Movies like Bicentennial Man, AI, Simone and most recently, I Robot have gripped the public’s imagination. But just how much of what is depicted in these films is Hollywood sensationalism? Will robots soon live amongst us, doing our household chores and being welcomed members of our families? Are humachines, the blending of humans and machines, just around the corner? Is a virtual world with virtual people just over the horizon? And what does it mean for humanity if we pursue the integration of technology into our very nature? Advances in technologies like artificial intelligence, that allows us to make super smart machines, cybernetics, that allows us to integrate computer technologies into our bodies and nanotechnology that allows us to make things really small and manipulate change at the molecular level, bring great promise to the treatment of sick and disabled people. For example, people with spinal cord injuries may be able to walk again with robotic artificial limbs. Blind people, through these advanced technologies, may be given their sight back. But what if that same sighted eye, used to treat blindness could be programmed to store all of the answers to your upcoming SATS? Will hard work and personal achievement be replaced by hard drives and smart chips? Technology cuts both ways. It can be used for both good and for harm. The lines between being human and being machines are quickly being blurred by these advancing technologies. How do we decide what, if any, are the appropriate limits of enhancing human beings? There are many techno enthusiasts who argue for no limitations on our ability to enhance the human race as far as technology allows. In fact, some would suggest that to not augment humans would be negligent. Others say we are going too far, too fast and there is no turning back once we go down this road and to proceed we do so at the risk of our own peril. These new questions are being raised now. They have a profound effect on what it means to be human as we integrate technology within our very nature. Because of the huge possibilities before us and the possibility of irreversible harm, the CBC is hosting its second round of conversations in the next great debate on the future of the human race. The Face of the Future: Techno sapiens Phase II will be held in Washington DC on October 28th and 29th. In true CBC style, we have brought together all of the voices for this second round of conversations, begun last year in California. Leading advocates and critics will join us. We are pleased to announce a sampling of the confirmed


  • Dr. Leon Kass, Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics
  • Nick Bostrom, Co-founder of the World Transhumanist Organization
  • Nigel Cameron Ph.D. Chairman of the CBC and conference chairman
  • Christine Peterson, President of the Foresight Organization
  • William Hurlbut M.D. Stanford University and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics
  • Lori Andrews J.D. Chairman of the Board, The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future and leading U.S. expert on biotech law
  • C. Christopher Hook M.D., Head of Ethics at Mayo Clinic
  • Ben Mitchell Ph.D. Editor of Ethics and Medicine
  • William Cheshire M.D., Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic
  • Brent Blackwelder, Ph.D., President, Friends of the Earth

Through this conference we hope to not only raise the questions and highlight areas of disagreement but to more importantly help provide a way forward. Is there middle or perhaps common ground? Is there a point where we can agree and begin from there to lay down policy recommendations, help to shape future laws and educate the public? We hope that you will join us for this most interesting conference. The future of the human race is at stake.

Jennifer Lahl is Director of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network