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Explore the legal, ethical and social impact of new technologies

Emerging technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, neurotechnology and information technology promise to improve human communication, health, reproduction and cognition. Ultimately, in that process, these technologies may transform the human condition itself.

One of the major challenges for the governance of these technologies is that they touch upon the foundations of existing legal-ethical ways of thinking. What do central legal-ethical principles and values, such as responsibility, dignity, autonomy, freedom and privacy mean for the governance and regulation of emerging technologies? Are they still credible in the light of recent scientific findings? 

What makes this minor truly unique is its focus on the big questions raised by technological developments and its interdisciplinary angle. We will also investigate legal and ethical aspects related to the technologies deployed for supporting human activities in outer space. These are regulated by ”space law”, an area of law facing a series of challenges due to the increased adoption of artificial intelligence and the growing number of private actors joining states in complex space-related activities. Accordingly, this program brings together lecturers from various disciplines and faculties, ranging from tech and privacy law to neuro- and bioethics. The courses are taught in an accessible and interactive way, attracting students from all academic backgrounds. Moreover, during the minor, you will not only analyse and discuss academic literature, but also news items, documentaries, public and political discussions and advisory reports.

To get a better idea of some of the themes that will be discussed in this minor, you can watch the series De Volmaakte Mens (HUMAN/VPRO, in Dutch). Or you can have a look at this interview with Yuval Noah Harari on his 2016 book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

Studying at VU Amsterdam