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About Civil Society & Human Biotechnology


"Civil society" refers to institutional political actors outside of government and private enterprise, typically nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations. The term "non-governmental organization," or NGO, is closely related.

Civil society organizations have come to play an important role in ensuring the accountability of governments, countering the power of corporations, and contributing to democratic governance.

For most of today’s important issues – war and peace, economic growth and equity, ecological sustainability, race and gender equality, and many others – there are dense networks of civil society institutions. For the issues surrounding human biotechnologies, a civil society infrastructure is just beginning to emerge. 



Blood Money: Is it Wrong to Pay Donors?by Judith HarveyThe GuardianJanuary 25th, 2015In some countries, people get paid for giving blood. And in the UK, one has to buy in plasma. But is safety compromised when money changes hands?
Perils of Artificial Intelligenceby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The Future of Life Institute is calling for "research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial," on the heels of several warnings about potential dire dangers.
'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Sayby James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 18th, 2015New gene editing techniques make "designer babies" more feasible, but that does not mean it's inevitably the way we have to go as a society.
AI Has Arrived, and That Really Worries the World’s Brightest Mindsby Robert McMillanWiredJanuary 16th, 2015Artificial intelligence experts and other scientists warn that the "intelligence explosion" could spell doom for the human race.
Artificial Intelligence Experts Sign Open Letter to Protect Mankind From Machinesby Nick StattCNetJanuary 12th, 2015Artificial intelligence experts are working to stave off the worst when – not if – machines become smarter than people.
Taxpayers Spend $140 Billion Funding Science Each Year — But Can't Access Many of the Resultsby Julia BelluzVoxJanuary 10th, 2015Despite a decades-old "open access" movement to put research findings in the public domain instead of behind paywalls, the status quo is still firmly entrenched, especially when it comes to health research.
Two Neuroscientists Who Get It Rightby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 7th, 2015Two UC San Diego neuroscientists have created a “Roadmap to a New Neuroscience.” It is a status-quo-shifting kind of amazing.
State Courts Strike Blows to Criminal DNA Collection Laws in 2014—What to Look for in 2015by Jennifer LynchElectronic Frontier FoundationJanuary 5th, 2015The "slippery slope toward ever-expanding warrantless DNA testing" is already upon us. But recent state cases provide reason for hope.
Discovery, Guided by Moralityby John MarkoffThe New York TimesJanuary 5th, 2015A neuroscience lab ponders the purpose of its research.
Time for the Social SciencesNature EditorialDecember 30th, 2014Governments that want the natural sciences to deliver more for society need to show greater commitment towards the social sciences and humanities.
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