Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


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Converging Technologies and Human Destiny


William Sims Bainbridge
By William Sims Bainbridge
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32(3): 197 - 216

Posted: Jul 9, 2007

The rapid fertility decline in most advanced industrial nations, coupled with secularization and the disintegration of the family, is a sign that Western Civilization is beginning to collapse, even while radical religious movements pose challenges to Western dominance.

Under such dire circumstances, it is pointless to be cautious about developing new Converging Technologies. Historical events are undermining the entire basis of ethical decision-making, so it is necessary to seek a new basis for ethics in the intellectual unification of science and the power to do good inherent in the related technological convergence. This article considers the uneasy relations between science and religion, in the context of fertility decline, and the prospects for developing a new and self-sustaining civilization based in a broad convergence of science and technology, coalescing around a core of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive technologies. It concludes with the suggestion that the new civilization should become interstellar.

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William Sims Bainbridge Ph.D. is an IEET Senior fellow, and a prolific and influential sociologist of religion, science and popular culture. Dr. Bainbridge serves as co-director of Human-Centered Computing at the NSF.
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