Allenby Publishes on Enhanced Soldiers

Faculty Fellow Brad Allenby published and article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists exploring the technological advancements that could lead to modified warriors. Designer Warriors: Altering Conflict- and humanity itself? discusses the developments in technology have been increasing rapidly, leaving virtually every aspect of human beings contingent and subject to design. These developments have a broad range of enhancements, ranging from gene editing, to cognitive manipulation to computer- brain interfaces, leaving the possibilities for enhancements open.

From a military standpoint, these enhancements have been pursued enthusiastically and open up options for enhanced warriors. These warriors may be the solution to challenges nations with powerful militaries face, but could also bring risks along with the newfound enhancements. Enhanced warriors could be the key for nations to project power without suffering casualties, and strengthen the combat abilities drastically. With varying levels of enhancement, from temporary enhancements to a human to integrated wetware/software/hardware meta systems that will extend beyond individual human capabilities.

Considering that the average number of births per woman is below the replacement rate, these enhanced warriors will also help with the problem of low birth rates in globally powerful states, so their military doesn’t have to suffer for the low volume of soldiers. But these enhancements pose a risk of destabilizing laws of armed conflict and related international norms, and pose a challenge when it comes to the ethical, institutional and operational realms of combat. Questions are raised on how these enhances soldiers will be governed and what their standards will be, the ethical dilemma of possibly altering a warrior’s identity, the implications of reversible enhancements, and more.

Many enhancements are both effective and unproblematic, for example, pharmaceuticals are used in today’s military for missions where alertness is key, like long flights. But there are some proposed enhancements that need to be evaluated for ethical, institutional, and operational implications.

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Marchant to Speak on AI at SingularityU Event

Faculty Director Gary Marchant is set to speak about artificial intelligence (AI) at the Phoenix Chapter Meeting for Singularity University on January 22, 2019. The meeting will explore the recent advances in AI and discuss why this technology is likely the most important and fundamental technological revolution in human history.

AI’s recent application surge is due to the technological leap forward that provides for a more powerful form of the technology. These advances in AI come with great benefits and risks. Advancements in AI will bring along potentially beneficial changes to personal assistants, healthcare, autonomous vehicles, industrial processes and human companions. But there are risks as well. Biased algorithms, malfunctions resulting in human injury, unemployment, military destabilization, and existential risks are all associated with new advancements in AI.

Marchant will provided a background on the key technological advances that made AI what it is today, discuss important benefits of modern AI technology in public and private use, and assess some of the major risks associated with AI. Register to attend here

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Faculty Fellow Andrew Maynard Talks Sci-Fi with SETI

Faculty Fellow Andrew Maynard, who just published Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Moviesgrabbed some popcorn to chat sci-fi and emerging technology with the SETI Institute’s Big Picture Science podcast.

Maynard’s new book uses popular movies – like Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Ex Machina, and more – to explore emerging technologies and ethical issues raised by their development. Artificial intelligence, gene editing, cloning, predictive policing. All of these raise interesting and difficult questions.

These are not just theoretical questions. For example, Maynard talked to podcast hosts Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley about Dr. He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who recently claimed to have created the first human babies genetically modified using CRISPR technology. Dr. He was attempting to engineer HIV resistance into embryos, which were implanted into a woman who recently gave birth to twin girls. He has been widely denounced by the scientific community and is currently under house arrest imposed by the Chinese government.

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Diana Bowman Co-authors Study on Intersection Safety

Faculty Fellow Diana Bowman co-authored a recently published study on the impact of intersection design on driver safety. The study, Evaluation of alternative intersection treatments at rural crossroads using simulation software, was published in Traffic Injury Prevention.

The study used crash simulations to look at the effect of different intersection layouts, technologies, and traffic policies on rural roads. The design of intersections on rural roads make them disproportionately likely sites for injuries and fatalities, even though they see far less traffic than intersections in cities. The authors determined that improvements in intersection design and policy could save lives and prevent injuries.

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2019 Blockchain Speaker Series: Blockchain and Energy Policy

LSI is kicking off the new year with the first in our Spring 2019 Blockchain Speaker Series! This speaker series will hone in on promising and controversial applications for blockchain technology. Energy policy, healthcare, smart contracts, and your very identity are set to be revolutionized by this technology.

The first session will cover Blockchain and Energy Policy and will feature presentations and discussion from:

Landon Stevens (Policy Advisor to ACC Commissioner Andy Tobin)
Jaycen Horton (Principal Blockchain Architect, Nori)
Gary Marchant (Faculty Director, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law)

Details:
January 16, 2019 – 12:00pm to 1:30pm (lunch provided)
Beus Center for Law and Society

The speaker series is offered on Give What You Want basis. You can RSVP here. (May qualify for up to 1 hour of CLE credit.)

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Center Report: Blockchain in the Courts

The Center for Law, Science and Innovation held the First Annual Dennis Karjala Memorial Workshop on November 3, 2018 at the Beus Center for Law and Society. This year’s theme was Blockchain in the Courts.

Workshop participants engaged in lively presentations and discussion of topics, including existing and future frameworks for the governance of blockchain applications, the legal and practical challenges bearing on discovery and admissibility of blockchain evidence, and potential governmental uses for blockchain technology. 

Read a summary of the workshop in our Blockchain in the Courts report, authored by JD candidates Daniel Neally and Maria Hodge.

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Marchant on the First Study of Genetics-related Lawsuits

Faculty Director Gary Marchant recently spoke to GenomeWeb about the first empirical study of genetics-related lawsuits, or “genomic malpractice.” The study, conducted by Marchant and Rachel Lindor–a physician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic, was published in the Food and Drug Law Journal earlier this year. That paper is available here: Genomic Malpractice: An Emerging Tide or Gentle Ripple?

Precision medicine companies estimate that there are more than 74,000 commercially available genetic tests in the US today and as many as 14 new tests hit the market every day. “Litigation is becoming a key mechanism for how we deal with risk with a lot of these newer technologies,” said Marchant, speaking with GenomeWeb. “There aren’t standards, guidelines, legislation, or regulation for a lot of the new, emerging technologies, so increasingly litigation is being used as a risk management system.”

Marchant and Lindor looked into the cases from 1977 to 2016. They found that genetic-related malpractice claims are not exploding… just yet. Marchant notes that the slow increase in such claims is likely due to the complexity of the science and technology involved. Plaintiff attorneys are just now getting up to speed and feeling comfortable bringing suits involving genetic issues.

The early success of such suits brought to date may also induce more litigation in this area. Marchant and Lindor found that, when settlements and rulings were combined, plaintiffs found favorable outcomes 60% of the time. Additionally, genomic malpractice payouts were far higher on average compared to the average medical malpractice case.

Marchant recently presented the study’s findings at the Society for Risk Analysis’ Annual Meeting. Check out the piece on GenomeWeb for a detailed discussion of Marchant’s study: Q&A: Gary Marchant Discusses Research on Genetic Testing Lawsuits, Future Liability.

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