Ethics: the show killer of innovation – or vice versa
Imagine having twenty-eight doctors and scientists in a secluded quarry discussing medical ethics and new technologies. What would happen? What would be the main focus of their reflections?
Would they still find the four principles of healthcare ethics—autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence—to be valid?
This decade will be the most pioneering in history. What are the implications of human intervention in evolution, and can we do it responsibly? Can we analyze the future of health, explore the convergence of fast-moving technologies, and encourage ethical reflection, without slowing down progress?
On June 9th, 2019, author of Exponential Ethics, Nicoletta Iacobacci from Etica.ly for DayOne ran a masterclass event diving into the positive and not-so-positive consequences of emerging medical technologies. The aim? To discuss ways to update and revise ethical principles.
Several topics were explored: The impact of cloning, the relationships between doctors, patients and robots; the significance of digital transformation, the viability of immortality, the chain reaction of big data, the challenge of ectogenesis, the potential of life coding and DNA editing. The risk of artificial intelligence and gender bias were also covered.
Conversations stemming from the event were stimulating, thought-provoking, and in some cases, controversial. But attendees certainly raised several concerns that require new thinking today.
The discussions also made clear that the ethics masterclass was a forerunner. Participants confessed that they seldom get together, free from their professional status, to discuss the impact of exponential progress. And we concluded that debating these controversial but remarkable topics is essential to creating a healthy medical practice that keeps pace with technology -- even raising the question if the Hippocratic Oath will need a drastic revision.