Brazilian perspectives on ethics and new technology


In December 2017, the quarterly magazine Rio Pesquisa invited two Brazilian SIENNA researchers to talk about their participation in the project. Here, Marcelo de Araujo, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, gives a short English summary.

Marcelo de Araujo
Marcelo de Araujo, Professor of Philosophy & Law

In two recent interviews, Maria Clara Dias and myself spoke about our philosophical research on ethics and philosophy of law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and how we expect to contribute to the SIENNA project. In our research at UFRJ, we have been especially interested in the legal and moral implications of human enhancement and the ethics of research in biotechnology.

Over the last years, newspapers and TV in Brazil have covered a wide range of topics that are relevant to the SIENNA project, such as the increasing number of students who have been using Ritalin and Stavigile (modafinil) for non-therapeutic purposes, the development of autonomous cars, the creation of new gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9, or the emergence of sophisticated AI systems that, for instance, manage to spot tumors with more accuracy than human beings.

Maria Clara Dias
Maria Clara Dias, PhD

But there has not been much public discussion on how these topics relate to each other, or about the moral and legal issues raised by these technologies. In the interview, we called attention to this problem and explained how the SIENNA Project intends to assess the legal and moral implications of genomics, human enhancement, and AI at an international level.

By Marcelo de Araujo
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

About the article

The four page feature article, O avanço tecnológico e os desafios éticos, was published in the Rio de Janeiro based magazine Rio Pesquisa (no 41 - Ano XI, pp 14-18). Rio Pesquisa is quarterly magazine on science and technology published by FAPERJ, that publishes feature articles on science and technology.

About UFRJ

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) is one of the partners in the SIENNA project. UFRJ is a public institution maintained by the Brazilian government. It is one of the largest universities in Brazil, and a leading university in Latin America. The researchers of UFRJ involved in the SIENNA Project are active within the Faculty of Philosophy (Dra. Maria Clara Dias) and the Faculty of Law (Dr. Marcelo de Araujo). They have extensively researched on topics such as ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, human enhancement, and the philosophy of human rights.