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press release




          May 8, 2006

The Nanoethics Group to Speak at Conference at Stanford University

Two presentations to address ethics of human enhancement technologies

SANTA BARBARA, CA – May 8, 2006 – The Nanoethics Group today announced that it has been invited to speak at the Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference at Stanford University Law School on May 26-28, 2006.  As technology rapidly advances, predicted innovations – such as bionic suits that give its wearer super-strength and implantable computer chips that increase mental abilities – bring both new hope for improving the human condition as well as important ethical and policy questions. 

Organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), the conference features more than 50 prominent experts to discuss both sides of the heated debate over human enhancement, which is gaining global attention and momentum.  The conference’s keynote speakers include Ron Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine, and William Hurlbut, M.D., Stanford University professor and member of the President’s Council for Bioethics.

As part of the conference, Patrick Lin, Ph.D., research director for The Nanoethics Group, will take a high-level look at recent arguments in favor of human enhancement, concluding that they need repair.  Separately, Fritz Allhoff, Ph.D., senior fellow of the organization and assistant professor at Western Michigan University, will examine the specific issue of germ-line genetic enhancements, i.e., genetic modifications that can be passed on to future generations, to defend the practice against several objections.

“It’s difficult not to be excited about the prospect of having superhuman abilities or living for an extra 100 years or more,” explained Dr. Allhoff.  “But it may be irresponsible to head into that choice without thinking through its implications, since such technologies are bound to change society.  As this important conference promises to show, there are good arguments on both sides of the debate, and while we think it may be too early to draw any definitive conclusions, it’s never too early to get more people engaged and thinking about this issue and their own future.”

The conference is also co-sponsored by the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, and Stanford Program in Ethics in Society.  For more information, please visit http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/HETHR.  Dr. Lin’s paper can be accessed at http://www.nanoethics.org/paper032706.html.  Dr. Allhoff’s paper can be accessed at http://homepages.wmich.edu/~fallhoff/Genetic_Enhancement.pdf.


The Nanoethics Group is a non-partisan and independent research organization formed to study nanotechnology’s impact on society and related ethical issues.  As professional ethicists, we help to identify and evaluate possible harms and conflicts as well as to bring balance and common sense to the debate.  Our mission is to educate and advise both organizations and the broader public on these issues as a foundation to guide policy and responsible research.  For more information, please visit

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