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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PAPERS: eThe 21st Century Body Reloadedf symposium, 7-8th Nov 2013, London, UK

Exciting developments in the life sciences and their application in biotechnology are helping to 
provide pioneering cures and therapies for inherited and degenerative diseases. Consider genomics 
and genetic based therapies, neuroscience and neuropharmacology, ICT implants and prosthetics, 
nanomedicine and the required socio-cultural accommodations to ageing and you will see how the 
way in which we perceive ourselves and those around us is slowly being recast.  As our knowledge 
and its application continues to grow and expand, the range, scope and magnitude of what we are 
able to achieve seems to be limitless.
Building on the success of last yearfs event and the many positive and encouraging comments 
from participants, this yearfs interdisciplinary symposium is convened in order to further build 
capacity as well as consolidate existing scholarship on perspectives on the human body and 
identity in the face of new advances in emerging technologies.
Technology forecasters point to advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology as an eenabling 
technologyf which opens up further opportunities when combined with other technologies.  This 
gconvergenceh of new emerging technologies therefore becomes a matter of great debate. This is 
seen, for example, when advances in nanoscience converge with developments in biotechnology, 
which also utilise developments in information technology to capture and simulate human abilities 
using artificial intelligence systems and, more controversially, cognitive science.  As the 
animal-human distinction becomes increasingly blurred, it is plain to see the increasing growth 
of human power over nature in all of its forms including traditional and contemporary understanding
about human nature itself. More than just speculative science fiction, talk of brain implants and 
neural imaging, cyborg enhancement and virtual reality simulation is suddenly becoming a pressing 
At this time we are faced with a key question: what does it mean to be human in the 21st Century? 
A series of identity crises emerge. Against the backdrop of developments in ICT, and especially in 
virtual contexts we are keen to ensure that our identities are protected and can be authenticated 
appropriately, without fear of them being reconstructed by others. Likewise, concern is expressed 
over the question of privacy and surveillance when we encounter new forms of identifying 
technologies such as biometrics which could challenge our freedom and dignity. As genetic and 
neuroscience technologies evolve, they provoke and unsettle some of our traditional perceptions 
of who and what we are.
It is envisaged that this symposium will contribute to the conversation on this theme and by 
drawing from insights and ideas from across the disciplines, the aim will be to chart challenges 
to, and changes in perceptions of identity and the human body in the 21st century.
Some key questions this symposium will aim to address include the following:
      Is human identity being transformed, redefined or superseded through new developments in 
medicine and technology?
      Do these new emerging technologies present as radical and revolutionary changes to how we 
see ourselves (as is sometimes claimed)? Or, are they in fact no different to their predecessors?
      How are we to evaluate or assess the moral significance of these new technologies to our 
identity as humans?
      What does it mean to have identity and to be identifiable in the 21st Century?
      Are new technologies helping to redefine what we recognise as the human body? Are they in 
some ways helping to make the human body redundant? If so, in what ways?
      What are the social, ethical and policy implications of these changes, both locally and 
globally, as we increasingly encounter the rapid expansion of biotechnologies worldwide?
      Is altering the shape and appearance of the body contributing to our loss of contact with 
the body? How does this affect traditional ideas about the mind/body distinction? 
Suggested topics:
Ageing and immortality;
Artificial intelligence; the Turing test; machine understanding;
Artificial life; computational biology;
Cognitive science;
Converging technologies (nano-bio-info-cogno); 
Ethical and social implications of advances in emerging technologies;
Human enhancement;
Implant technology;
Medical anthropology;
Organising committee:

Dr Yasemin J. Erden, Lecturer in Philosophy, CBET, St Mary's University College, Twickenham
Deborah Gale, MA, Kingfs College London
Matt James MA, Director, BioCentre
Aaron Parkhurst, PhD research candidate, Medical Anthropology, University College London
Dr. Stephen Rainey, Visiting Lecturer in philosophy, St Maryfs University College, Twickenham
We invite submission of abstracts in the first instance, with a word limit of around 500-750 
words (maximum), and not including references. The abstract should clearly outline main arguments 
and conclusions of the paper.  On the basis of these abstracts, the academic organising committee 
will compose a short list of speakers to be invited to submit full-length papers for presentation 
at the symposium, which will be held in London in November 2013.
All abstracts must be submitted through EasyChair (in a Word attachment; without inclusion of 
personal details to allow for blind reviewing). 
A selection of successful papers from last yearfs symposium were published in a special issue of 
The New Bioethics: A multidisciplinary journal on biotechnology and the body. 
This year a selection of papers which are included in the symposium will also be invited to submit 
copies for consideration to a special publication on the same theme.
Tuesday 9th July 2013 Deadline for submission of abstracts to Easychair (500-750 word limit). 
Monday 28th October 2013 Final version of papers to be submitted to Easychair 
w.c. 4th November 2013 Symposium, University College London 

For more information on submissions, please contact the organising committee directly.
The organising committee is grateful for the support provided by BioCentre and the Department of 
Anthropology, University College London.