Biotechnology and the Ethical ImaginatioN


As biotechnology increases in power, we are able to engineer new forms of life, to incorporate biomechanical technologies into living bodies, to alter cognitive and affective functioning. At the same time, biotechnological applications have the potential to release new pathogens or toxins into our environment, or to redefine human and animal form and function. The implications for the future of humanity are profound.  Yet no consensus exists internationally on how we should think about, direct, or limit our biotechnological efforts. In an attempt to reimagine the aspirations of biotechnology, and to develop for these important questions, the Emory University Center for Ethics, along with academic, civic, governmental, and corporate partners, is organizing an international summit in May of 2015 entitled: Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit (BEINGS 2015).

BEINGS 2015, the first in a series of such summits, will focus its attention primarily on cellular biotechnology.  In the spirit of the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, BEINGS 2015 will gather together a distinguished faculty of thought leaders and 400 delegates from 30 countries, drawn from visionary thinkers in the sciences, engineering, policymaking and government, industry, law, philosophy, religion, the humanities, and the arts. A visitors’ gallery will host 800-1000 observers. 

The conference will bring together the world’s premier thought leaders with two goals:

We believe with mutual respect and open dialogue, all stakeholders can help shape a future where aspirational goals and reasonable standards and guidelines maximize biotechnology’s contribution to human flourishing.  We are still very early in our organizing, and welcome the interest and participation of other partners.