Inspiring our reflection on Technology & Ethics

As technological breakthroughs continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the 21st century, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s 2020 Scholars, Fellows and Mentors are examining ethical challenges and issues around how we might benefit from technology while mitigating any of its ethical risks in our individual and collective lives. 

Now in the second year of the 2020-2023 scientific cycle of Technology & Ethics, we invite you all to read this series of articles, authored by our 2020 Fellows and Mentors, distinguished academics and professional leaders in their respective fields.  The themes are aimed at inspiring our reflection on key and topical issues surrounding – among others – major advances in the areas of biotechnology and the life sciences, online platforms and democratic expression, the democratization of knowledge, and the impacts of technology on the environment.

In this series, Dr. Vardit Ravitsky's Gene Editing, 2020 Fellow, invites us to examine the ethics around gene editing technologies, a modern tool of biotechnology, and more specifically, a well-known approach called CRISPR which allows scientists to edit DNA in humans. Dr. Glenn Cohen, 2020 Fellow, addresses in his publication Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Bias, and Ethics, the potential implications or possibilities of bias that result or are enabled by the integration of artificial intelligence in health care technologies.

The Right Honorable Beverley McLachlin, 2020 Mentor, compels us to consider both the benefits of the digital revolution but also the “dark side” or harmful effects of the digital revolution on human rights and democracy in her text Ethics and the Internet. An inspiring reflection is proposed by Dr. Nathalie Des Rosiers, 2020 Mentor, on the role of universities in countering risks and impacts caused by a rapid pace of technological advancements on democracy, access to technology and mis/disinformation: Speed That Kills.

Finally, in Behold the Earth Who Holds UsBob Haverluck, 2020 Mentor, evokes the ethics of our daily uses and consumptions of technology, as well as areas of connection and meeting of values as the world continues to grapple with an ecological crisis.

The Foundation is both proud and grateful for the expert contributions of our Fellows and Mentors who invite us to consider the exceedingly important theme of ethics and responsible citizenship in relation to technological impacts, benefits and challenges in our daily lives, environments, and our individual and collective futures.