Ethics, Human Rights & Emerging Technologies

The SIENNA project ended on 31 March 2021. The results of our 3,5 year project were presented at a three day conference: Discussing the ethical and human rights issues raised by emerging technologies, methods and instruments proposed by SIENNA: addressing the need for ethical guidance and governance of emerging technologies. We have recorded our presentations on regulation, innovation policies, research ethics frameworks, Ethics by Design methodologies, education and training programmes, standards, and certification.

SIENNA is leaving a legacy of reports and publications in scientific journals, and there are more to come! Some of our results have contributed to the development of a series of policy briefs for European and national policy makers. As the project came to an end, we also participated in the European Parliament's STOA panel's workshop on policy options for the ethical governance of disruptive technologies.

SIENNA final conference

The video is available for those who are interested in the more general results, and those specific to human genetics and genomics, technologies that can be used to enhance human abilities, artificial intelligence and robotics. We have also provided summaries of our recommendations in a series of policy briefs, and a two minute video version. Results have also been shared in a series of public deliverable reports, and several publications in scientific journals.

Governance of emerging technologies: incorporating ethics and human rights

On 10 and 12 March, we presented the SIENNA project and our approaches for ethical and human rights assessment, guidance and governance of emerging technologies. What steps do different actors need to take to enable responsible innovation, and what tools and methods do they need? How can we integrate ethical guidance with regulation and policy? In these sessions, we presented ways to include stakeholders in ethical analysis and governance, combining ethical analysis with foresight and social impact assessment, for the development of general and domain- and actor-specific ethics guidelines, standards and certification, and for including Ethics by Design methods in technology development.

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Human genetics and genomics

The session on human genetics and genomics was held on 10 March 2021. It focused on the value for patients. Here, we presented and discussed the ethical challenges brought by new human genomics technologies and their various uses in diagnosis and therapy. This session includes discussion on the regulatory challenges for human genomics, and possible solutions. We also propose new instruments for ethical guidance and governance of genomic technologies, including a new SIENNA-initiated code of conduct for international data sharing in genomics.

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Human Enhancement

On 11 March, we discussed the ethical challenges of emerging human enhancement technologies, and assessed the current state of the field. We also considered the steps that should be taken to meet ethical challenges in the future. We presented and discussed the new SIENNA-initiated ethics guidelines for human enhancement, the first extended set of guidelines for human enhancement research, development and use that have been proposed. We also discussed new policy initiatives that are needed for responsible innovation of human enhancement technologies. This includes proposals for a European expert body to assess and guide social, ethical and regulatory aspects of human enhancement. We also highlighted our work on guidance for research funding and research ethics assessment, and flagged the need for further debate regarding the status of human enhancement in relation to the field of medicine.

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Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

The SIENNA final conference session on artificial Intelligence and robotics was held on 11 March 2021, focusing on ethical, legal and human rights challenges. In this session, we presented our results and discuss how ethics is currently being used and integrated in AI practices and institutions We identify problems and challenges and propose ways to move forward. Presentations included new research ethics frameworks for AI, new regulatory and policy proposals, Ethics by Design methodologies, the role of stakeholders and the general public in responsible innovation for AI, the role of critical and social studies of AI in ethics and policy, and education and training programmes for ethics of AI.

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Project structure


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