Launch of James Martin Institute, Oxford University (2006, March)

Bioethics // Philosophy // Speaking

Oxford forum
Oxford forum    1
Wednesday    2
Tom Kirkwood    2
Rally curing aging: the other sociological obstacle    4
Aubry DNJ de Grey    4
Jay Olshansky    5
How would you assess current aging research, and the prospects for significant breakthroughs in any of its major branches    5
Extending Life Span: Scientific prospects and political obstacles    7
Richard Miller    7
Discussant    9
Paul Hodge    9
Sarah Harper and Kenneth Howse    11
Is more life always a good thing?    11
Stronger?    14
Ellen Heber-Katz    15
Stem cell research and its ethical considerations in china    16
Pei Xuetao, Beijing institute of transfusion medicine, stem cell research center    16
Thursday    19
Cognitive Enhancement    19
Nick    19
Happier    21
Susan Greenfield    21
Professor Lord Richard Layard    23
nick baylis    23
Donald bruce    23
Fairer?    25
Enhancement and Fairness,    25
Julian Savulescu    25
When /if Longer, faster strong, smarter life is happier: reflectins on slower, sustainable and more inclusive life experiences    28
Anil Gupta    28
Gregor Wolbring    29
Enhancement, Justice and rights: immortality    29
John Harris    29
Utility pets    31
Elio caccavale    31
Governable?    31
Baroness Sally Greengross    31
Suzi Leather    32
Creativity and Governance    32
Christopher Newfield    32



Tom Kirkwood
Oeppen and Vaupel, Science, 2002 – shows continuing  increasee in life expectancy

Idea that ageing is genetically programmed is fundamentally wrong
-    illustrated in 1950-s – david lack – zoology in oxford: wild animals never show any intrinsic sign of ageing, because they die young – do not have a chance to become old

thus, no potential…

peter medawa and george Williams

selection shadow – animals die young because environment is dangerous – don’t need to grow old

disposable soma theory – Kirkwood, nature 1977
-    animals invest only what they see to be necessary to remain competitive

how much should animals bother in maintaining and repair

shouldn’t talk about natural selection in these terms

geens make choices

dawkins – imperative on genes

regardless of thesis, realities exist

how much invest in reproducing or repairing

there is no genetic programme for ageing. We age because in evol past…

ageing process model

age related frailty, disability, and disease – accumulation of cellular defects, caused by random molecular damage

build bridges between biomedical and social sciences
-    because we know influ of environment

we know that healthy lifestyle and food can affect this

malleiability of the ageing process
-    by decreasing exposure to damage (nutrition, lifestyle, environment)
-    enhance natural mechanisms for protection and repairt ( nutrition, novel drugs, stem cell)

traditional view of ageing
-    is biololgically determined with inbuilt limit
-    progressive, irreversible capacity
-    ageing distinct phase of life style
-    disases of ageing distinct from intrinsic underlying processes of healthy ageing

dismiss the first
-    we are programmed for survival not death
-    ageing intrinsically malleable
-    youth and age are continuum
-    intrinsic ageing and many age related diseases share common underlying

successes and limitations – managing expectations
-    current success
o    good ustdg, but more to learn
o    beginnings of ustdg of underlying mechanisms of ageing and age relationship disease
o    can modify longevity in some animal models – fruit fly, etc – but in nearly every case is uncertain
-    Current limitations
o    V little evidence for effecicaly of drug/nutraceutical effects
o    Cannot yet perform successful gene therapy for well-defined targets such as cystic fibrosis
o    Cannot yet perform successful stem cell therapy for well defined targets
o    Potential future discussions largely speculative and unacceptable in other biomedical spheres


Education and public engagement- education and professional training
-    expand research capacity in ageing science
-    inc professions and industry

Public engagement- government

Public engagement – Citizens
-    challenge and change negative atts to ageing

Ageing: scientific Aspects – select committee publication from last year

Rally curing aging: the other sociological obstacle
Aubry DNJ de Grey

Strategies for engineered Negligle Senescene (SENS)

Jbs haldane, 1963

Four stages of acceptance
i)    worthless nonsense…

Arthur c Clarke

New ideas pas through three periods
Tom Kirkwood

The rejuvenation dividend: the precepts
-    stretching frailty is v hard, luckilty
-    the faster we delay frailty without stretching it, the fewer people wil be frail
o    rate, not extent, of progress is key
-    partial repair gives more delay than partial prevention
o    how achieve? – eg. Someone aged a lot, only so much we can do – concept of reserve: amount of additional damage your body can afford to accumulate before things go wrong.  How help: start sooner – be healthy earlier;
-    when a plausible rate of medical progress is presumed
o    even better repair is possible!

Promising progress or arrogant nonsense

Embo reports 2005 nov 6,(11) 1006-=1008
-    None of us believes tht plans to ‘engineer’ the body to prevent ageing indefinitely or to turn old people young again have the remotest chance to success’

Reasons given for dismissing SENS
-    is unscientific: ‘ easily recognized as a pretence by those
-    ‘nnoneof pthe sens]
-    T

Technology and science differe in how they best evaluate evidence
-    goal: powered flight. Solutions?
o    Engineer vs scientist

Scientists way of analyzing evidence is misapplied in context of technological goal

‘if an expet cant explain something in his field to an educated laymen…’

the sens challenge
with MIT Technology review –
-    offered $20,000 to discredit de Grey – open to any molecular
-    editor of technology review thought high profile panel
-    panel is: craig venter, rod brooks, Nathan myrvhold, vikram kumar, anita goel
-    two entries submitted, another threatened

sens is following Gandhi
-    firs tthey ignore you
-    then they laugh ay ou
-    then they oopose you
-    then they say they were with you all along

de grey, adnj, embro Reports 2005; 6(11): 1000
-    offer no apology for using media interest in llife extn to make the biologiyt of ageing an exception to planck’s observation that science advances funeral by funaeral, lives lots of them, are at stake

life extension not just science, a biomedical prob too

causes considerable suffering


himsworht and goldacre, 1999, bmj, 319: 1138-1339
-    the older you are, the healthier you’ve been (Perls)

Jay Olshansky
How would you assess current aging research, and the prospects for significant breakthroughs in any of its major branches

(background in sociology, but leading biodemographers)
now at Uni of Illinois

was at US President’s council in 2002 on ageing

in answer to that, prefer question

can we justify theattempts to slow ageing and how?

answerL yes:

March ‘The Scientist’
-    co author with Daniel perry, Richard a miller, Robert n. butler

if can extend healthy life, it would pay longevity dividends, far in excess of anything we could imagine, for indivs and nations

ME: how nations?

Brendon Mayer – editor support for scientist publication

Rationale for pursuing the ‘longevity dividend’ is already in place
-    current medical model will not work in long run

current medical model
-    biological limit to life

pharmaceutical industry

surgical procedures

early detection of disease

already commited ourselves emotionally, financially to extending lifelonglearning

the value of life at every age
-    we value it at every age

by  slowing aging we willl do what no drug, surgical procedure, or behaviour modification can ever do – extend your years of youthful vigor and simiulatenously postpone all t costly, disably, and legal conditions expressed at later ages

‘in pursuit of the longeviry dividend’ – TITLe

operative word is: DELAY

not searching for fountain of youth

not proposing transformation of older people to younger

not stopping or reversing aging process

the words, ‘stopping’ and ‘reversing’ should not be in vocabulary

not dramatic extension of duration of lifelonglearning

‘pursuing health extension’
-    improvement in public health
-    extension of period of youthful health and vigor
-    reductions in frailyy and disability at all ages

if we succeed in delaying aging, bonuses will likely be extn of life and dramatic….

-    7 year delay in boil process of ageing

why 7?
-    it tooko 100 yrs for the total mortality risk of a 74…
-    Olshanksy, carnes and grahn, 1998 – confronting t boundaries…
-    Brody, 1983, prospects for an ageing population, nature
-    The7 is associated with great impact to reduce everything associatd with ageing by half

Longevity dividend
-    calling on congres to invest 3 biillion dollars annually
o    dividends
•    compression of mortality and morbidity
•    reduction in age-specific risk of all diseases
•    reduction health care costs
•    inc indiv and national wealth
•    benefits will occur for lifespan and across generations
•    health and economic benefits will exceed elimination of cancer or hearth disease

if we don’t do this?

For those pushing immortality – this is how you would start doing it

Don’t want people making it too old age extremely frail

Extending Life Span: Scientific prospects and political obstacles
Richard Miller

ME: first says should not talk about radical etension,

Traditional approach to medical research – one disease at a time

But conquering one cancer, for eg, would have limited yield

Antiaging interventions. Solid facts
-    seer caloric restriction increases mean and maximal life span in mice
-    with ex they get old later

now 10 gene mutations that can accomplish same effect

other mutants with lover igf-1 levels also live longer than controls
-    dogs too: low igf-1 and long life span

treat later life diseases as a group

ageing can be delayed by two diets and by each of > 9 genes, in laboratory animals that repsont o many of the same drugs and hormones that we do

ME: comments that those making biggest claims about extension get headlines

Longevity projectopn: the reality Based ™ approach
-    calorific rstriction: 30-40%
-    small dogs: 40%
-    methionine..

thesis: the obstacles to finding a ‘cure’ for aging are 85% political and 15% scientific

research on the ageing process
-    for every $100 us congress spends on medical, 6cents goes to ageing

why haven’t we cured aging yet? (ie learned how to slow)
-    most ‘public’ gerontologist are crackpots and who wants to hang out with that sort of person?

We don’t want to be associated – gi

Eg. Deepak Chopra
Growth Hormne
Mealtonin Miracle

This is clearly a scheme for making money

Why haven’t we cured ageing yet?-
-= is viewed (incoorectly) as incurable

voters relatives died of some diseas, os diseassa have lobbies, so congress spends money on diseases

aging research lobby v small

drugs that actually slow aging cannot be tested in time to show a profit within the ceo’s lifetime

drugs purported to slow aging are highly profitable even though they don’t work

a poiticaian who wants to conquer cancer or conquer aids is a hero

a politician who wants to slow aging is a nut case

people don’t unstd that quickest way to help diseas

socioo of science

scientists follow money

young scientist follow high tech and need papers NOW, alas key biogerontology expts are often low tech and take a few years

to be honest, it’s not that easy to cure..

gerontologiphobia n: a syndrome charac by a fea of what antiaging might do to soc

‘how far could we go. Too far is one possible answer…like drunks with drink, enough is…

the ‘lynch’ position
-    ‘stop research on aging because we don’t want t world to fill up with old people’
-    ethical

if presented to people 200 yrs ago – would people say we don’t want insulin, etc

ethically when:

a)    me only
b)    well ok, you too
c)    but not them. We don’t want the world to fill up with old people, now do we.

Paul Hodge

Thanks peter healey

Baby boomers
Nothing done after this

2005 whitehouse conference dec 14, was asked to testify on policy issues and mentioned baby boomers, but first point was longevity

Questions and Answers

Question from Scot: key issues is delay, but if can do repair, that is better. Why isn’t repair possible?

Jaye: similar concept to Aubrey

Aubrey: difference are to do with feasibility of approaches.

Alex Kalasha from WHO: was at whitehouse conf and disappointing that such advanced nation presented such a poor public debate around science. How optimistic are you with the $3billion?

Jaye: agree with Bob Butler’s conclusion that we need to be ambitious. Buit relative to amount of money on medicaare – $300billion, going ater one disease at a time, is miniscule. This is just the beginning of full court press to go after aging in a much more aggressive way thant we have gone after diseases previously

Tom: must be more connectivity between science and political/social agenda. I don’t think we are saying same thing. I think Aubrey is trying to generate enthusiasm that sidesteps practical problems facing problem. We all want the science to come through, but it doesn’t serve any usefl purpose to extrapolate beyond immediate. No great exptn about extn but might change profile of health.trying to find better way to age, and if that leads to life extension, that’s great.

Jay: aging research should appeal to people. Same goes for why should talk about delay rather than sudden immortaility

Aubrey: cross agency cooperation. In my own work, many exptl scientists not gerontologisty, many working on repair and regeneration technology. Not simply lines on graphs but collaborations. On political side, emphasise that actually it’s perfectly ok to have signif life extn as side benefit to addressing frailty and decline.

Chaotics, Philidelphiaa.: historical  fallacy, several speakers say we are in a special age. Food, etc. no reason to believe we are in any special time or place. In time of Copernicus, Einstein, etc, every time is special. Advances occurring no diff. Aubrey pointed out max planck’s progress thesis, but he might have chosen Voltaire: I have only made but one prayer…please render my enemies ridiculous, and

Donald Bruce: some speakers mentioned the ‘sales pitch’. What is real in this debate? Question of Shakespeare 7 ages of sans…. All the idea of whatever it is you will do, must have so many things right all at once. Getting one or two bits right not enough. Seems a matter of belief rather than evidence.

Tom: how do you know you wont mke things worse? The rate of progress on research on aging is quite slow. Need to know aims and objectives and priorities. You might say it’s a terrible thing to die of heart disease, but it is quick and if solve, then will leave vulnerable to other degenerative diseases, such as alzheimers etc. it is an imp q.

XX: imp but not answerable in rational way 20 years ago, but middle part of talk was about that. What is evidence. By delaying, one does create animals which postpone, together, these, hypothetical worries about creating people that might have other probs is imp, but are ways that we can begin this.

Jay: what happens if we don’t intervene.


Lecture Theatre 5
Sarah Harper and Kenneth Howse
Is more life always a good thing?

Sarah: I am an anthropologist by training, interested in demographic and social. Kenneth has a philosophy background.

Discuss both extending max life span, but also extending normal active healthy life span for everyone in world.

IT is better for everyone to live slightly longer than a few much longer.

Now have 4 or 5 generations alive at same time.


2 scenarios
-    on one side, Jay, Richard and Tom: best prospect of reducing burden of ill health is to go straight for biology of aging
-    everyone endorsed that and concerned to get across to you that this was a good thing, otherwise stick with what current medicine can offer, which is not so useful.
-    They suggested that nobody would argue against this
-    Next to this, is Aubrey’s ideas:

Must consider continuities and discontinuities of these 2 projects.

Not just a feasibility debate.
Must confront gerontophobia

I will lay out the case on behalf of gerontophobia

The question Richard miller flagged up is one that a lot of people have taken very seriously

For eg. Jay mentioned US President’s Council Beyond Therapy, they said ‘let’s suppose we can double life expectancy’ would it be a good thing? General conclusions of that report were mainly sceptical. Commissions report did not come down on one side.

ME: should it have? I don’t think this was its remit. Would we have wanted it to? Public debate. Ethical engagement.

Does Jay’s commitment lead to Aubrey’s vision.

ME: we continually refer to Aubrey’s view in a same way to how we refer to Huxley’s

David Sarfadi, Chaotics: husband of working scientist, when they go into lab, don’t have goal to double lifespan of mouse, for instance. You are altering genes that have effects. Don’t choose which route, it’s what the science renders. If scientist thought was bad idea, would have to kill mouse and tell nobody. Never happens, usually scientist runs to NYT. Society will deal with those choices. Always be confronted with maximal of possibility.

Kenneth: but policy makers decide how much we pay.

David: capital will demonstrate: private funders will begin.

Kenneth: in Europe, worry of inequalities

Bill Baingridge, national science foundation: certainly rtrue that long term goals do shape funding. Rhetoric is that start up companies is on short term goals rather than longer term ones.

XX: do not find 2 approaches mutually exclusive. They will feed each other.

Evelyne Bull, ox student.

Kenneth: if I say yes to Jay, am I committed to Aubrey?

Sarah: public privte us Europe divide.

Raphael Ramirez, oxford: advising on patenting. If life becomes a bnusiness, acceptability of that differes. Nobel prize winner in ox who said whoever igns TRIPS agreement, signed death warrant of tens of thousands of Africans. Human rights vs property rights. Even today can patent mouse in USA. Who owns the findingsa. Is it a good thing? What criteria and ‘for whom’. Who frames this? Not good for some poor somalian.

Kenneth: choice as indiv and collectively.

Rachel Hurst, disability and human rights: assumnption that health is absence of disease and disability. I don’t agree. Whichever side we go down, we need to recog that is humans that we are talking about and are they going to be contained. Whatever way you choose, does it matter, if retaining ethical premise that are dealing with human beings.

Sue (Oxford): assumption that longer means happier.

Anil Gupter: is strongter, etc a better life. Health not absense of sickness, it is well-being.  What is a good thing? When communities.  Society not appreciated handicaps of those who do not see those of others.

ME: allocation of resources as assertion about what is happiness.

Robin Hanson, Economist: often float into abstractions. Prospect of doubling. We have already doubled our lifespan.

ME: is is thte same kind of doubling. Is doubling the issue?

Question: disting ‘whether’ from ‘what if’. Policy has tendency to react to convergent of diff hells. What are hells and heavens in traking this forward.

Donald Bruce: anthropology: what is our ustdg of the human.  Premise is based on functional part of us.  Diminished view of human. I was once on a sci fi programme – ‘what would it be like to live forever’ what do you do after 2000 years. Ok, stupid scenario. Fact that prince charles not king at his age, phenomenon exponential in this situation.

Sarah: finality, goals, – must keep that within human condition. Mustn’t negate that side.

ME: a ritual death?

Question: reproductive span should go to 80-90 yrs old.

Wolfgang Luca: don’t think will hit 9billion level of population, because birthrate decline. Glad that reproduction has been added to reproduction. Why gerontophobia is with diffciculty of imagining.  If assume 3-4 yrs inc per decade, then in west Europe, third of entire population above 80. Prob for legal pension. V little poss for change. Life expectancy goes beyond state increase in retirement age.

Jerry Rav, JMI: is there a culture where is accepted for people to dcide when to go. People in good health.

Gupter: in border of west Bengal and Bangladesh, is custom that go to forest and death by tiger eating you is most devine death.

Sarah: aboriginal – indivs do decide that burden they place on society means they should die. But these are problematic discussions.

James (JMI): by what criteria do we measure a good life. Having discussion about people as indivs planning to life extend as long as poss. Not sure psychologically a good idea. People make choices that involve a whole range of issues. One of obvious techniques of life extension is constrained calorifgic intake – opposite side of prob with obesity. Raises prob. People make choices in that context – taking too much, which makes you live less. These are issues of preventative medicine and public health. People don’t choose to make choices. Am I reasding this issue of calorific intake right. Biggest medical issue at moment is absolute opposite of that.  Food and life choices and risk taking in a social context.

Kenneth: fair amount of disagreement

James: healthcare funding so stilted towards treatement rather than preventionl

??: if we’re right about fertility decline in developing countries, major prob not aging but reproduction.

Srah: various myths about aging. By 2050 2 billion people in developing nations over 50.. not just a developed world problem.

Bill SharpE:  continuity/discontinuity thesis.  Systemic prob. Community in formation here. Contention over goals. None of them know degree of continuity between 2 goals. They are self admitting that we cant tell. Is it worth it? Clearly yes. I have had pleasure watching parents move into 90s. every year has been worth it for them. Only issue is when problems become insurmountable. Tigers as good as some alternatives. Living and learning has indefinite pleasure and learning. Gandhi: live as if you die tomorrow and learn as if you will live forever.

Kahn, oxford:  main issue arising for devle countries. What would be the healthy life expectancy, not expectancy at all.

Michael Morrison, Uni of Nottingham: medical and social ideas of health. Strong strteam of technological determinism.


Chair: Zhanfeng Cui

Ellen Heber-Katz

Regrowth of tissue

Tissue remodelling during regeneration

DL Stocum

Transfer cells across scar tissue

If can identify cell might be able tccccccccccccccccc

Kevin Warwick

I, Robot with Will Smith

Last implant was chip into nervous system. 100 electrodes fired into medial nerve in left arm – 10,000 nerve fibres, receive sensory signals.

Not as reported in guardian that fits into top pocket, but it was fired into nervous system. Each pin is 1.5mm long. Nerve fibres are 3.5-4mm in diameter.

What could we do with it.

Link with computer

Human senses 5% of world around them – stats from CERN.

ME: how is this different from extra sensory experience through drug use?

Ultra sonic and infrared

What is difference between tv having it and you having it, ethically?

Future of research

With wife, did direct telegraphic nervous system link – brain to brain

Remaining humans will be sub-set.

Stem cell research and its ethical considerations in china
Pei Xuetao, Beijing institute of transfusion medicine, stem cell research center

Selfrenewal (Extensive or unlimited)
Multilineage differentation
Engraftment and repopulation

Stem cells can undergo self-renewal

Stem cells – foundation of regenerative medicine

Big problem with aging in china

Number of stem cell and regen med research projects funded by NSFC annually from 199-2005

Two projects for stem cell research and another two projects for tissue engi neering supported by t Chinese national key project of basic research

Ethical considerations of human embryonic stem cells big issue now

Basic principles of life ethics
-    respect, non-mal, beneficience, justice

use of stem cell technology
-    replaceable tissues/organs
-    repair defective cell types
-    gene therapy
-    chemotherapy
-    drug discover
-    tumour therapy

ethical debate – i: derivation of ESCs
-    harvesting es cells destroys t blastocyst
-    ‘this is murder’
-    how to think about embryo, t dispute tht if embryo is a living life has become focus question on each side of dispute

human life, hnumanbeing or human person

definition of personhood
- conscio0usly performing personal acts elmi

worldwide cloning research legislation

illegal in china

ethical debate III
-    any kinds of

etihical debate in chona
-    gov: against reprod cloning, support therapeutic
-    scientist: balance sci freedom with erthical constraint
public: hESC should not be banned
Confucian: human embryo not a person
Buddhistic: reincarnation occurs at birth

Ethical Guidelines and regulations for Human ES cell research in china
Promiulagated by the ministroy of sc I and technology

Principled stance of china gov
-    support biotech
-    acknowl and observe international basic principle
-    banning human clopning

image of person standing by wal with shadow projecting. At top of wall is apple. Person is reaching for it.

Human Assistance/Function Augmentation/Capability Enahncement by Robotic Advanced Technologies
Nagoya University

Safety, security health
-    environment, daily life, war and terrorism, product, health, ITS, communication, plant

Transition of work area
-    manufacturing industry
-    sensing, recognition, adaptation, learning, security
-    service industry
o    medical robot
o    care robot
o    transfer system
o    security
o    competition (RoboCup, Sport)

Humanoid Robot

Rehabilitation Robot

Society in 21st century

Comfortable space using Robot Technology and Information Technology
- in home or

human support technology
1.    physical support, sensory/actuation augmentation
2.    skill support; dexterity/experience, language
3.    intelligence support, information, communication, knowledge, augmentation, enhancement, decision making

human machine symbiosis
1.    cell level
2.    human and unit level (arm leg)
3.    multi human and indiv level (multirobot)
4.    organic device level (stomach, heart)
5.    human and indiv level (one to one)
6.    network level (multi robot and multihuman through network)


-    quiz, Questions and Answers
-    email retrieval
-    reaction of touch sensor

communication with CRF
multi-scale bio-operations

engineering, bio, medical

Summary: stronger?
-    human friendly robnotic technology to be advanced ofr aged society
-    physical/skill/intelligence supports realizable in near future
-    domains for applications: experts in medical and others. Daily life support for disabled and aged
-    usage: depends on human decision back to society

natika XXX: amazement and alarm; only available to only those who can afford it

Donald bruce:

Norton, uni of dankstedt: interested in japan and robotics. What do you think about Kevin warwick. You want to make robots work for us, he wants to be one. Who is better off?


The Nature of Human Natures?

Chair: James Tansey
James Hughes, James J.

Lee Silver




Cognitive Enhancement

Forms of enhancing intelligence

Stimulants (Lee and Ma, 1995)
Nutrients and hormones (Martinez and Kesner 1991)
Cholinergic agonists (McGaugh and Petrinoc 1995, Levin 1992, Buccafusco, et al 1995)
Piracetam famly
Consolidation enhancers

Learning enhancement for unlearning phobias and addictions (Pittman 2002; hall 2003)

Animal models

Genetic enhancement of memory

Pre- and perinatal enhancement
-    giving choline supp to pregnant rats improves performance of pups (Meck, Smith and Williams 1987; Mellott et al 2004)

external software and hardware enhancements

multielectrode recordings from more than 300 electrodes (Nicolelis et al 2003, Carmena et al 2003, Shenoy et al 2003)
Kennedy and Makay 1998
Alteheld et al 2004, von Wild et al 2002

Neuromorphic engineering
Classical AI

Psychopharmacology of cognitive enhancement
Dr Danielle Turner, Uni of Cambridge

An espresso at three in the morning is just so last year, article form Stephen Phillips (THES, last week)

Most people engage with some form of enhancement almost every day

Effective cognitive enhancement for patients
-    quality of life
-    benefits to patient, family, society

drugs as tools to investigate how the normal brain works

to improve cognitio0n in healthy indivs
for eg
-    military

one-touch tower of London planning task


Questions and Answers

Daniel Reynolds

Jennifer Swift

Lucy Kimble, SAID: will robots be smart enough to bring up children

James Tansey – ‘dyfunctional’ people often are most high performing
Joel: why would an athlete want to use modafinil?

Danielle: when Kelly white took, was not a specifically banned substance. Not sure if would enhance. Perhaps makes less impulsive.


Danielle: first time take Ritalin, performance improves. Only helps in novel situation. When familiar, it drops.

Chris, nanotech, Santa Barbera: cognitive effects of hockey stick (graph curve)

David Wood (Scottish, mobile phone industry)

Alfred nordmann –


Susan Greenfield

Healthier and longer lives
Increased leisure
Expectation of happiness

The thin line…between therapy and lifestyle

Drugs work by
-    increasing chemical messewnger (speed)
-    slow down removal (cocaine)
-    empty stores (ecstacy)
-    block it acting (trancquiliers)
-    act as imposter (heroin)
-    making trarget more /less sensitive (addiction)

cure for life experiences
-    flu
-    feeling blue
-    about to pig-out
-    moody
-    shy
-    need energy?
-    Too much energy
-    Stupid

Taking a drug might not make you better

Efficacy of smart drug determined by baseline – ie more XX your attention more effective they willl be

So called transhumanist idea probc

Difference between well-being and happiness

-    if medicate, not making them ecstatically happy
-    outside world remote
-    colourless
-    emptionally numb
-    little movement
-    anhedonia

opposite of this ‘active happiness’

screen induced as well as drug induced – plays some computer game footage.

Are we going to live in this cyberworld which will not giove us the kind of happiness that we really want

Total abandonment

Susan Greenfield – Tomorrow’s People

Alleviation of suffering
Active abandonment

-    Techno-ism: no indiv, no fulfilment
-    Fundamentalism: fulfilment, no individual
-    Consumerism: indiv, no fulfilment
-    ..or we could use to development new technology
o    eureka moment! Basis for happiness.

Professor Lord Richard Layard
LSE, Economics, Centre for Economic Performance – Programme on Well-being
Welfare to work; chaired UN Universities Economic ; Happiness: lessons from  – published march now translated into 11 languages

Happiness is simpler. A single dimension of various emotions.

David Nutt

Already there?
-    happy pills
o    pejorative term by both right and left wing media with antipathy to t drug treatment of depression
o    refer usually to antidep especially new ones, aprtic SSRIs (Prozac, Seroxat, Lustral)
o    previously benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan)
o    but none of these make people happy

potential routes for inc happi
-    decrease stress
o    amines – 5HT (noradrenaline) etc
o    peptides – especially hpa axis
-    active ‘happiness’ circuits
o    opiates, alcohol-like, ecstacy-like, drugs
o    intracranial stimulation (deep brain stimulation)

nick baylis

not happiness, but improvement – in life.
Invest in healthy relationships

Donald bruce

Broken shower story

Nuclear energy industry


What can go wrong….

-    would have known that he cheated if he had used a pill to beat dave Bedford

would we see drug induced athlete as epitome of human ability or something else.

Are there rules about human race? If we step outside, are we less human?


Stem Cell research

Current Policy in Europe

China, loose standards of ethical review.


Human genome project progress through huge global collaboration

Not poss with stem cell because some countries ban it

One of probs is

English researchers want to collab with china or India, but heldback because funding bodies concerned about how the research is carried out in development world
-    woo sung wong controversty (korea) – were supposed to come to the conference

Jerry Shatens

Flexible regulation with respect to research

Australia initially rejected cloning research and is now revisiting that

Has had a lot of attention in the media

‘funding bodies must take adequate steps to satisfy themselves that those they fund intend to carry out their research ethically and in accordance with relevant national regulations and appropriate international guidance as it emerges’.

Questions and Answers

Question: if woman consented to organ donation, would it be ethical to remove her eggs.

Julian: healthy young eggs better for research than older eggs. Science would like eggs from young healthy women, but many people’s intuition. Risks of donation eggs, small but real. Superobviation drugs associated with rare but lethal conditions

What risks can healthy individuals undergo for research? I say ‘quite significant’, but others say much less.

John harris and savulescu: like a horse race. What matters is which horse crosses the lline first, but cannot and should not back just one horse – must be collaborative.


Enhancement and Fairness,
Julian Savulescu

George Annas ‘improved, posthumans would inevitably come to view the ‘naturals’ as inferor, as  subspecies….

Francis Fukuyama
-    ‘the first victim of transhumanism might be equality…underlying this idea…

Bill McKibben
-    these would be mere consumer decisions – but aht also means that they would benefit the rich far more than the poor’

nothing new about enhancement
-    rich buy better
o    education
o    health care
o    technology

these can alter biology
direct biological intervention raises no new ethical issues
-    just a question of which theory of justice goven socity

4 concepts
- 1. Fairness or justice
2. enhancement
3. natural distribution of capabilities and disabilities
1. fairness/justice
- util
egal: strict equality; rawls maximnl

john Mackie ‘rights, utility, and universalisation’
-    right to fair go

maximising version of giving peoplpe a ‘fair go’
-    give as many people as poss a decent (reasonable) chance of decent (good) life

-    makes our lives better
-    increases t chance of us having a good life – instrumental goods (health, wealth)

biological – mor beautiful, stronger
psychology – better person
social, incliuding socially determined environment – cleaner air, better osiac secuiorty
controversial – biological or internal technological enhacenemtns – focus on these

enhamcement, disability, and capability

well-being: how well a life goes (goodness); difficult to distribute well-being
capability: state of person that inc probab of achieving a good life
disability: state of person…

what is a disability?

Typically, deafness etc

But is context dependent

Atopic tendency
-    asthma in developed world
-    potection against worm infestation in devl world

need to fix or predict social or other environment circums

biology/psychology as capability/disability
-    biological or psychology state can be predicted as ether
-    biologica contributes to health but how well life goes
-    we are all disabled

eg self control
-    in 1960s Walter Mischel conducted impulse control, 4 year old children with marshmellow, request resist, but if not give two. Followed up and the ‘delay gratification’ more likely to succeed – impulse control

other categories
capacity to work hard or be lazy – gene therapy in monkeys

Buchanan, Brock, Daniels and Wikler (‘all purpose goods’
-    intelligence, memory, self-discipline, foresight….

Autonomy enhancing traits
Moral character

Genes, not men, may hold the key to femal pleasure’- genes accounted for 31% of the chance of having an orgasm during intercourse and 51% during masturbation

3. distribution of capabilities and disabilities

not distrib equally

eg. Intelligence. – normal distribution

example performance enhancement in sport: EPO
-    natural hormone produced by kidney which stim red blood celss prod
-    Eero Maentyranta: 3 medals, had 40-50% more red blood cells

Correcting natural inequality
-    increase red blood cell level
o    natural

we could efficiently set red blood cell level
-    safety
-    performance

-    test of natural biology?
-    We want to reward naturally best

In sport, only one winner

No reason why there has to be a person who comes last in life

If unit not red cells, but units of the good life
-    is it really just that there is a natural distrib in how well life goes

social not biological enhancement
-    good reasons to prefer social rather than biological
o    if safer, more likely to be successful, if justice requires it, etc
o    but vice versa – sometimes cheaper, easier, and fairere to alter biology

responses to bioconservatives
-    nature alots advantage and disadv with no mind to fairness
-    enhancement improves peoples lives
-    how well t lives of those who are disav go depends on

-    fairness requires enhancement
-    failing to enahcnce may result in signif injustice (supervaccine)
-    conservatives guilty of social detemrinism

When /if Longer, faster strong, smarter life is happier: reflectins on slower, sustainable and more inclusive life experiences
Anil Gupta

disabled or differently abled?

When live longer do we exp more?

What is purpose of more meaningful lifelonglearning
-    accommodates community happiness
-    sensitivey towards children

what is human capital?
-    depth of social networks fo which one is a aprt
-    how do we enhance this depth
-    are we afraid of being in company of other normal impulsive, intuitive and inspirational people

ways of knowing
-    knowing, feeling and doing

who is smarter, stronger and stable?
-    smartness lies in sharing opps

Towards a Fairer Distribution of Technology…
Zhao Yangdong

Inequality and immunisatin

Gregor Wolbring

Enhancement would be doping

Link enhancement products to health

2 chjoices

WHO definition – complete social well-being not just absence of disease
-    social well-being still part of health

more common now is well-being above and health is a determinant of it

for today, health is seen as just medical health

transhjumanist model of health
-    no matter how conventionally medically healthy, body is defined as limited and in need of modification

‘everyone is impaired’
-    Rachel also said this, but with diff connotation

Amatyra sen

David nutt
-    pharma not going into happier drugs – cannot sell in medical framework so too many probs

transhumanisation of medicalisation


Enhancement, Justice and rights: immortality
John Harris

Art Panel


Polar produce, mixed media experiences
Ma, music within therapeutic context

What kinds of knowledge do art/design practitioners have?

Why – it’s I the mix, baby’
Languages and knowledges
Lens and frames

Difference between artist and scientist

Approach, language, tools, privileging certain types of knowledge, methods, outcomes, reception, interpretations

-    cyclic creative processes, question finding, depth and explorationh, knowledge generation, outputs/outcomes, transformations

ME: artists believe they are the only ones who are marginal

Blurring the traditional ‘audience-spectator’ relationships – where the audience becomes part of the performance – and the performer becomes a member of the audience

Tina Gonsalves
UCL Cognitive Sci,
AHRC, ACE fellowship

She had read some pieces

Mobile phone project with University of Toronto

Rama gheerawo
Research fellow and programme leader
Designing the future through working with users
The Helen hamlyn research centre
Royal College of Art]

Inclusive design
Disability discrimination act 2004

Video ethnography

Utility pets
Elio caccavale

GM pets that do not give you the allergy

Translator for dog

Cloning pets

Genetic saving and clone, inc

Transgenic, ornamental fish, taikong corp

Utility pet memento form
-    request part of animal to be preserved

social fiction scenario



Baroness Sally Greengross

Can we make it fair
What is role of state (government bodies)
Poss to do it without them?

Wolfgang Lutz
Vienna Institute of Demography
Austrian Academy of Sciences

Suzi Leather

Spain, compensation of €900 for egg donation – how consistent with altruism?

Last year, euro parliament raised profile on Romanian clinic – led to government intervention

Concern about people trafficking

If we could only enhance one charac or trait, which one would we choose if we wanted to enhance the greatest benefit for humanity as a whole?

Creativity and Governance
Christopher Newfield

Uni of California, santa barbera
Cultural theorist and anti-dualist
Centre for nanotechnolo

Disjunction between economic thought and cultural thought

The Innovator’s Dilemma
-    clayton m christenen

open science model

minimum proprietary, peer review, open pub:
1.    tell the people
2.    listen to the people

better model

governance is governmentality, not just regulation (Foucault)
-    care for all t elements of a system in their relations

-    Coleridge: intventions are ‘proofs of original genius only as far as they are modified by a predominant passion, or…when a human and intellectual life is transffered to them from the poet’s own spirit’

The creative process
-    mihaly csikszentmihalyi (+CN)
o    preparation
o    incubation
o    insight
o    evaluation
o    elaboration

governance (governmentality) must support this for community members

governing collaborations
-    Simonton, rhotgen, 2003, seibold, henwfield

Maximising innovation is to set up a social system

Better model
1.    governance is governmentality, not just regulation
2.    better modelled as collaborative creativity than as markets, regulation or top-down management (but includes these)
3.    collaborative creativity works much better with equality in relations , in labs (valued ‘bridges’)
4.    analogy among nations: innovation cannot be separated from justice
5.    governance via global institutions promoting egalitarian communication among the diverse knowledge of all stakeholders

better model
-    from ‘the lexus or the olive tree’

to innovation via justice

Questions and Answers

Question: egg donation is uncomfortable and not without risk, if no compensation, why would a woman do this?

Suzi: sheer altruism is one, but v few people. All donors extensively counselled. Physical and emotional risks. In uk, we do allow egg sharing – in exchnge for reduce cost. Ie woman using ivf to give away some of eggs to 1 or 2 other women and recompensed in kind with reduced cost for treatment. If open system of donation, poss that fewer people will come through, but might deal with by targeting donor. Earlier, sperm donation was 18-24, now are 35-40 yr olds.

James Hughes:

Suzi: challenge your view that regulation restricts. In uk, not true. Clear benefit. What does restrict is that this is not available on NHS and this is by far most imp issue. Most generous country is Israel. – all about state funding. Perhaps with ageing popultion this will improve elsewhere.

Anders: if free innovation is needed in governmentality, if have more bridges, prob is that transdisciplinarity, but gov structure wil have prob getting solutions, restfucture government? Complementary institutions?

Chris Newfield: practical construction  effort

Donald Bruce: is there distinction between enhancement and medical? HFEA has embodied that on sex selection for family balancing. Council of Europe has embodied on convention on human rights and biomedicine – sex selection only for serious gender related genetic disease. What is rationale for the distinction? It is one I support, but is it valid as result of distinction?

Suzi: evidence is that public does think can draw clear distinction between selection for family balancing and disease, for instance. Do I think this will hold? No I don’t. I thjink it will be increasingly difficult to do that. One of the reasons is because any kind of disadvantage that can be conceived of as a disability, parents will say ‘I must have this’. I must be able to have a child that doesn’t suffer from x, y or z.

Shefield institute for biotech:

Dave Wood: which charac should we enhance? If spread too far, get nowhere. becom

June 30th, 2009

The Future of Our Memories (2005, Royal Institution of Great Britain)

Bioethics // Philosophy

The Future of Our Memories
Royal Institution of Great Britain
23 June, 2005

-    Bruce Almighty, God digitised? ‘file cabinet’ of memorie
-    Share v private

Various Jim Carey movies


Hartley et al 2003
-    VR – ask neil
-    Functional magnetic resonance imaging

Graham et al 2003
-    memory related dementia
-    Alzeimers
-    Factual memory (Semantic dementia)

Vanneber Bush, 1945 – see Bergire (d-Lib), may)

-    mixed reality lab, Singapore

Alan Nevell (dunde, social memory)

Miniature recording device

48 hrs of video – reality tv – dull – audience

Rugge et al

Hans Berger 1929

Quroga et al 2005 – face recog

Kriema et al 2000


June 25th, 2009

British Philosophy of Sport Association (2005)

Philosophy // Sport

BPSA2005 Conference Notes

Sigmund Loland

From morals to medicine – a justification

Why sport?
T values of sport to t indiv and soc
A selective, critical review of answers from the past and t current
A sketch of a possible justification
Some implications

Arnold and muscular Christianity
Coubertin’s ilympism
Nansen: avoid sport and practice idrett – body culture of sports (or rather: skiing, the idrett of idretts)
Camus: everything I know about ethics I’ve learned from sports

Doxa: sport is good!
Children and youth sport
-    a safe enviro
-    sport as a tool in socialization
elite sports
-    the system
-    the athlete

Children’s sport and moral development (Bredemaier & Shields; Olweus)
Elite sports and the society of the spectacle (Gebauer)
The fascistoid roots of our admiration for sport heros (Tannsjo)

No obvious connection between sport and morality


Prevalent ideas related to sport:

1700s, French Encyclopedie (de Wachter)
1800s: t development of applied physiology and medicine (Hoberman)
the workers’ sport movement of the mid war period (AIF)
-    picked up idea of sport as health

WHO: overweight a global epidemic
1985-2004: av weight increase in adults +5-6kg
1993-2000: overweight 14yrs old from 7.5%-11.5% (Andersen et al, 2004)
SDS: sedentary death syndrome

The hegemonic discourse

Crude instrumntalism and sociological naivete
Individualization in a visual culture
Medicalizartion (Zola, Waddington)
Strong paternalism (hidden paternalism)
‘revenge of the body’


Sport as a tool

Experiential qualities I
Direct and sensual v win and lose
Mastery and failure v cooperation and conflict
Pleasure and pain v us and them

Experiential qualities II
-    a concrete, embodied and sensual quest for answers to existential questions
-    what can I/we do? What are my/our possibilities in time and space? What can i/we do as compared to others? Who am i/we?

Sport: testing out of our possibilities as embodied, sensual I’s

Normative anchoring
-    Aristotelian eudaimonism: a holistic theory of ends
-    Life as a web of values
-    Neo-aristotelian virtue ethics (MacIntyre, McNamee)
-    Standards of excellence – internal goods – virtues – moral virtue – the/a good life

Morality and health as integrated values of variable significance
Critique: high strung idealism versus practical knowledge
Politics of justification and the unity and diversity of life

Could you imagine a version of boxing that did not fall prey to your sorts of concern – is it the ethos you reject or the activity
-    critique is buying into the society of the spectacle thesis, rather than the activity

he is talking about the minds of people who watch

Mike McNamee

Polemical philosophy

‘human nature itself lies on the operating table, rdy for alteration, for eugenic and neuropsychic ‘enhancement’, for wholesale design. In leading laboratories, academic and industrial, new creators are condiently amassing their powers, while on the street their evangelists are zealously prophesying a posthuman future’ (Kass, L, 2002)

motivational set of technology
-    baconian/Cartesian conceptions of science and its powers
-    to question their instantation in a new modern ideology ‘transhumanism’sport medicines, genetics and t ‘enhancement’ ideology
-    which Prometheus? Hesoid versus Aeschylus
-    from athletic to medical hubris (mortality & Mortality)

technology to control nature

Nuances of myths of Prometheus – lens for hubris of genetic medicine

science after bacon
-    obsession w physical perfectioniams arises as a moral imperative, as sociologists of body have noted, w increasing pervasiveness of modern technology. Roots oder
-    Bacon and Descarte emerges t impulse not merely to describe mechanically t operation of nature, but to control it

Moral topography
-    Charles Taylor on moral sources of modern identity
-    In sport med, might be about drawing relief, natural and artif of work of scientists therein
-    As a metaphor for what I take to be t natural work of medicine in the relief of suffering and t artificiality of perf enhancement or t augmentation of natural abilities as opposed to t tradl therapeutic role of medicine

Physicians often sucked into ‘enhancement’

Nature and purposes of medicine hotly contested
Roots in healing tradition
Assist in presence of someone who suffers
Telos of medicine
This is lost to sports medicine

Kass’ classification of biomedical technology
-    control of death and life
-    control of human potentialities
-    control of human achievements
-    Kass, L.. (1985, 19-24)
-    IVF – redefines life and death (not for this paper – ME: YES IT IS!)

Control of human potentialities

Genetic engineering wields 2 powers not shared by medical practice
1.    medicine treats exiting indivs and corrects deviations from health norms
2.    genetic engineering promises alterations to future generations (germ line therapy) and may create new capacities (hence new norms of health/fitness)


Changing germline is new.  – ME: NOT REALLY

Not merely to restore, but to augment

Contrl of human capacities
-    the limits of many capacities and powers of an idiv are indeed genetically determined, but t nurturing and perfection of these capacities depends upon other influences’ (Kass, 23) (eg. Neurological and psychological manipulation
-    ‘from its inception, modern science has been especially interested in finding reliable biological means-means more effective than exhortation or praise or blame-to attain t ends of sensible, decent, human conduct and peace of mind’ (ibid)

new ethics for new  biology. But not sure
New biology: old ethics
-    Edelstein (1967: 357-9) notes t ancient greek philosophers task of undermining t glorification of t body
-    McKenny cites pplat’s questions in t Republic when..

Plato’s questions
-    how much attention should we dvote t our bodies in t effort to optimize our capacities?
-    How much control should?
-    What endsw?
-    What limits …remove causes of suffering?

Scientist – reductionism

New biology: new ethics?
-    ideology – transhumanism
-    strong transhumanism –
-    weak transhumanism – human nature is a half-baked project
o    no respect for sanctity of life

Sports medicine and scientism
-    formerly when religion was storng and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak,

anti-ageing main concern
-    we should shed human nature
-    taylor ‘we are vulnerable’
-    we should do everything we can to stop it

ME: critique of sci fi!?

Concern about ‘ideal blueprint’

Habermas, jonas, kass, macintryre,

ME: chris gray – cyborg
-    sex alteration surgery
-    disability


‘Natural is meaningless’ (miah)
-    not meaningless, but you might disagree with it

-    overpower god
-    cunning of human to be as good as god








Man is man as far as is hand can reach, as far as the purpose of his world extend

Become corporeal by means of hand and speech

Why the hand and not the leg?

Corporeality process

Man assumes emotional figures – existence


We don’t understand ourselves

Universal values have vanished

Gypsies of Europe

Predicated by Nietzsche

Great strength is greatest priority

Speech is essential part of our corporeality
Doesn’t pertain only to doctors or semiology, or grammarians, literates, etc

Speech is only an extn of the hand

When hand no longer writes through hand, but through speech, what will happen
-    breaking of art, where hand forms meaningful words

what will happen with speech and words
-    changed only into symbols

speech taken over by semiology

profound meanings of words will dwindle

transformed into a machine, tool?

Production merely

Physical education responsibility for speech

Hand and words are only means to transcendence

What will happen with the hand?

Managed by computers

Transcendence by sport is victory over self

What about a typing competition
-    give someone a title and ask them to write it


Hoberman – dehumanisation- ME:  but  he meant alienation (and he is right)

ME: do we need a precise notion of human? (I think he is also arguing for this)

Warnock – embryo rights – she
- we don’t need to get into humanness (ME: but that agrees w Warnock!)

humans – as homo sapiens (strong)
-    dignity persons (weak)

we are all human – product of our actions

ME: prob is that we do operationalise human!

Dehuman, not less than human
Use to work human in weak sense, but not humanness

Edgar – dignity – undignified – don’t talk about dignity when feel undignified

Human definition arises out of sense of being dehumanised

Persons need not be human (McNamee? ME: no!)

What gives sport value?which sport, for whom, etc?


Clear view of t misunderstanding
Terms such as dehuman used in specific kinds of context

Contrasts – different beings
-    prob is that they are oft drawn in way
-    drawing t line – ME: we don’t like it, but this is how people conceptualise issues!

Degrading – lack of feeling is inhuman, but not non-human


Selection as a vehicle – throughout sport and elsewhere

Conflict of differing philosophy in sport

Different between objectively measured sports and subjectively measured (team sports)

Gov policy driven by sports councils – uk sport

New athlete contract just published
-    given to 16yr old, 17p document
-    says: we all agree that the overriding thing is to win medals at Olympic championships

institutions of sport act as guardians

performance directors in governing bodies – their job is to win medals – they now have subjective method by which to select people – Olympic profiling – to receive funding and stay in programme, reqs to meet perf directors assessment of what is Olympic profiling
-    is asked ‘if athlete wins championship for 3 years, would they get on programme’ – performance  dir says no.
-    creates biased selection policies

In objective sport, should be no selectors – performance  on day matters only

Blame governing bodies – complicit, rejected commerce, thirst for resources,

Government role
-    top down agenda in very item
-    UK Sport cd: seeking perfection

Performance director should be tied to the performance of the athletes for which they make selection

When threatened, sports institutions act like nation states

British sport should celebrate process, rather than medals



Definition of sport – psychophysio sphare

Doping in sport relationship – if doping is alteration in different relational spheres
-    intra personal – relationship betweenathlete and body
o    doping – loss of develo of personality
o    limit – surpass oneself
-    inter personl – negation of propium over sport
-    doping compression of games diemsion
o    not charac by gratuitousness
o    perversion

doping = rejectiung principle outlayed breq to entre into comp

Dr Giovanni Franchi
Universita di Teramo


Different kinds of injury
-    injury prior to contest
-    iinjury sustained to non-contXX
-    injurie sustained as reslt of actions from non-contestant
-    injuries sustained as result of foul play

referee must top t game – ME: t player should adopt some referee status
-    t rule is badly formulated
-    self-offciating/governing
-    is it fair only if we interpret t incorrect reading of the rule?

Fraleigh Right Actions
-are players following guiding of principleof equal of opp
intentionality is imp
non-moral principle

health/well being not only concern
-    do not stop player if ‘normal injury

ME: if injured player is on attacking team?

Principle of voluntary and dual assessment

Permit medical team to attend to athlete without ceasing play

Is guilt approp response to injury? McNamee, EJSS 2002
-    shame and moral failing, guilt and shame – guilt proper respons to transgress of code, shame is not reaching an ideal
-    -if harm unintntionly, rawls says subjective guilt – guilt sign of virtue – causally responsible but not morally


Popper – overstaed claimn of sci method rejected

Account of science
-    Popper?
-    Creation science
-    If meet Popper

Kuhn – different between natural nad social science
-    truth denied, t pomo
-    natural sci – 2 phases: normal sci – unpacking of past insight, paradigm in place – crisis and revolution when absence of single paradigm – makes no sense
-    physics etc failure to invoke conXX over fundamentals
-    sociology always contested  – Kuhnan explans why

limitations – socio,psych have competing view of social world
Kuhn – how align?

But should be – social world – perspective dependent

question about why in social science you have paradigm claim as barrier to conversations between subject areas?

June 25th, 2009

the state of the real (2003, Glasgow School of Art)


State of the Real, Notes
Glasgow School of Art, Nov 2003.

‘The Real’ just got realer
Clive Fencott and Jo Clay
SpIDERStudio, School of Computing, Uni of Teesside

Theories of virtual content
-    perceptual opportunities

Predictive content modelling
-    look at way people behave in virtual environments and try to predict what they do

Experimental investigations
-    eye-tracker technology – to see what they notice and how they respond

semiotics of games and VR
-    need to look beyond computing to ustd content of virtual environments

First Thoughts

Hyperreality and (self) consciousness

Plato’s cave walls

The craft of thought – Mary Carruthers
-    medieval thought practices

Baudrillard’s news (not new)

VR and ‘the real’

How real can t simulation get?
Hyperreality becomes
-    confusion of sensory frameworks
-    NOT a myth without referent and t real

VR, also called Virutal Environments (Ves) is a new interface paradigm to create ….
-    technology of replacement of sensations of t real
-    embodying interface (t technology I where, which replaces sensations)

-    ‘t willing suspension of disbelief’ colleridge
-    perception illusion of non-mediation

totally present while (very) partially immersed

Total immersion

Haptic technology
-    data gloves, etc

Gorillas in the Bits
-    can move around and look at gorillas, but can also die, by looking too much at alpha male
o    partially immersed (but not very)

-    head set and stereo headphones, but also a vest, which moves you when you move

Mechanic of immersion

Meditative VR
-    electronic
-    electro-mechanical
-    electro-chemical-mechanical (can create smells by squirting things up nose)

remove and replacing sensory cue that lead to sensation

proprioception gets in the way

so, meditative VR doesn’t work (n terms of total immersion)

Total Immersion

Invasive VR
-    bypass nervous system
o    eliminating sensation
o    virtual stimulation
o    major film genre
•    extistenz, matrix, dark city
-    ExistenZ Technology
o    implants
•    retinal, inner ear
•    neural interface chips (currently being used to replace parts of brain)
•    neurotropic electrodes
•    electrodes with chemicals to permit acceptance of electrodes to accept artifice
o    tetraplegics have used
•    biomechanics

In the film being plugged in is like ‘having your ears pierced’

Sense of self gets in the way

Realists in the film need not worry

VR as simulation
-    total immersion
-    myth without referent

VR for real
-    as a medium of simulation
-    games
-    virtual training environments
-    virtual artworks

VR is a simulation itself

Doubly unconscious

What we have forgotten or repressed (Freud)
What we have learned and experiencd unconsciously (knowing how)
Do we exp
-    t real
-    and the hyperreal
-    simulatenously?

Playing with simuilations

Virtual therapy
Phobias of fear of:
-    flying, heights, open spaces
-    SpIDERS
Higher levels of immersion
Greater effectiveness of therapy


A possibility
-    Real just got realer
-    Because t sims can get realer, but the sims are flawed
-    Real will always be t reference

-    exp other reals often
-    return to ‘the real’
-    paradigmatic test for ‘reals
-    play a lot of mindless games (tetris)
o    go with t flow
o    exp t real
o    through your second unconscious

Stelarc’s Head

Prosthetic head – 40 years of work with diff technologies
‘Online version’
-    is there such a difference!?

Hayles: how we became posthuman
-    manipulation of symbols
-    info lost its body
o    more complex info becomes, more t sep of mind and body becomes apparent
o    cartesian dualism

Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger all considered this

Kant and Hegel – achieve infinite

Husserl/Heidegger – realm of finite


Husserl/heid – normality

Hayles critique of technological devel – be ustd by mind alone
-    body not necessary

modernity or post?

Modernity: horkheimer: master nature, and attack nature of ourselves

Ability to create

Sado-masachism of suspension
-    ME: this is not S&M at all

Posthuman project would answer that Stelarc’s head is an example of human identity

ME: but the cybernetic tradition does not have consensus on this. The nature of AI is still disputed

As a piece of art, the head is democratic
-    creates diff rel to art
o    interact it and inform it

Michael Smyth (Background in interaction design)
Deigning for Embodied Interaction – experiencing artefacts with and through t body

Where is technology heading: Skins and environment

Where does this leave t body?

Need our body to make sense of t world

In VR we are disembodied
-    this is a speculative assertion. It also misrepresents virtuality

ME: just because t body is value, it doesn’t mean it has special value, such that we need not seek to transcend it

Role of 1:1 models – necessity to create something proportional to our bodies

Closest link is installation artists


-    multi-.. structure
-    go in to exp sense of sight, sound, touch

ME: stelarc’s head is not stelarc’s art.
Real Photography

Defn of photography

Oliver Wendell-Homes – mirror with a memory
Cinema and digital photography – threaten ‘established’ ontology of photography

Photograph as transparent record and as object

Defn of photography rely on
-    equivalence of forms
-    embodiment of this in an image

dangers of forfitting rootedness

should leave photograph behind

plus: immanence – philosophical notion from Deleuze and Guattari
-    after D&G photography as

Transparency and objecthood

Thierry de Duve

Andre Bazin – alluciantion that is also a fact

A mixture of fictions – Walton

A record of reality refracted through a sensibility –

‘it shares t being of the model

Sruton, R.  – photography as a ‘gesturing finger’

Lunenfeld, p – dubitative

Modernist foto relied on uniqueness in time and space

Interent – art without walls

Roberts, jon – extended contextual space

Roland barthes – camera lucida

Sean and Jennifer

Richard Lewontin – science as ideology (it is not objective)


What rights will an artificial organism have?


Colonialism, man-made organisms – what rights?

-    inter-displinary …
-    futuristic cloning
-    studying irrational and grotesque

-    natural instance of cloning

disparatary bw science and corporate language

not scientists, but have tried to understand it!
-    that is a scientist

little accurate reference to use of genetic modification

little ustdg of ethical issues


Advanced Cell Technology
Noah – ist cloned endangered animal
Lily, Daffordil, Crocus, Forsythia

George and Charlie

Severino Antinori

Raelian Clonaid
-    captured popular imagination by claiming to clone

digital model product line of GM organisms

-    cancerous growth (germ-line)

catholic church baptised terratomas until 60s, believed were virgin birth

-    devel of embryo from unfertilised egg
-    cannot lead to a live (but asso with notion of pregnancy)

research will lead to therapeutic cloning technology
-    holy grail of cloning

terratoma – deadly form of cancer
-    eduardo kac
-    symbiotic research group

ethical problems about what these are doing as artists

Alba, t fluorescent bunny
Photo: Cryhstelle Fontaine

Kac: bioart has increased genetic diversity!
-    to destroy these crates

Art as a form of life
By W. Wayt Gibbs

Kac: showman

Joe Davis: genestheticist
-    selfclaimed most prolific author in history

ethical concerns about the organism
-    lack functional nervous system (do not know where pain begins and ends)
-    lack cognition
-    research on human subjects

artist tissue bank
-    take tissue and cells from artists
-    not more invasive than tattoo, etc

these tissue would be discarded anyway

Ann-Sophie Lehmann

Representations of skin through painting

Oil paint as lively pain
Images so real, that appears as real flesh


Ron Mueck
National Gallery resident artist last year, Netherlands

Performance and Space

Experiential place making and the new real
Jasper Joseph-Lester, Goldsmiths College London

-    holds values: permanence

Selfridges, Oxford St
-    supplementary space (both present and absent)
-    informed by logic of commodity

Bluewater, Kent
-    Simulated space
-    Transporting exp of being in busy city centre, into countryside

Commodification of space – places demands on architecture

Marxist analysis of commodity

Prada, NYC, 5th Avenue
-    new level of automation
-    clothes hidden from shopper
-    changing rooms with videos in mirrors to offer new ways of viewing the clothes
-    movement bw video and mirror

centre of architecture is the commodity
process of automation
market brings value to t commodity

Marx and commodity
illusory body of t commodity
wooden table transcends sensuousness

Selfridges, Birmingham
-    automated interior
-    exterior: spun aluminium discs
o    responds to light of sun and appears to move with light
o    curvaceous con
o    templre reality of shopping experience

phantasmic surplus of retail architecture

territories and distinctions
Performing the Real
Lennaart van Oldenborgh

Realness of image is property of origin

First wave – mass dissemination of cam corders
-    candid tv


Reality-Gameshow format

Pentagon collaborated with Hollywood
-    reporting the war Jessica Lynch rescue

(Video) – can we still trust documentaries to tell us t truth
-    Rita Vort?

Daddy’s Girl (channel 4)
-    rel bw father and daughters
-    fictional boyfriend
-    pulled from schedule at last minute

Madonna lipstick commercial
-    playing herself in the ‘in bed with madonna’ film through this video

ref to Lacan – jubilant assumption of respecting the image

snuff videos – mythical genre of real death
-    did someone actually die here?
-    Is this video the last moments of this life?
-    Witnessing the passing of life.
-    Life becomes death (reveals death to us)

Suicide box footage
-    of real deaths
-    statistical indifference of San Francisco coast guard, who stopped counting the number of suicides
-    as a result of his indifference, the box would record presumed suicides
-    result is haunting and ironic
o    indiscriminately repetitive
o    one after the other dropping off
o    merely see black dots
•    ME: why cant they be more detailed (zoom!?)

Violence and death, the unassimilable, become the … of the real

Darren Brown’s Russian roulette
-    only way that can guarantee realness is if he blows his brains out

Slavoj Zizek
real: nostalgic fantasy for t real
-    defining charac of 20th c

Arts, Prepresentation and Responsiibility: towards a system aesthetic
James Coupe

Conscious art work
Non-anthropocentric syntax
Self-author and emergent
Challenge notions of authorship
1928: general systems theory – challenge to castesian, Newtonian
cybernetic: feedback systems (self-contained and self-regulatory)
open and closed systems (living as closed – cannot ustd syst by ustdg parts in isolation)


from object oriented to system oriented (systems consciousness)

posthuman art: human is no longer focus of the art

art that is alive, replace t human organism

ME: but replacing the human as artist right? Or human in art?

AI – effort to make a machine behave like a human

If a machine must be inttell, then logic must be based on itself rather than human
-    machine with own logic, would not be attempting to replicate something else (simulation) and would thus be real

Smith’s entropy: system as ungraspable

Kant’s distinction bw phenomena and noumena

Digital Warfare (art work)
-    system that connected people together of gallery guests, through text messaging
-    social instersis

Net Object
Leonard Latiff

Cyborg Art History: Techno-aesthetics and metafictions of digital culture
Elizabeth Menon

(ppt on web)

REF: Virtual Art: from illusion to immersion – not very good for here students

Benjamin and McLuhan possible theorist, but many

Brenda Laurel – computer as theatre

transgressions bw past and accepted media
download original image and it murges with your own


Ann Hamilton
-    multi media with live performers

Yugo Nakamura
-    design/art? No navigation on website

June 25th, 2009

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