Alumni meeting

Dialogue - Creating Artificial Life, the Responsibility of the Designer - 14 March 2018

2018 is not only the first centennial of Wageningen University, but also the second centennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Her story, and the name of Victor Frankenstein has been used and abused a multitude of times, especially in relation to novel technological developments. In 1818, a novel was written on the creation of new life. In 2018, we are really designing artificial life. But what is the responsibility of the designer?

Organised by University Fund Wageningen, Wageningen Academy

Wed 14 March 2018 18:00 to 21:00

At this Dialogue (Wereldlezing), science journalist Philip Ball presented his views on the legacy of Frankenstein and the implications for our thinking about science. Professor in Philosophy Philip Brey discussed the technological revolution we are facing and the origin of our hopes and fears regarding artificial life. With that knowledge in mind, we are able to further explore areas that call for responsibility in science, where the analogies with Frankenstein may or may not hold.
Moderated by Emeritus Professor Applied Philosophy Michiel Korthals, we discussed areas that call for responsibility in science.

Science journalist Philip Ball has a background in physics and is a former editor of Nature. He also wrote many popular books on science and philosophy, for instance Unnatural: The heretical idea of making people.

Professor Philip Brey is scientific director of the four technical universities in the Netherlands (4TU) and professor of philosophy of technology at the University of Twente. Brey also leads the EU Horizon 2020 project SIENNA about the ethical and human rights aspects of emerging technologies.

The Dialogue was part of the Science Week 'What is Life?' which was held from Monday 12 March until Wednesdayl 14 March 2018. The Science week is one of the 100 year activities of WUR.

Spoken language: English.


18:00 Dinner and first Frankenstein Movie of 1910
19:00 Lectures from Philip Ball & Philip Brey
20:00 Dialogue Creating Artificial Life: the Responsibility of the Designer
21:00-21.30 Networking reception

Empowered by

The Dialogues are an initiative of KLV and Wageningen Academy and are sponsored by the Wageningen Ambassadors. Alumni and other professionals are updated on the vision of the research field and industry on problems in society and new developments.