News from the SIENNA project
Simple solutions to complex issues? Technology and the human brain
Neurotechnological developments could shift focus away from complexity and careful consideration of the human condition. In a recent paper, SIENNA’s Yasemin J Erden writes about the convergence of neuroscience, neurotechnology, psychiatry, and artificial intelligence for diagnostic processes. And how taking an over-optimistic approach to technology developments might result in a simplistic view on complex issues like mental illness and psychiatric disorder.
Webinar on ethical guidelines for human enhancement on 14 December
Education and exercise can enhance our abilities. So can technology: in the form of implants, drugs, genetic enhancement or machines. This comes with ethical, legal and social challenges. On 14 December, SIENNA invites you to participate in a webinar on ethical guidelines for technologies that can, or could, be used to enhance human abilities.
SIENNA responds to public consultation on children's rights in digital environments
On 13 November 2020, we submitted our response to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) draft General Comment No. 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. Our key recommendation is to address children’s rights in relation to all digital technologies. Additional recommendations include adopting stronger ‘red lines’ on digital technologies that impact children, calling for AI that respects children’s rights, and addressing concerns related to digital inequality.
Time for ethical guidance for human enhancement?
Until recently, human enhancement technologies were mostly science fiction. Today, implants, drugs and prosthetics are available to enhance human abilities. Despite intense discussions in society and academia, few efforts have been successful in establishing ethical guidance for the use and development of these technologies. Could now be a good time to develop such guidelines? SIENNA researchers are trying to find out. Curious? Download our report!
SIENNA response to the public consultation on UNICEF’s draft Policy Guidance on AI for Children
On 16 October 2020, the SIENNA project submitted its response to the UNICEF public consultation on draft Policy Guidance on AI for children. Our key recommendations were to address concerns related to “digital inequality”, call for AI that respects human rights, and adopt a stronger stance on problematic technologies.
SIENNA response to the French Committee for Digital Ethics public consultation on the ethics of conversational agents
On 30 October 2020, the SIENNA project submitted its response to the French National Pilot Committee for Digital Ethics (CNPEN) public consultation on the ethics of conversational agents, what is more commonly known as 'chatbots'. Our key recommendations were to reduce the anthropomorphisation of chatbots and conduct impact assessments to identify risks and harms.
Ethical debates about genetic cognitive enhancement: Time to broaden the discussion
SIENNA findings show that attitudes to human enhancement technologies and research on the genetics of human intelligence vary greatly across different economic, cultural, and social landscapes. One potential way to enhance human abilities, including our cognition, is by interfering in IVF processes. So far, the ethics debate has centred on gene editing using the CRISPR technique. However, there is not as much talk of embryo selection as a method for genetic human enhancement. In a recent publication, Marcelo de Araujo emphasises the need fill this gap.
Public awareness & perceptions of genetics and genomics
Technology used in genetic and genomic research are slowly making their way from research to patients and consumers. This raises ethical, legal and social questions for both individuals and society. We asked 11,000 people in 11 countries about new and emerging technologies. On average, half of respondents were familiar with genetics and DNA. But despite saying they had heard or read about it, a large majority of them said that there is a need for better public understanding of genetics and genomics. Want to know more? Read our report!
Public awareness & perceptions of human enhancement technologies
Implants, drugs, genetic enhancement and prosthetics can enhance human abilities. But using technology for human enhancement comes with ethical, legal and social challenges. As a society, we need to discuss the ethical questions of what is normal, what is natural, what is moral and what can be permitted. SIENNA asked 11,000 people in 11 countries what they think about technologies that can be used to improve human abilities. It turns out that South African, Greek and Brazilian respondents were most positive towards the use of different human enhancement technologies, while people in Germany, the US and France were more hesitant. Curious about what they think we should and should not enhance? Read our report!
People prefer robots that look different from them
Robots and artificial intelligence have caught the public’s imagination. A survey of public attitudes to these technologies in eleven countries shows that people feel uncomfortable with robots that look and behave like humans. A study from the SIENNA project shows that people expect both society and their lives to change as a result of increased use of artificial intelligence and robotics. And they expect inequalities in society to increase with it.
Mapping the ethics of human genomic technologies
SIENNA has carried out an extensive ethical analysis of human genetics and genomics. We have identified a number of ethical, legal, and social issues both relating to new and emerging technologies within the next 5-10 years. You will find them outlined in our ethical analysis report.
SIENNA submits response to the public consultation on the European Commission Inception Impact Assessment for regulation of Artificial Intelligence
On 10 September 2020, the SIENNA project submitted its response to the European Commission public consultation on the Inception Impact Assessment for a regulation of artificial intelligence. Our key recommendation was to adopt an EU-level legislative instrument establishing mandatory requirements, complemented by a voluntary labeling scheme.
Ethics as renewed clarity about new situations
Artificial intelligence is developing faster than the ethical frameworks that regulate it. This requires AI ethics that can to adapt to the new and unexpected. Today, the Ethics Blog writes about a call by SIENNA researchers Anaîs Rességuier and Rowena Rodrigues to move from a legal notion of ethics to one that can adapt to new situations.
Toothless ethics is an obstacle for the ethics of Artificial Intelligence
Ethics has powerful teeth that are not used in the ethics of AI today. In a recently published paper in Big Data & Society, SIENNA’s Anaïs Resseguier and Rowena Rodrigues describe how the teeth of AI ethics are lost with the current “law conception of ethics”.
SIENNA submits response the UNESCO Online Consultation: Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
On 30 July 2020, SIENNA project submitted its response to the UNESCO Online Consultation on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. We suggest bringing human rights to the fore and focusing on ethical principles that relate to the interaction between AI systems and their environment, including human beings.
Research ethics codes and guidelines for human enhancement
Although there are no international research ethics codes or guidelines for the broad overall topic of human enhancement, we have surveyed selected relevant codes and guidelines for technologies that can be used for this purpose. If you want to know more about specific angles on particular contexts, often national or focused on application areas, we are able to offer you a large body of codes and guidelines!
SIENNA submits response the public consultation on the European Commission White Paper on AI
On 13 June 2020, SIENNA project submitted its response to the European Commission public consultation on the White Paper on AI. Our key recommendation was to change the focus of the proposed regulatory framework. Instead of aiming at building consumers’ and businesses’ trust in AI in order to speed up the uptake of the technology, the objectives of the framework should be driven by fundamental rights and societal values.
Webinar 1 July: Ethical analysis of AI & Robotics
The SIENNA project recently published its key report “Ethical Analysis of AI and Robotics Technologies”. This 223 page report provides the most comprehensive and up to date overview of ethical issues in AI and robotics available today. Philip Brey, SIENNA coordinator will present the highlights in an open webinar on 1 July at 13:00 CEST!
Legal requirements for human enhancement technologies
Want to better understand legal developments and regulatory approaches related human enhancement? The SIENNA project has documented and delivered a critical assessment of the legal issues raised by human enhancement technologies in and outside the EU. We looked at the national, EU and international level. If you want an analysis of EU law and international and regional legal orders in relation to human enhancement, we suggest you download our report!
SIENNA and SHERPA provide feedback on JURI report on a framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies
On 22 May 2020, SIENNA and SHERPA projects, jointly provided feedback on the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs Draft report with recommendations to the Commission on a framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies (2020/2012(INL) based on the findings and results of the SHERPA and SIENNA EU-funded projects.
Webinars 17 June: Enhancing legal frameworks
We need expert and stakeholder input, because regulating new and emerging technologies raises questions that require broad discussion. The SIENNA project would like to invite join our webinars on 17 June 2020 to discuss how to enhance the legal frameworks for human genomics, human enhancement, artificial intelligence and robotics technologies. Depending on your area of interest, you can join one, two or all of them!
Legal requirements for artificial intelligence and robotics
The SIENNA project has documented and delivered a critical assessment of the legal requirements in relation to the use of artificial intelligence and robotics on the national, EU and international level. In the report, we identify the relevant international and regional law and discuss a range of legal and human rights issues. If you want an analysis of EU law and international and regional legal orders in relation to artificial intelligence and robotics, we suggest you download our report!
Legal requirements for the use of human genomics technologies
Want to know what is allowed? The SIENNA project has documented and delivered a critical assessment of the legal requirements in relation to human genomics in and outside the EU. The work includes human rights aspects and also some aspects of animal research as a stage in clinical research. In the report, we argue that a human rights framework may provide for an important point of reference for shaping future legal responses in the field.
Research ethics codes and guidelines for artificial intelligence and robotics
The SIENNA project conducted a survey of research ethics committee approaches and codes for artificial intelligence and robotics. The survey was submitted to the European Commission in 2018, and lists a large body of codes and guidelines. We have now published the full report, and give you selection of guidelines that you might want to be aware of.
Research ethics codes and guidelines for genomics
The SIENNA project conducted a survey of research ethics committee approaches and codes for human genomics. The survey was submitted to the European Commission in 2018, and lists a large body of codes and guidelines. We have now published the full report, and give you selection of guidelines that you might want to be aware of.
COVID-19 and climate change: Why has the response been so different?
COVID-19 emerging as a global threat has states and civil society to taking radical measures to limit its spread. But, in spite of mounting evidence that climate change will also have devastating consequences for humanity over the next decades, governments and civil society have been far less engaged in adopting effective measures to avert dangerous climate change. Why?
Public online lecture on false messages and false messengers
Fake news have been around for a long time. As part of a postgraduate course on information ethics and law, SIENNA’s Maria Bottis at the Ionian University is organising a public online lecture with Rafael Capurro starting from his recent paper “Pseudangelia - Pseudangelos: On False Messages and Messengers in Ancient Greece”.
AI and robotics adverse impacts – how resilient or vulnerable are we?
Individuals and society benefit from advances in human genomics, human enhancement, AI and robotics technologies. But these technologies present ethical challenges and have the potential to challenge our values, way of living and adversely affect human rights.
Gene editing in human embryos: What women are (not) informed about in consent forms
When research poses health risks to research participants, it is important to make sure there is necessity and acceptability of that research. However, for germline gene editing, there is no clear medical need. In a recent paper in the CRISPR journal, Emilia Niemiec and Heidi C. Howard argue that this raises questions about undue incentives to participate in research.
Genomics and public health
Many applications of genomic technologies raise ethical issues. Emilia Niemiec and Heidi Howard highlight some of them in a chapter in a recent book on applied genomics and public health. They underline the need for education and research on ethical aspects of new genomic technologies. They also highlight the potential of genomic technologies and the problems they introduce.
SIENNA legal analysis webinar on 5 March!
The SIENNA project has produced a legal analysis of issues and human rights challenges of artificial intelligence, robotics, human enhancement and human genomics technologies and studies of how they are handled in different jurisdictions. We now invite you to hear a presentation of the results in a webinar on 5 March 2020, at 2PM Central European Time!
Into human enhancement? SIENNA newsletter out today!
SIENNA has published a state-of-the-art review on human enhancement technologies. If you want to read about it, download it, and find out what else we have done and haven’t received the e-mail, you are not on our list. So go ahead and sign up to find out what we do! (or read it by clicking the link below).
State-of-the-art review of human enhancement
The SIENNA team working on the ethical, legal and human rights issues of human enhancement technologies finished their state-of-the-art review of the field. The report offers overviews of the philosophical debate around the issue, of the existing and expected applications, and a socio-economic impact assessment of human enhancement technologies. SIENNA researchers also identified six subcategories of enhancement, all of which you can read about in the state-of-the-art report that is now available for download on the SIENNA website!
A new era for DNA testing requires new regulation
The European regulatory landscape is a patchwork, where policymakers and scientists work to harmonize regulations at different levels: international, the EU and in the member states. A recent article published in Politico writes that online commercial DNA testing companies have the upper hand in the EU. Partly because the fragmented regulation is difficult to enforce.
US White House issues set of binding AI principles for agency regulators
The US White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has issued what they call a "first of its kind" set of principles that federal agencies have to meet when they draft AI regulations. The public will now have 60 days to comment.
SIENNA: plans for 2020
The SIENNA project wishes you happy holidays! In 2020, we will us the data we have collected so far to develop ethical frameworks for Human Genomics, Human Enhancement, AI and Robotics. Our work will also be translated to guidelines for researchers and innovators in industry and academia, protocols and operational guidelines for research ethics committees, recommendations for better legislation, and more!
Greek law on Human Enhancement
Like in many other countries, there are no specific laws relating to human enhancement technologies in Greece. However, there is more general legislation that can be applied to human enhancement. Because of this lack of legislation, the Greek Commission on Bioethics has issued two separate Opinions on Human Enhancement. In a pre-print article in SSRN, SIENNA legal scholar Maria Canellopoulou-Bottis from the Ionian University in Greece presents the Greek law on human enhancement.
Presenting our work for the European Commission!
Today, work package and task leaders from the SIENNA project are in Brussels to present our work to the H2020 project officer and an expert external reviewer. We are looking forward to this opportunity to review what we have done so far, and receiving feedback to improve what we do in the future.
SIENNA, PANELFIT and SHERPA: New video on three H2020 projects working together
New technology benefits individuals & society. It also challenges our notions of what is ethical. Three H2020 projects have joined forces to improve ethical, human rights & legal frameworks: SHERPA, PANELFIT and SIENNA. We just launched a new video to show how we explore the ethical, legal and human rights questions that information & communication technologies, big data, artificial intelligence and smart information systems raises, for example in relation to data commercialization, cybersecurity and consent.
SIENNA and SHERPA training on ethics and artificial intelligence for European Commission
On November 26, the SIENNA and SHERPA projects are invited to organize an interactive workshop for the European Unions’ different research funding schemes. The workshop is called “Ethics and Artificial Intelligence: Foreseeing the Impact and Shaping the Future” and will present findings from both projects. The focus is on the different ethical dimensions and impact of AI on the future of our society, legal- and ethical frameworks.
Into AI & robotics? SIENNA newsletter out today!
SIENNA has published a state-of-the art review on artificial intelligence and robotics. If you want to read about it, download it, and find out what else we have done in the last six months and haven't received the e-mail, you are not on our list. So go ahead and sign up to find out what we do! (or read it by clicking the link below).
State-of-the-art review of AI and robotics complete!
The SIENNA team working on ethical, legal and human rights issues of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have conducted a state-of-the-art review of the fields of AI and robotics. The report is now available for download! It offers a thorough analysis of the central concepts, the history, the present and expected technologies and applications of AI and robotics, as well as a socio-economic impact assessment of current and expected technologies used in both fields. The analysis is based on a thorough literature review. We also did interviews with, and received commentaries from, field experts.
Egg donation for gene editing in embryos expose women to health risks
Current gene editing approaches allow for precise modification of DNA. These could potentially be used to correct disease-causing genes in human embryos.To evaluate the safety and efficacy of this approach, a large number of studies would be needed. To create embryos for this purpose, women have to donate eggs. In a recent Nature correspondence, two researchers from Uppsala University, Emilia Niemiec and Heidi Howard, draw attention to the health risks associated with egg donation in this context.
Should political ads be banned on social media?
Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsay announced that Twitter is banning political advertising on their platform. In the announcement, Dorsey writes that our democratic system might not be ready for machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. Al Jazeera reached out to SIENNA coordinator Philip Brey to get his view on the subject.
AI and robotics from a Spanish point of view
Developments in artificial intelligence and robotics are changing societies and affecting human rights. These technologies are expected to be the greatest money makers of the 21st century. Spain cannot turn its back on the expected financial and societal gains from AI and robotics development. So writes SIENNA's Javier Valls Prieto in a Spanish language blog post in The Conversation.
SIENNA at ENERI final conference
The ENERI project is coming to an end. On October 28-29, they will bring together leading ethics experts, researchers, policy makers, representatives from industry, research funding organisations, civil society and other stakeholders to disseminate the concepts and products developed during the three-years term of the project. SIENNA will be represented in a panel with other SwafS RE and RI projects.
Planning for the future!
Planning for the future and moving the project forward. 24-25 September, we met in Paris to discuss SIENNA impact and sustainability... Have a look below to learn what we talked about!
From data collection and analysis to frameworks and codes
Right now, members of the SIENNA consortium are meeting in Paris to decide how we move from collecting and analysing data to developing ethical frameworks and codes. We will also discuss how to ensure that we deliver outputs that stakeholders in human genomics, human enhancement, artificial intelligence and robotics both want and are able to use.
#HumanAI: New UNESCO video about the ethics of AI
Following #HumanAI? Take the opportunity to find out more about the work beind the hastag! UNESCO is celebrating 25 years of ethical reflection on bioethics and the ethics of science and Technology and have recenly released a new video about the ethics of AI: “Do You Know AI? Or AI Knows you Better? – Thinking Ethics of AI”.
What happens with technical progress if we get AI ethics wrong?
Right now, many governments and regulators struggle to keep up with how new technologies like artificial intelligence is developing. In the latest issue of the EU Research and Innovation Magazine Horizon, Professor Philip Brey, coordinator of the SIENNA project, and Berdnt Stahl, coordinator of the SHERPA project, share their thoughts on how geting AI ethics wrong could ‘annihilate technical progress’.
Human Genetics & Genomics
Technologies to sequence or edit DNA can become powerful tools to diagnose and treat diseases, yet they also raise important ethical, legal and social issues.
Technology can enhance our physical, cognitive, emotional and moral abilities. Challenging the boundaries between health and illness, treatment and enhancement, normality and abnormality.
Artificial Intelligence & Robotics
We interact with robots, smart devices, intelligent software, prosthetics and implants. We can benefit enormously from interacting with machines. But there are significant ethical challenges.