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Living Technology

Philosophy and Ethics at the Crossroads Between Life and Technology

by Armin Grunwald

This book is a milestone in spelling out responsibility dealing with cutting-edge research and technology that is transgressing established boundaries between life and technology. You hardly can imagine a better guide for navigating through the complex and controversial ethical debates on this challenging endeavor than Armin Grunwald. All of those, who are going to scrutinize their own judgements on pressing issues like synthetic biology, animal and human enhancement, genome editing, robotics, or artificial intelligence will benefit from this excellent book wrapping up the author’s outstanding knowledge, reliable judgement, and excellent communicative skills in the fields of philosophy and ethics of technology, bioethics, and environmental ethics.

Prof. Peter Dabrock, Former Chair of the German Ethics Council, Germany
  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9789814877701
  • Subject: Science
  • Published: June 2021
  • Pages: 354

The boundaries between inanimate technology and the realm of the living become increasingly blurred. Deeper and deeper technological interventions into living organisms are possible, covering the entire spectrum of life from bacteria to humans. Simultaneously, digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI) enable increasingly autonomous technologies. Inanimate technologies such as robots begin to show characteristics of life. Contested issues pop up, such as the dignity of life, the enhancement of animals for human purposes, the creation of designer babies, and the granting of robot rights.

The book addresses the understanding of the ongoing dissolution of the life/technology borders, the provision of ethical guidance for navigating research and innovation responsibly, and the philosophical reflection on the meaning of the current shifts. It offers three specific perspectives for understanding the challenges and providing orientation. First, the dissolution of the boundaries between technology and life is analyzed and reflected from both sides. Second, the search for orientation is not restricted to ethics but also involves philosophy of technology and of nature, as well as anthropology. Finally, instead of restricting the analysis to specific areas of life, e.g., bacteria or animals, the book presents a comprehensive look at the entire spectrum of living organisms—bacteria and viruses, plants, animals and humans—and robots as possible early forms of emerging technical life.