Most medical museums live in the safe past. Exhibitions rooms are filled with beautiful 19th and 20th century medical instruments and scary pathological body parts in formaldehyde. The present and the future body and its instruments are hardly visible in medical museums.
How, for example, shall medical museums handle the fusion of bodies and instruments made possible by bio-engineering and human enhancement:
Living bacteria with artificial DNA, supercomputers designed to function like a real human brain or robots showing human-like emotions. Biology is increasingly engineered in much the same way as technology, while technology is becoming more and more life-like. These two engineering trends intensify current debates about the desirability and acceptability of genetic engineering and human enhancement. They also raise novel issues, like who’s in control of machines with a life of their own?
Quoted from an invitation to a meeting titled ‘Making Perfect Life’ (about the social and political consequences of these two bio-engineering trends) in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday 10 November. Speakers include stem cell scientist Stephen Minger, neurosurgeon Veerle Visser-VandeWalle, Artifical Intelligence expert Brigitte Krenn, philosophers Mark Bedau, Roger Strand and Jutta Weber, sociologist Andrew Webster and others.
See here for final programme and registration (before November 2nd). Conference attendance is free.