European Commission Science Advice and Ethics Groups at ESOF
11 July, EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF),Toulouse
The European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies organised well attended sessions at ESOF, 11 July.
During the session on Citizens and Science Advice - challenges and opportunities of participatory science advice the panel explored how, in a time of perceived diminishing trust in expertise, citizens’ participation could strengthen the credibility, acceptability and impact of science advice to policymaking.
In the Carbon capture and utilization for climate change: hype or hope? session, co-organised with SAPEA, the panel engaged with the audience regarding climate change mitigation potential and economic viability of CCU technologies. The discussed how the findings of the recent Opinion produced by the Chief Scientific Advisors and informed by an Evidence Review Report delivered by SAPEA will contribute to future EU policy decisions in this field.
The What kind of future do we want for our children? session started with the moderator asking the audience which was the greatest challenge to our children’s futures on which more advice to policy is needed. Speakers expressed their views on the results and shared their vision, and a lively dialogue took place with the audience.
The Ethics in the age of science, technology and innovation: From AI to the Future of Work session focused on the ethical aspects of future developments, namely related to the artificial intelligence and the technological and societal changes in the labour market. The debate with the audience will further feed the EGE Opinion on the Future of Work.
All of the sessions were well attended, by a wide range of participants from local, European and international organisations, including government representatives, representatives of science advice structures, industry, academia, NGOs as well as attendees from the European Parliament.
The General Activity Report of the previous EGE mandate is now available
The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) has prepared a General Activity Report describing the main activities of the group in the course of its 2011-2016 mandate. The context of increasing demand for a broadened ethical expertise, the variety of domains and stakeholders engaged in the development of these ethical frameworks, as well as a set of forward-looking perspectives are some of the points in it.
During its 2011-2016 mandate, four extended Opinions were adopted:
- on information and communication technologies
- on energy
- on security and surveillance
- and on new health technologies and citizen participation
In addition, three statements were also produced: on clinical trials; on research integrity; and on gene editing.
Proceedings of the Round Table on the Future of Work
On 5 February 2018, a Round Table was organised by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). It brought together a wide range of stakeholders from different sectors of society, including academic experts, international organisations, industry, trade unions and NGOs.
Questions around the concept of work were discussed, with a focus on ethical, moral and governance aspects. The event unfolded in four panels with talks from key stakeholders, followed by an open discussion.
EGE to participate at EuroScience Open Forum 2018 in Toulouse
The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) will participate in the forthcoming EuroScience Open Forum 2018, to be held in Toulouse, France, from 9 to 14 July.
In March 2018 the EGE released its Statement on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and ‘Autonomous Systems’, and its Opinion on the Future of Work will be published September 2018.
The presence of the EGE at ESOF 2018 will highlight the importance of ethical advice in policy making, particularly concerning Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Work. Several EGE members will participate in the sessions, consisting of an open, interactive debate with the audience. The EGE will also hold a joint session with the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.
In parallel to its participation at ESOF 2018, the EGE will also hold a plenary meeting at which it will among others continue work on its Opinion on the Future of Work and will meet the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: Statement of the EGE is released
The EGE calls for a wide-ranging process of public deliberation and lays out a set of fundamental ethical principles to pave the way. The EGE Statement also forms the cornerstone of the guidelines on AI ethics to be developed in collaboration with the future AI Alliance.
EGE convenes Open Round Table on the Future of Work
Why do we work and how does work give us meaning? How can European values of justice, dignity and solidarity be realised in a changing world? To what extent might longstanding governance frameworks, such as social security systems and employment laws, require updating?
Held on 5 February 2018, the Open Round Table brought together a wide range of stakeholders from all sectors of society, including academic experts, international organisations, industry, trade unions and NGOs, discussing the thorny questions at the heart of this issue, ranging from the consequences of automation and digitalisation on the labour market, including the future role of artificial intelligence, through to the rise of the gig economy and industry 4.0. As a critical moment of public deliberation, the Round Table will inform the development of the upcoming EGE Opinion on the Future of Work.
The Round Table was webstreamed and remote participation was also possible. Comments and questions were received during the event and in advance of it, by electronic means as well as by postal mail.
EGE and the European Data Protection Supervisor together on digital ethics
On 14 December the EGE met with Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), and with the EDPS Ethics Advisory Group, for an exchange on both groups' ongoing work. These discussions were set in the context of the plenary meeting of the EGE on 13-14 December.
The Group had fruitful exchanges with Commissioner Moedas as well as hearings on the Future of Work with Ruth Paserman, Deputy-Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Thyssen, and with Professor Johannes Giesecke, Humboldt University of Berlin, and with Juha Heikkila and Cécile Huet, DG Connect, on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
EGE holds joint meeting with the Council of Europe’s Bioethics Committee
On 26 October 2017 the EGE met in Strasbourg to continue its reflections on the ethical implications of the future of work, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics.
The plenary session was also the occasion of a historic joint meeting of the EGE and the Council of Europe’s DH-BIO Group, jointly convened by the European Commission and the Council of Europe. The meeting followed the Council of Europe’s international conference on the 20th anniversary of the Oviedo Convention and provided an opportunity for joint reflection between the two groups on the evolution of ethics and the challenges posed by new scientific and technological developments such as gene editing.
EGE and Commissioner Moedas discuss artificial intelligence and the future of work
On 21 September the EGE met with Commissioner Moedas to discuss progress on the Group’s Opinion on the Future of Work as well as the wider ethical, societal and fundamental rights issues linked to the advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.
The exchange took place as part of the Group’s two-day plenary meeting on 20-21st September which also saw expert hearings conducted with Dr. Ruby Gropas (European Political Strategy Centre), Professor Phillippe van Parijs (Université catholique de Louvain) and Professor Judy Wajcman (London School of Economics).
EGE starts work on its first Opinion
On 28 June 2017, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation issued a request for the EGE to begin work on its first Opinion. In liaison with President Juncker, the Commissioner has asked the EGE to examine issues surrounding the future of work, reflecting upon the societal, political and technological changes which are re-shaping the world of work, and society more broadly. The EGE will explore phenomena ranging from the rise of the gig economy and industry 4.0 to the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics and man-machine interaction. They will consider fundamental questions of why we work and how work gives us meaning, as well as how core European values of European justice and solidarity are realised.
The work of the EGE began in earnest at its plenary meeting on 4-5 July 2017, where the Group held hearings with Commission representatives from DG Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion, DG Education and Culture and the Cabinet of Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.
First meeting of the newly formed EGE
Group photo of the EGE with Commissioner Moedas
The 15 leading experts newly appointed to the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies gathered for their first meeting on 24 – 25 April in Brussels. The members met with Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and engaged in an exploratory discussion on potential topics for the first EGE Opinions.
The Group appointed Christiane Woopen, Professor for Ethics and Theory of Medicine at the University of Cologne, as EGE chair. As deputy-chairs, they appointed Herman Nys, Emeritus Professor in medical law at KU Leuven, and Siobhán O'Sullivan, Lecturer in Health Care Ethics and Law at Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons.
President Juncker and Commissioner Moedas Appoint New EGE to advise Commission
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, have officially launched the new European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies by appointing 15 high-calibre members. The appointments follow the renewal of the EGE's legal mandate and the publication of the Call for Expression of Interest in 2016.
The new Group brings together leading experts from Europe and worldwide, from the fields of natural and social sciences and humanities, philosophy, ethics and law. Members range from scientists who have spearheaded cutting-edge biomedical techniques, to leading scholars in the study of information technologies, philosophy of science and human rights law. They bring a wealth of experience advising governments on the societal and human rights implications of current and future developments.
Call for Expression of Interest in membership of the EGE
The call will be open until 26 June 2016, midnight CET. Applications should be submitted through the online application form
Additional information on the renewed mandate of the EGE, on the call for expression of interest and on the Identification Committee for the selection of the EGE members.
EGE issues statement on gene editing
Human germline modification technologies are rapidly developing and have elicited increasing concerns and international debate. Against this backdrop, the EGE unpacks the assumptions and scrutinises the tensions at the heart of these developments.
EGE delivers Opinion on the Ethical implications of New Health Technologies and Citizen Participation
The EGE delivers Opinion on the Ethical implications of New Health Technologies and Citizen Participation to Commissioners Moedas and Andriukaitis
On 13th October 2015, the EGE met with Commissioners Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, responsible for Health and Food Safety, to discuss the group's latest Opinion, on the Ethical implications of New Health Technologies and Citizen Participation.
The Group debated its findings and recommendations with the Commissioners on the occasion of a working lunch which also saw the official handover of the Opinion to the two Commissioners.