and augmented reality, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, and artificial intelligence.

The group has considered what defines being “human” or “intelligent”; moral responsibility for those who design, develop, and deploy new technologies; changes in how society will function under the impact of new technologies; risk assessment; the ramifications of bodily, mental, social, and physical enhancements; and whether computers and robots can be intelligent, show emotions, be conscious, be alive, or make moral decisions. Indeed, the Technology and Ethics working group was seminal in the development of the new field of research known as machine ethics.

The membership of the group is eclectic, and in addition to faculty and students at Yale, includes faculty and professionals from throughout the region. The group has served to enrich the expertise of members who have developed reputations as authorities in medical informatics, research ethics, machine ethics, and the ethical challenges of technologies that enhance human faculties. At least three courses taught at Yale have been inspired by the group, as well as a yearly seminar on Technology and Ethics for interns of the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics’ internationally recognized summer program.

The Technology and Ethics study group was founded in the spring of 2002. In the fall of 2002 the study group began inviting speakers for an extended presentation and discussion with the group. Many of these speakers comment on how the opportunity has significantly deepened their understanding of the topics they are researching and of the social and ethical ramifications of their work.

Technology and Ethics Chair
Wendell Wallach

2014-2015 Schedule

2013-2014 Schedule
2012-2013 Schedule
2011-2012 Schedule
2010-2011 Schedule
2009-2010 Schedule
2008-2009 Schedule

2007-2008 Schedule

2006-2007 Schedule

2005-2006 Schedule

2004-2005 Schedule

2003-2004 Schedule

2002-2003 Schedule