Ethics as a guideline for the behavior of individuals, cities and societies of the twenty-first century, was the main topic of discussion that took place yesterday during the celebration of OpenMind 2012.
Coinciding with the anniversary, the community organized the first meeting dedicated to knowledge and dissemination, in order to publicize and discuss the themes and content provided by www.bbvaopenmind.com.
The meeting, hosted by journalist and director of the Huffington Post, Montserrat Domínguez, was attended by three experts in ethics and values: Andy Miah , Director of Creative Future Research Center, Saskia Sassen , Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Sandip Tiwari , Director of theNational Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network in the US.
The opening address was given by the Chairman and CEO of BBVA, Francisco González, who presented the latest content added to OpenMind, – the book Values and Ethics for the 21st century – and the new application for iPad “OpenMind”, already available in the App Store.
Francisco Gonzalez stressed “the need for ethics and shared values to address major global challenges,” an opinion shared by the speakers, each from a different point of view.
Tiwari left aside his most technological profile to analyze the concept of “Openly” from a scientific point of view.For Tiwari the large volume of information we have now should lead “to think in new and different ways and analyze our behavior in order to be more local and more open in the ways we think and relate with others
Tiwari then outlined some of the keys to the sustainability of a population of over 7 billion people, “if from a scientific point of view sustainability equals energy conservation, we can then affirm that a sustainable planet cannot exceed 3 billion people. ” This figure makes us reflect on how we live and how we use and share natural resources. The Charles N. Mellowes Professor in Engineering at Cornell Universityreminded us that science has been working on offering solutions to this problem for the last 10years. As an example he stated that nanotechnology will be able to create new organisms beyond the control exercised by the Darwinian theory of evolution.
For Sassen, ethical problems manifest themselves particularly in cities, which are the epicenter of human relations.
At a time where Smart Cities and sustainable cities are in vogue, Sassen argued that the greatest challenges will take place in the global city, where large contradictions are visible: “It is our responsibility to bring to light and make visible some systems that are functioning in a closed manner and out of citizens’ control. ”
Sassen put forward a common discussion among sociologists: the role of humans as settlers of the land we inhabit, something that makes us “suspects” in the relationship with our environment. The Dutch sociologist, speaking in Spanish, proposed a biological solution: “let the biosphere play the roles assigned to it and which chemistry has been playing. A relocation of roles from the city to the biosphere, in order to optimize resources. For example bacteria that seal walls and turn garbage into plastic.”
Andy Miah focused on the humanistic side of ethics, reminding us of the three levels at which human beings can improve: professionally, socially and individually. As a philosopher, Miah asked himself whether technology has changed us and if when we talk about being better human beings we refer only to the physical aspects or also to our background: “Our “biocultural” capital will determine our behaviour; we will be able to make body, and even cognitive, modifications. “
Miah said that advances in science will stop older people from considering themselves sick: “today, the elaboration of a genetic map has a cost of $ 3000, but in the future, the human genome will be included in public health.”
The event was followed live via the OpenMind website and from the twitter profile. The closing remarks were made by the Minister of Education and Science, Jose Ignacio Wert, who stated that it was very courageous to raise ethical issues “at a time where all structures are shaking ”