In 1820, the United States was a country of small communities. By 1870, it was a nation of monopolies and trusts, the American Midwest was no longer a massive midcontinental wetlands but a growing agricultural powerhouse, and Chicago was becoming a global city. Much of this reflected the rise of a single technology: the railroad. The human benefits and costs of these changes were significant; the related ethical, legal, and governance challenges potent and unpredictable. Today, we face not one, but five, emerging technology systems of great power: nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, information and communication technology, and applied cognitive science. Together, they are reshaping nature and our world in ways we don’t even realize, much less understand. Right now, we’re flailing around blindly; the Lincoln Center, on the other hand, is beginning to build the capability for reasoned ethical response.
We have pulled Engineering, Law, and Public Policy together to explore development of new institutions to manage emerging technologies. We are building a new generation of technologist, grounded in sustainable engineering, where our experts have written the first textbooks. We have created the Consortium for Emerging Technology, Military Operations, and National Security, a multi-University research consortium grappling with the technologies, from lethal autonomous robots to biological systems to ray weapons, emerging from the military and security domains. These are first steps towards our ultimate goal: to help understand and act on the ethical implications of the technologies and systems that have made the Earth the first terraformed planet in the known universe.
Ethics and Emerging Technologies Menu