Everyday Cyborgs 2.0 - Alternative Legal Futures

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Muirhead 415

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On Monday the 9th of December, from 3-5pm in Muirhead 415, Professor Muireann Quigley (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/law/quigley-muireann.aspx) will introduce her five-year Wellcome Trust project “Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law’s Boundary-work and Alternative Legal Futures.” She will be joined by Dr Joseph Roberts (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/law/roberts-joseph.aspx), a research fellow on the project, who will speak on “Bio-technological Enhancement: Distributive Justice and the Value of Being Human” (abstracts below). Talks will be followed by Q&A.

This session will be of interest to anyone interested in transhumanism, posthumanism, science fiction, and/or the intersection of law and digital cultures.

Please RSVP here and do encourage any friends or colleagues with interests in these areas to attend, regardless of school or college. If you have any queries please contact Dr Matt Hayler (m.s.hayler@bham.ac.uk)


Professor Muireann Quigley – “Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law’s Boundary-work and Alternative Legal Futures”

Everyday cyborgs are people with attached and implanted medical devices, such as joint replacements, pacemakers and limb prostheses. Increasingly, these devices are smart devices that run software and have WiFi capability and they collect, analyse and transmit data. However, their integration with people creates difficulties for the law. We do not know whether internal medical devices which keep people alive should be viewed as part of the person, mere objects or something else. It is also unclear whether damage to neuro-prostheses should be considered personal injury or damage to property. We need to question who should control or own the software in implanted medical devices, and how the law should deal with risks surrounding unauthorised third-party access and hacking.


Dr Joseph Roberts – “Bio-technological Enhancement: Distributive Justice and the Value of Being Human”

Biomedical and technological advances have the potential to improve people’s lives and make possible new forms of embodiment. We have the potential to become more resilient, smarter, faster, look different and explore new ways of perceiving the world. However, changing the way our body works and how we are able to relate to the world is not a panacea. In this talk I consider two of the more persistent worries connected to the use of technology to enhance or alter our abilities: i) the potential for distributive injustice arising from unequal access to technology, and ii) the worry that in modifying our abilities, we lose sight of what is distinctly valuable about being human.

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Muirhead 415

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