Ethical Considerations 200 Years After Frankenstein

Live Broadcast: Tuesday, 1 May 2018
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT (GMT -4)

Two centuries after the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, society continues to explore the ethical implications of technological advancements. This panel brings together voices from technology, ethics, and history to discuss questions about how ethical considerations have evolved in the last two centuries.

How have technologists and others addressed the issues presented in this classic novel? To what extent are the issues raised in the book still present and relevant in today's technology space? What new issues have surfaced with the advent of new technologies?

- Peter Asaro | Associate Professor of Media Studies, The New School
- Dominik Boesl | Vice President of Consumer Driven Robotics, KUKA Robotics
- Jean Kumagai | Senior Editor, IEEE Spectrum
- Lisa Nocks | Historian, IEEE History Center
- Mark A. Vasquez | IEEE TechEthics Program Manager

Speaker Bios:
- Dr. Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology and media. His work examines artificial intelligence and robotics as a form of digital media, the ethical dimensions of algorithms and data, and the ways in which technology mediates social relations and shapes our experience of the world. His current research focuses on the social, cultural, political, legal and ethical dimensions of robotics and artificial intelligence, from a perspective that combines media theory with science and technology studies. He has written widely-cited papers on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro's research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, and autonomous vehicles.

- Dominik Boesl has been responsible for Innovation and Technology Management at KUKA since he first joined KUKA Laboratories as Head of Corporate Strategy and Member of the Board in 2011. In 2012, he became Corporate Innovation Manager at KUKA AG, directly reporting to the Management Board. Since January 2017 he acts as Vice President Consumer Driven Robotics and Senior Corporate Innovation Manager. His responsibility for innovation and evangelism efforts spans the entire KUKA group. In addition to his career, Dominik has constantly been lecturing at different universities and is an author of technical and scientific publications. At Munich Technical University School of Education, he is researching “Technology & Robotic Governance“: the ethical, moral, socio-cultural, -political and -economic implications of technologies such as robotics, automation and artificial intelligence on humankind.

- Jean Kumagai is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Reporting stories for Spectrum has taken her to the peaks and deserts of Chile, the bright lights of Chengdu, the edges of a Mexican sinkhole, and the tiny Danish island of Bornholm. She served as lead editor of the Spectrum special report on Mars exploration, “Why Mars? Why Now?,” which garnered the Grand Neal Award from American Business Media. These days, in addition to tracking smart grid developments, she is responsible for Spectrum’s coverage of the history of technology. Kumagai holds a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, and society from Stanford University and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University.

- Lisa Nocks, Ph.D. is a historian of science and technology with a special interest in the popular reception of emergent technologies. She was a university lecturer for many years before joining the IEEE History Center in 2017. She regularly gives public lectures and contributes to scholarly conferences around the world on subjects related to the history of science, technology, and popular culture. Her first book, The Robot: The Life Story of a Technology, was a Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title in 2008. She contributed “Robotics” to the Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology and the chapter, “That does Not Compute: The Brittleness Bottleneck and the Problem of Semantics in Science Fiction,” to Science Fiction and Computing: Essays on Interlinked Domains, and is currently writing new material about the history of humanoid robotics. Early in her graduate studies, she published, “Frankenstein: In a Better Light,” for the Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, and her continued interest in nineteenth century history inspired her exhibit, “Frankenstein in Context” at the S.C. Williams Library, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. (through May 4) which she curated in conjunction with the Technologies of Frankenstein conference, co-sponsored by the Stevens College of Arts and Letters and the IEEE History Center.

- Mark A. Vasquez is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 25 years of experience in association management at IEEE. He currently serves as the program manager for IEEE TechEthics (, a program that has been launched to drive conversations about the ethical and societal impacts of technology. In this capacity, he works to develop relationships with others in the technology ethics community, produces events, convenes thought leaders, and more. Mark is an engineering graduate of The Cooper Union.

Part of the IEEE TechEthics Conversations Series
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