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The Power, Promise, and Risks of Science and Technology

Human enhancement research and technologies offer many unprecedented opportunities and just as many unforeseen challenges to society’s view of human performance. To identify those opportunities and challenges, the AAAS Program on Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law convened a workshop in June 2006 involving scientists, ethicists, industry representatives, legal scholars, and policy analysts.

The project was intended to contribute to more informed public deliberations on the technical, ethical, and public policy issues surrounding human enhancement.   Some of the issues highlighted at the workshop related to individual choice, allocation of resources, fairness, justice, dignity, and the quality of life, all of which will undoubtedly shape professional and public discourse on human enhancement and options for public policy.  One specific outcome of the project was a list of recommendations from meeting participants of next steps AAAS might consider in its role as an association committed to “advancing science, serving society.”  The Summary Report of the meeting, entitled “Good, Better, Best: The Human Quest for Enhancement,” concludes with several of those recommendations, and we plan to continue our involvement in these important issues.

Funding for this project was provided by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and Genentech.

Invitational Workshop, June 1-2, 2006