Human Rights and Emerging Technologies

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At the beginning of the 21st century the emerging new technologies have become inherently political. Neuroscience, genetics (genetic testing, screening, and DNA fingerprinting), the various reproductive technologies, nanotechnology and robotics, information technologies, or their combination — all of these scientific and technological fields now constitute subjects of governance. Furthermore, as these technologies are increasingly used by governments, it has become difficult to scrutinize or control them, to limit their use or apply equal access to them. In this process of scrutiny a human rights approach may provide some guidance. Human rights have developed an established set of norms, specific language, institutional network and infrastructure for thinking about new technologies, their relevance, or the potential challenges posed by their application. Another benefit of this approach is to provide an alternative to the prevailing economic and technocratic model of innovation.

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