Bio · Human-ities · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Exploring the Impact of ‘Novel Neurotechnologies’

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is an independent body that examines and reports on ethical issues in biology and medicine. It was established by the Trustees of the Nuffield Foundation in 1991, and since 1994 it has been funded jointly by the Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

The Council has achieved an international reputation for advising policy makers and stimulating debate in bioethics.


To launch a Nuffield Council on Bioethics consultation, Professor Tom Baldwin, chair of the inquiry, outlines the ethical issues raised by novel neurotechnologies that intervene in the brain. Dr Alena Buyx, Assistant Director of the Council, goes on to describe neurostimulation and neural stem cell therapy in more detail, and Professor Kevin Warwick, a member of the Working Party, discusses some of his work around brain-computer interfaces.

Terms of reference

The Council’s terms of reference require it:

1. To identify and define ethical questions raised by recent advances in biological and medical research in order to respond to, and to anticipate, public concern;

2. To make arrangements for examining and reporting on such questions with a view to promoting public understanding and discussion; this may lead, where needed, to the formulation of new guidelines by the appropriate regulatory or other body;

3. In the light of the outcome of its work, to publish reports; and to make representations, as the Council may judge appropriate.

All text via The Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Digital Media · Games/Play · Motion Graphics · Performativity · Philosophy · Science · Technology

Why Mass Effect is the Most Important Science Fiction Universe of Our Generation

Kyle Munkittrick: Mass Effect is epic. It’s the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and more with a protagonist who could be the love-child of Picard, Skywalker, and Starbuck. It’s one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation. Mass Effect goes so far beyond other fictional universes in ways that you may not have yet realized. It is cosmic in scope and scale.

Sci-fi nerds have long debated over which fictional universe is the best. The Star Trek vs Star Wars contest is infamous into banality, with lesser skirmishes among fans of shows and books like Battlestar Galactica, Enders Game, Xenogenesis, Farscape, Dune, Firefly, Stargate, and others fleshing out the field. Don’t mistake this piece as another pointless kerfuffle among obsessive basement dwellers. Mass Effect matters because of its ability to reflect on our society as a whole.

Science fiction is one of the best forms of social satire and critique. Want to sneak in some absolutely scandalous social more, like, say, oh, I don’t know, a black woman into a position of power in the ‘60s? Put her on a starship command deck.

Most science fiction, even the epic universes in Star Wars and Star Trek, pick only two or three issues to investigate in depth. Sure, an episode here or a character there might nod to other concepts worthy of investigation, but the scope of the series often prevents the narrative from mining the idea for what it’s worth.

Mass Effect can and does take ideas to a new plane of existence. Think of the Big Issues in your favorite series. Whether it is realistic science explaining humanoid life throughout the galaxy, or dealing with FTL travel, or the ethical ambiguity of progress, or even the very purpose of the human race in our universe, Mass Effect has got it. By virtue of three simple traits – its medium, its message, and its philosophy – Mass Effect eclipses and engulfs all of science fiction’s greatest universes. Let me show you how.

Read Full Article at PopBioethics