Lawmakers must keep up with the pace of changing technology – Michelle Dickinson

With technology advancing at breakneck speed, we risk foundering on ethical and legal decisions, writes Dr Michelle Dickinson – aka ‘Nanogirl’ – in the NZ Herald.

An excerpt (read in full):

As individuals I don’t think we have yet come to grips with what is ethical or high risk around new technology, let alone formed a clear view as to what some of our laws should be.

With technology now available that can tell you your genome from a mailed-in saliva sample, big questions are facing New Zealand as to how private medical data can be collected and shared, and even who owns information about an individual’s DNA.

The legality and ethics surrounding many other technologies – self-driving cars, drones, robots, etc – will similarly pose challenging questions.

Professor Shaun Hendy, director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, has been calling for New Zealand to establish a Parliamentary Commission for Science.

Perhaps this needs to go one step further and include a body focused on current and future technology, ensuring that the public and Parliament are well advised by technology experts around the rapid new developments in the tech sector.

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