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Karel Čapek Center will be a new platform for ethics of new technologies

Karel Čapek Center will be a new platform for ethics of new technologies

Tue Oct 16 08:57:50 CEST 2018

Three institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences join efforts with a faculty of Charles University in creation of Karel Čapek Center for Values in Science and Technology. This new interdisciplinary platform was introduced by Eva Zažímalová, the president of the CAS herself.

The ceremonious signing of the contract for creation of the Center took place on Friday, October 12th, with attendance of directors of Institute for Computer ScienceInstitute of Philosophy, and Institute of State and Law of the CAS, which will be cooperating with the Faculty of Science of Charles University on this project. Beside the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the CAS was also represented by two of her vice presidents, Jan Řídký and Pavel Baran.

Artificial intelligence and stem cells

“I am very happy that we are able to connect research of different fields of science. Questions related with ethics and law in the area of artificial intelligence are a complex issue and it is impossible to make do with just a narrow single-field view,” said Emil Pelikán, director of the Institute for Computer Science, at the ceremony.

Therefore, Karel Čapek Center will respond to complicated issues emerging with the rise of new technologies, for example autonomous vehicles, military systems, genetic modifications of plants and animals, robotic nurses, or application of stem cells. As stated in the founding document: “Moral thinking and practice, as well as current laws, unfortunately do not keep up with scientific and technical development.”

Cooperation between institutes of the Academy and a faculty of the University should include cooperation on grant projects and within the project Strategie AV21. It should have philosophical as well as legislative impact.

“Pushing the boundaries of knowledge is becoming harder and harder. Interdisciplinarity is about people and all agreements work on a personal basis. In this case, I have a great hope, also thanks to the fact that we know each other very well, so this might work even better,” explained Dean Jiří Zima of the Faculty of Science of Charles University. 

Original Czech text prepared by: Jan Martinek and Alice Horáčková, Department of Media Communication of the Head Office of the CAS
Photo: Pavlína Jáchimová, Division of External Relations of the CAO of the CAS