FOEA Emerging tech Project

Doomsday Clock edges closer to midnight as risks of emerging tech go unchecked

This year the Doomsday Clock was set at three minutes to midnight, two minutes closer to catastrophe than in 2014. The members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board cited unchecked climate change, nuclear weapons and emerging technological threats such as synthetic biology and artificial intelligence as the reasons we are teetering towards global catastrophe. According to the Bulletin “world leaders have failed to...

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Government’s deregulatory extremism puts public at risk

We are surrounded by regulation. Every moment of our waking and sleeping lives is populated with a vast regulatory network. There are thousands of regulations relating to our homes, our clothes, our foods, the way we drive, the places we work, the wages we receive, the super we contribute to, the environment we live in and depend on for life. Many of these regulations have saved lives and protected property and biodiversity. But regulation in...

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Australian court hands biotech company a patent on life

“A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.” These are the first words in a 2013 US Supreme Court decision regarding a patent on the human BRCA 1 gene – a product of nature that has been isolated. Last week the Australian Federal Court ruled that the same patent was valid  – directing contradicting the Supreme Court decision. The Federal Court’s...

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Religious right fights corporate right in patent stoush

Good news of sorts on the patent front. After decades of expansive interpretations of patent law to include patents on pretty much anything, including life, knowledge and ideas; after decades of governments supporting expansion of intellectual property protections for the benefit of corporations, we have a small step in the other direction. In two recent, rulings the conservative US Supreme Court has limited the scope of patents, rejecting...

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The use of techno-utopian narratives to further corporate control

Techno-utopianism (n.) − any ideology based on the belief that advances in science and technology will eventually bring about a utopia, or at least help to fulfil one or another utopian ideal. It is tempting to dismiss techno-utopian views as the realm of fringe dwellers − largely irrelevant to the workings of the world. After all, techno-utopianism has been around an awfully long time with not a lot of utopia to show for it. The view that...

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