The Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will infuse science and engineering endeavors with considerations of ethics. It will use the power of storytelling and art to shape processes of innovation and empower public appraisal of techno-scientific research and creation. It will offer humanists and artists a new set of concerns around research, public policy, and the ramifications of exploration and invention. And it will inspire new scientific and technological advances inspired by Shelley’s exploration of our inspiring and terrifying ability to bring new life into the world.

Frankenstein represents a landmark fusion of science, ethics, and literary expression. The bicentennial provides an opportunity for vivid reflection on how science is culturally framed and understood by the public, as well as our ethical limitations and responsibility for nurturing the products of our creativity. It is also a moment to unveil new scientific and technological marvels, especially in the areas of synthetic biology and artificial intelligence.

Engaging with Frankenstein allows scholars and educators, artists and writers, and the public at large to consider the history of scientific invention, reflect on contemporary research, and question the future of our technological society. Acting as a network hub for the bicentennial celebration, ASU will encourage and coordinate collaboration across institutions and among diverse groups worldwide.

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  • September 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm
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    Hello. I just learned of your project and wanted to let you know of something taking place in the State of Washington in the 2016-17 school year. I am a judge who, for a number of years, has written fictional cases for a statewide high school mock trial competition sponsored by the YMCA. In the past, I have used the 200th birthdays of Dickens, Poe and Tennyson as occasions to celebrate these writers. This year’s case will honor the 200th birthday of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN. The facts of the case center on artificial intelligence and a driverless car as it confronts a classic ethical decision (kill off the driver to avoid striking children beside the road?) Since the creator of the autonomous auto (and the defendant in our manslaughter trial) is a corporation, the notion of “corporate personhood” echoes the theme. Evidence in the case covers a lot of ground from the breeding of mules to genetically modifying mosquitos and from Jeremy Bentham’s moral utilitarianism to lidar technology. Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about our program which operates under the auspices of YMCA Youth & Government.

    Judge William Downing
    King County Superior Court
    Seattle, WA 98104
    206 477-1585

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