Archive for the ‘NBICS’ Category

Call for Papers Converging Technologies, Changing Societies

In Ableism Ethics and Governance, Call for papers, Conferences, Ethics, nano, nanoscale, nanotechnology, NBICS on October 21, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Call for Papers SPT 2009
Converging Technologies, Changing Societies

16th International Conference of
the Society for Philosophy and Technology

July 8-10 2009

University of Twente
Enschede, The Netherlands
Deadline for abstracts: January 5, 2009

SPT 2009 welcomes high quality papers and panel proposals in all areas of philosophy of technology. Given the focus of this year’s conference, papers dealing with converging technologies and their social and cultural impact are especially welcomed. SPT 2009 will include 15 tracks:

1. Converging technologies and human enhancement. Chair: Peter-Paul Verbeek

2. Converging technologies and engineering sciences. Chair: Mieke Boon

3. Converging technologies and risks. Chairs: Sabine Roeser and Sven Ove Hansson

4. Converging technologies: general issues. Chair: Armin Grunwald

5. Ethics and politics of emerging technologies. Chair: Tsjalling Swierstra

6. Philosophy and ethics of biomedical and nanotechnology. Chair: Bert Gordijn and Joachim Schummer

7. Philosophy and ethics of information technology. Chair: Adam Briggle

8. Environmental philosophy and sustainable technology. Chair: Andrew Light

9. Philosophy of engineering and design. Chair: Pieter Vermaas

10. Robots, cyborgs and artificial life. Chairs: Mark Coeckelbergh and Gianmarco Veruggio

11. Technology and moral responsibility. Chair: Katinka Waelbers

12. Technology, culture and globalisation. Chairs: Charles Ess and Evan Selinger

13. The good life and technology. Chair: Philip Brey

14. Philosophy of technology: general and assorted issues. Chair: Anthonie Meijers

15. Reflective engineering. Chair: Darryl Farber

Descriptions of the tracks can be found on our website http://www.utwente.nl/ceptes/spt2009 .

Thanks to Adam for sending it

ONCE International Research and Development Award in New Technologies for the Blind and Visually Impaired

In Ableism Ethics and Governance and Design, Ableism Ethics and Governance and Science and Technology governance, Disability, nano, nanoscale, NBICS on October 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm

ONCE International Research and Development Award in New Technologies for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The aim of the International R&D Award in New Technologies for the Blind and Visually Impaired, held bi-annually by the ONCE (Spanish National Organisation for the Blind), is to distinguish and recompense those researches whose development, use or application represent a clear improvement in the quality of life, equality of opportunities or the process of social and working integration of the blind and visually impaired.
Research areas:

Through this Award, ONCE seeks to stimulate the promotion of scientific technical research aimed at technological developments and innovations in the field of engineering, artificial intelligence, computing, telecommunications, microtechnology and nanoelectronics, with the ultimate purpose of correcting or overcoming the limitations suffered by the blind or the visually impaired on account of their disability.

More here

Call for papers: On the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and rehabilitation.

In Ableism, Ableism Ethics and Governance and its intersection with Disability Ethics, Ableism Ethics and Governance and Science and Technology governance, Call for papers, Disability, nano, nanoscale, nanotechnology, NBICS on September 29, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Call for papers

On the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability,

community and rehabilitation.

For a special issue of the International Journal on Disability, Community & Rehabilitation (IJDCR) (http://www.ijdcr.ca/copyright.shtml)

Guest Editor: Gregor Wolbring, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Program, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary. Please submit abstracts to the Guest Editor via e-mail by 30 October, 2008.


Nanoscale science and technology, while still in its infancy, describes a rapidly growing sphere of enquiry, with many and varied implications for the disability field. To establish a ‘benchmark’ of the current state of knowledge and conceptual understanding, the Editors of IJDCR decided a special issue should be devoted to the topic. Background information and potential topics are presented below.

We invite potential contributors, regardless of fields of study (discipline), to submit 250-word Abstracts that articulate the conceptual arguments and knowledge base to be covered in a critical analysis on some aspect of the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and/or rehabilitation. Please submit abstracts to the Guest Editor via e-mail by 30 October, 2008.

From selected abstracts, we will request full articles of 3000-5000 words (excluding figures and tables) of original research and scholarship on a range of topics. Note that an invitation to submit an article does not guarantee its publication. Every submitted article will be subject to blind peer review and recommendations arising.


Nanotechnology in all its meanings allows for, among other things, the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular scale and enables a new paradigm of science and technology that sees different technologies converging at the nanoscale namely:

1. nanoscience and nanotechnology,
2. biotechnology and biomedicine, including genetic engineering,
3. information technology, including advanced computing and communications,
4. cognitive science (neuro-engineering),
5. synthetic biology;

hence, the designation “NBICS” (nano-bio-info-cogno-synbio).

Many lists of anticipated nanoproducts exist (Institute of Nanotechnology 2005;Kostoff et al. 2006). Applications for NBICS products are envisioned in areas such as the environment, energy, water, weapons and other military applications, globalization, agriculture, and health (e.g., more efficient diagnostics and genetic testing, cognitive enhancement; life extension and enhancing human performance in general) (M.Roco 2003). Many believe that advances in NBICS hold the key for extreme life extension to the level of immortality and the achievement of morphological (Anders Sandberg 2001) and genomic freedom(Wolbring 2003). NBICS-medicine is envisioned by some to have the answer to global problems of disease and ill medical and social health. Others argue for the pursuit of ‘morphological freedom’ (Anders Sandberg 2001)–allowing the human body to move beyond typical functioning of the species. Disabled people are often highlighted as the beneficiaries of NBICS-medicine products. NBICS applications and the selling of NBICS health products focuses mostly on offering disabled people medical solutions (prevention or cure/normative adaptation) and might move towards transhumanist solutions (augmentation, enhancement of the human body) but rarely offers social solutions (adaptation of the environment, acceptance, societal cures of equal rights and respect). Many NBICS applications/products for disabled people are envisioned and are under development(Wolbring 2005).

We chose this topic for an issue of IJDCR because of how the discourses around these new and emerging nanoscale science and technologies are emerging and their potential impact on people with disabilities, the communities linked to them and/or practitioners as well as others. Consumers and researchers linked to the disability discourse are involved will shape the positive or negative consequences for everyone involved.

Nanotechnology and NBICS have an impact on disabled people in at least four main ways.

Impact of NBICS on disabled people (Wolbring 2006)

NBICS may develop tools to adapt the environment in which disabled people live and to give disabled people tools that would allow them to deal with environmental challenges. This side of S&T would make the life of disabled people more liveable without changing the identity and biological reality of the disabled person

NBICS may develop tools that would diagnose the part of disabled people’s biological reality seen by others as deficient, defect, impaired and ‘disabled’ thus allowing for preventative measures

NBICS may develop tools that would eliminate that portion of disabled people’s biological reality seen by others as deficient, defect, impaired and ‘disabled’.

NBICS may be a target for – and an influence upon – the discourses, concepts, trends and areas of action that impact disabled persons.


* The discourse around the term human security
* The religious discourse
* The politics of biodiversity
* The politics of inequity
* The politics of the ethics discourse.
* The politics of law:
* The politics of raising the acceptance level for a given technology
* The politics of setting goals and priorities
* The politics of language
* The politics of self perception and identity (Body politics)
* The politics of red herrings
* The politics of interpreting International treaties
* The politics of governance
* The Politics of evaluation, measuring, analysis, and outcome tools


* Self identity security
* Ability security
* Cultural identity/diversity
* Morphological freedom and morphological judgement(Anders Sandberg 2001)
* Freedom of choice and tyranny of choice
* Duty to fix oneself
* Duty to know
* Parental responsibility
* Societal responsibility


* Change in the concepts of health, disease and ‘disability’/’impairment’
* The appearance of enhancement medicine and the acceptance of beyond species-typical functioning
* Moving from curative to enhancement medicine; decrease in curative medicine and the appearance of the transhumanist/enhancement burden of disease
* Moving from human rights to sentient rights
* Moving from morphological freedom to morphological judgement
* The appearance of the techno poor disabled and impaired
* Moving from freedom of choice to tyranny of choice judgement

Areas of Action:

* Nanotechnology/NBIC for development
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and the UN Millennium Development Goals
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and global medical and social health
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and accessibility
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and law
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and water and sanitation
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and disaster management
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and weapons/war
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and ethics/philosophy
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and social science/anthropology
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and community
* Nanotechnology/NBIC and networking

All of the above discourses, concepts, trends and areas of actions impact on disabled people[1] and others.

Potential contributors to this Special Issue might consider areas from the above table or one of the following topics:

1. What are the potential positive and negative impacts of envisioned nanoscale science and technology products and research and development on:
* disabled people,
* the community around them
* practitioners, consumers and researchers linked to the disability discourse
* community rehabilitation and the rehabilitation field in general
* inclusive education and the education of disabled people in general
* employability of disabled people
* citizenship of disabled people
* body image of disabled people
* medical and social health policies and their impact on disabled people
* health care for disabled people
* the elderly
* disabled people in low income countries
* laws related to disabled people such as the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
* the concept of personhood
* concept of health and health care
* the measure of disability adjusted life years and other measurements used to guide health care dollar allocation
* quality of life assessment
2. What are the potential positive and negative impacts of the new social philosophy of transhumanism that is seen as being enabled by nanoscale science and technology products and research and development?
3. What impacts of potential nanoscale science and technology products and research and development onto disabled people will impact other marginalized groups?

For more information about the International Journal of Disability, Community & Rehabilitation (IJDCR) please go to http://www.ijdcr.ca.


Anders Sandberg. Morphological Freedom — Why We not just Want it, but Need it. 2001.

Institute of Nanotechnology (2005). Research Applications And Markets In Nanotechnology In Europe 2005

Kostoff, Ronald et al. “The seminal literature of nanotechnology research.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research (2006): 1-21.

M.Roco, W. Bainbridge eds. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science. 2003. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht Hardbound.

Wolbring, G. “SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND THE TRIPLE D (DISEASE, DISABILITY, DEFECT).” Ed. William Sims Bainbridge Mihail C.Roco National. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 2003. 232-43

Wolbring, G (2005). HTA Initiative #23 The triangle of enhancement medicine, disabled people, and the concept of health: a new challenge for HTA, health research, and health policy Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Health Technology Assessment Unit, Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Wolbring, G (2006). Scoping paper on Nanotechnology and disabled people. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Arizona State University [On-line].

[1] The term ‘disabled people’, as used here, reflects the way in which environmental factors impact on the ability of individuals with sensory, motor, cognitive or other variations to participate in society, consistent with its usage by Disabled Peoples’ International.

Making babies: the next 30 years

In Ableism, Disability, NBICS on August 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Published online 16 July 2008 | Nature 454, 260-262 (2008) | doi:10.1038/454260a Helen Pearson

and on this blog you find a write up about what is in the Nature article

of cause artificial womb and gene therapy are part of the list
The hotlink titled ‘medical advances’ is not linking to the Nature article but to another

The Miracle of Bionics – Presenting Challenging Questions

In Ableism, Disability, Enhancement, NBICS, Pistorius, Sports on June 2, 2008 at 5:35 pm

another piece covering Bionic advances and that quotes me a lot that just came out.
more here
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Nanotechnology, transhumanism and the bionic man

In Ableism, Disability, Enhancement, Health, Law and public policy, NBICS, Public policy, Sports, Transhumanism on May 28, 2008 at 7:29 pm

this piece by nanowerk explains a lot of my reasoning quite nicely

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Summer Schools on Ethics of nanotechnology and on ethics of converging technologies.

In Enhancement, Law and public policy, NBICS, Public policy on May 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I should say that I am part of the Converging technology meeting in Sept as a faculty

The European Commission currently tries to stimulate responsible development of nanotechnology by recommending a Code of Conduct to EU member states. This Code is actually a form of “soft law”, governing nanotechnology research. Evaluators of EU project proposals are asked to use this code in their selection process. Ambitious and prudent researchers in natural as well as social sciences may want to learn more about nanoethics in general and this code in particular, and discuss the practical consequences.

The EthicSchool on Ethics of Nanotechnology offers a good opportunity for this. It is held 24-29 August 2008 at the University of Twente. Prof. Dr Arie Rip of the University of Twente and Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Wils of Radboud University in Nijmegen are co-presidents of the EthicSchool.

The EthicSchool on Ethics of Converging Technologies is held 21-26 September 2008 at the Dormotel Vogelsberg in Alsfeld /Omrod in Germany. Prof. Dr. Alfred Nordmann of the TU Darmstadt and an international group of renowned scholars will lead discussions at the forefront of the scientific debate on current trends in the converging sciences and technologies (nano, bio, info, cogno) and the philosophical, societal and policy implications.

PhD students, postdocs and others with a genuine interest are welcome to join the EU funded EthicSchool Summerschools. There are still a number of places left for both EthicSchools. If you are interested in presenting a paper, the deadline for submitting abstracts has been extended until 1 June 2008. Find out more and register online at http://www.ethicschool.eu

or contact Ineke Malsch: postbus@malsch.demon.nl

What sorts of people in the Chronicle of Higher Education

In Disability, Ethics, Law and public policy, NBICS on May 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Genetic, And Moral, Enhancement online here From the issue dated May 16, 2008

Years of Toil in the Lab Yield a New Field online here From the issue dated May 16, 2008

Medical Genetics Is Not Eugenics online here From the issue dated May 16, 2008

What sorts of athletes should there be?

In NBICS, Peer Reviewed Papers on May 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

This What sorts question many thought they had figured out is increasingly up for grasp again in all kind of areas. Athletes are one of them.  Who is an Olympic athlete?  Who is a Paralympic athlete? Who is….?  As a contribution to this discourse I wrote the article below.  It is an open access journal, so feel free to download the paper and of course any comment are welcome here or to me directly.

in SCRIPT-ed – A Journal of Law, Technology & Society

Oscar Pistorius and the Future Nature of Olympic, Paralympic and Other Sports
Gregor Wolbring, pp.139-160
| HTML | DOC | PDF |
Oscar Pistorius is a Paralympic bionic leg runner and record holder in the 100, 200, and 400 meters who wants to compete in the Olympics. This paper provides an analysis of a) his case; b) the impact of his case on the Olympics, the Paralympics and other –lympics and the relationships between the –lympics; c) the impact on other international and national sports; d) the applicability of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. It situates the evaluation of the Pistorius case within the broader doping discourse and the reality that new and emerging science and technology products increasingly generate internal and external human bodily enhancements that go beyond the species-typical, enabling more and more a culture of increasing demand for, and acceptance of modifications of the human body (structure, function, abilities) beyond its species-typical boundaries and the emergence of new social concepts such as transhumanism and the transhumanisation of ableism.