The Blurring Boundary of Biology and Technology: Exploring Converging Technologies

Dr. Dirk Stemerding, Rathenau Instituut, on what can we expect

Organisator Studium Generale

di 13 januari 2015 20:00 tot 22:00

Locatie Impulse, building number 115
Stippeneng 2
6708 WE Wageningen
+31 317-482828
Synthetic Biology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Deep Brain Stimulation: the NBIC wave (the technology convergence of Nano-, Bio-, Information Technology and Cognitive Science) is flooding us almost like a tsunami. Medicine in synthetic cells is transported to the exact right place in your body; Google Glass is updating your brain at the spot; by the weight of sperm cells a decision at front can be made between male or female offspring; etc. etc. We nowadays live in a technological culture where the difference between nature and technology is becoming diffuse. Is that exciting or frightening?

Combining different technologies has always been an important source of innovation. A key characteristic of the NBIC convergence is the fact that it points to the gradual dissolving of the narrow borders between the physical and the biological sciences. The merger represents a bioengineering megatrend that  may be denoted with the catchphrases ‘biology is becoming technology’ and ‘technology is becoming biology’. But what are the meaning and implications of this convergence? Does it transform human life and society through a new techno-human condition? And how does this transformation of bioengineering challenge the governance of innovation?