School of Law

Ethical and Security Implications of Emerging Technologies

07 May 2015 | 5pm - 6pm | Seminar

This is a free seminar but registration is required in advance via Eventbrite.

Human innovation is advancing at breakneck speeds.  Things we never dreamed of are becoming reality and include: synthetic biology, bioinformatics, cognitive enhancement, genetic engineering, 3D and 4D printing, Artificial intelligence, automated weapon systems, invisibility cloaks, quantum computing and even neuromorphic computing.  Along with their obvious massive potential, these advancements also pose significant risks to social stability, equality, human dignity, free will, national and global security, and even to the very survival of our species.

How can we make sure that these constantly evolving technological innovations don’t destroy humanity or exacerbate inequalities and privacy intrusions? Emerging technologies offer states more instruments and means for control and surveillance, often infringing on civil liberties. The balance between States' need to know in the name of security and the respect for privacy must be pursued more fervently. Also non-state actors like large multi-national corporate entities that collect massive amounts of personal data, need to be better regulated.

We must balance the dizzying potentials of technological advancements with security and ethical concerns, and move from risks to regulations, and that should include mechanisms for overseeing the overseers. In this we need to enact strict global regulatory measures without stifling innovation.

This seminar will explore the opportunities and dangers presented by the unchecked exponential evolution of emerging technologies, and how they may change the very fabric of what it means to be human.

Prof. Nayef Al-Rodhan

Prof. Nayef Al-Rodhan, MD, PHD, is a philosopher, neuroscientist, geostrategist and author. He is an Honorary Fellow at St.Antony's College, the University of Oxford , UK, and Senior Fellow and  Director of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland. He was educated at the Mayo Clinic, Yale University, and Harvard University.  He is a Prize-winning scholar who has written 21 books and numerous articles on Emerging Strategic Technologies, Political Philosophy, Neuro-philosophy, Outer Space Security, Sustainable security, Sustainable Governance, Trans-cultural Security and Geopolitics. He has also pioneered the study of the intersection of Neuroscience and International Relations. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Meta-Council on emerging technologies and the Nanotechnology Global Agenda Council.  His ideas, articles and books can be found at  and

Location Details


School of Law
Liberty Building
University of Leeds

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