How is the European Union dealing with the ethical challenges raised by technology?

Docente: Migle Laukyte – European University Institute, Department of Law

Lingua: Inglese, Italiano

The ethical issues of emerging technologies is a key topic in everyday public discussions, but what exactly is meant by the terms ethical issue and emerging technologies is often taken for granted. My lecture aims to fill in this gap by looking at the way the European Union understands and deals with those questions.

To introduce students to the ethical issues the EU and its member states are facing in connection with technology.

The ethical issues I plan to address will be grouped under five headings as follows:
Privacy concerns: how surveillance practices and the use of big data and social media may become a tool of discrimination;
Civil rights concerns: the intrusive use of genetic information;
Biotech-related ethical concerns in agriculture: what to do about genetically modified plants and animals;
Biotech-related ethical concerns in medicine: what are the implications of gene therapy, prenatal diagnosis, genetic modification, and should biotech inventions be patentable.
AI-related ethical concerns: how is the introduction of robots, drones, human enhancement, and smart cars changing our lives.

To see what the EU is actually doing to solve these problems: What procedures are being adopted and who is competent to do what? In this regard we will consider the role of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies and its relation to the main EU bodies.
To discuss these issues with students and see how they would approach them if they were in making policy in the EU.
To explore the ways our conceptions of good and bad and of right and wrong may be changing or may need to be changed in light of the ethical issues discussed.

Lecture Format:
The lecture is conceived as an interactive discussion with students. Depending on time constrains, I would also have a slide presentation framing some problem-solving tasks for students to try in class.
If it can be useful for students not yet too familiar with English, I would be happy to deliver this lecture in Italian.