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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 11:05 am 
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Pinched off theshortstory website (always worth a visit) at
http://www.theshortstory.org.uk/news

Quote:
The future of the human race, no less ...

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is offering £1,000 for the best short story, in either written or multi-media format, which addresses how scientific advances such as cloning and stem cell research are pushing against our traditional beliefs about nature and what it means to be human.

Can we imagine a world where people are able to choose from a menu of 'enhancing' techniques - IQ, strength, disease prevention, age extension, among others? What would life be like in such a world? What ethical dilemmas might it raise?

Ethical Futures Short Story Competition is open to anyone who is not a professional writer or video producer.

The closing date for entries is 30 June 2007. Entries should be no more than 2,000 words or 10 minutes in length. The winner will be presented with £1,000 at an Ethical Futures conference in November, 2007, at the RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6EZ.

The judges of the Ethical Futures short story competition are Justina Robson, described by Zadie Smith as a 'novelist of real vision' and author of the Quantum Gravity: Keeping it Real series; Dr Anjana Ahuja, Science Notebook columnist for The Times; Cory Doctorow, a science fiction novelist, and contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, and the New York Times.


Entries should to be sent to Sandra.Wint (at) rsa (dot) org (dot) uk by 30 June 2007.

www.rsa.org.uk

Warning: There is no mention on the RSA website I could find today.


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 11:49 am 
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I found the following information on the RSA website at http://www.rsa.org.uk/projects/ethical_futures.asp for those who are interested:

Quote:
Manifesto Challenge: Encouraging Enterprise



Raign is making her way via the moving sidewalk located two blocks from her pod to the local re-engineering hub for her decennial skeletal and molecular assessment, and neurological realignment. The year is 2456 and Raign is 450 years old. Depending on her diagnosis, her treatment will be a combination of nano-medical interventions, cognitive enhancement, prosthetic replacements and neurological repair. This should allow Raign to perform at optimum levels until her next visit. Theoretically she should be able to live for another 500 years at least. How can this be? Raign is a posthuman.

Sounds like science fiction? Perhaps, but many scientists believe that the technologies that could make this a reality are already with us. These emergent technologies have the potential not only to alter our physical environment, but to transform humanity itself, enhancing our physical cognitive and emotional capacities. Dr Nick Bostrom a recent RSA speaker, is one of the many thinkers who talk about ‘post-humans’, or ‘humans plus’. In his RSA lecture he defined transhumanism as ‘the intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition… by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and greatly enhancing human intellectual, physical and emotional capacities.’

Ethical Boundaries

While science may give us these capabilities, it is not clear that science by itself can guide us in whether or how we should use them. We must be careful not to mistake the fact that we can do something with the fact that we ought to. Indeed many scientists have argued that it is for society as a whole to decide what we want from science and the boundaries within which it should operate. Unfortunately society as a whole has not proved itself very good at making these decisions. If we look at the confusion over the introduction of genetically modified crops, the panic induced by Dolly the sheep, or our ethical bewilderment in the face of preimplantation genetics, we can see that as a society we do not really know how to cope with a constant stream of innovation that seems to push the boundaries of life as we know it.

These new and emerging technologies illustrate the complexities of a debate in which the parameters of ethical discussion encompass not only the competing rights and interests of different groups, but fundamental questions about what it is to be human and how far it is appropriate for us to seek to control it. When we start to imagine the issues raised by living for hundreds of years, or being able to alter people’s capacities and characters, it is clear that these issues will only become more acute.

Explorations into the UK ethical landscape

As a first step we want to identify the points of tension that may arise between the development of these technologies and our current ethical framework. We will integrate the views of experts and the general public to flag up where there are problems that need to be resolved and problems that need to be solved.

During 2007 we will undertake a series of activities each with defined and linked outcomes aimed at engaging in a public conversation about our ethical landscape with respect to scientific advances capable of significantly altering the human state. The execution of each activity below will be timed to culminate in two major events; a conference in October and an interactive exhibition in December. These events will bring insights into different aspects of this ethical debate to the attention of the public, policymakers, academia and other institutions and will forge the way for future work.

* Book – A compendium of perspectives on the ethical issues with respect to the introduction of human enhancing technologies
* Conference – Launch book, presentations, debates on issues raised by the contributions. Concerns, recommendations and possible solutions
* TV/radio series: a series developed around a set of scenarios exploring our possible futures; a series of short debates with public participation
* Short story competition – about living an enhanced life/ ethical implications
* Lecture series - debates about the pros and cons, implications for society– pensions, work, health, death, recreation, environment
* Exhibition – interactive exhibition bringing together cutting edge applications etc enabling viewers to interact with a wide range of enhancements and provide feedback
* Web conversations – engage international experts in online discussions covering specific issues identified by the project team. Publication of conversations on international perspectives


Through these interventions we hope to define what the ethical landscape looks like with respect to new and emerging technologies that can significantly alter the human state in the UK and develop a conceptual roadmap that connects the key issues and facilitates integrated decision-making. These findings will form the basis for developing a further work programme prototyping ethical guidelines on human enhancement.


Contact details on quoted page.

SOmething to think about while walking the dog :D

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 12:38 pm 
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Well spotted Jo.
:oops:


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 1:47 pm 
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Nah, just too much time on my hands.

I had to do a site search and although it was the first page in the results list, it wasn't the most obvious reference to short stories.

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 7:59 pm 
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I too did a site search.


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 9:57 pm 
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If nothing else, thanks for bringing the site to my attention.

I can't really blame you for the fact that absorbing it all is going to eat my life for the next few weeks, but I'd quite like to. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:50 pm 
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Quote:
The Electrobooks Competition. Sean O’Regan has teamed up with William McInerney in Ireland to start a new electronic media venture. They are looking for fast-paced unpublished novels (including opening chapters), and short stories. They say there are opportunities to be published. And that is all I know ... except that entry is free and the contest is open worldwide.
Closing: 7.7.07.
Prizes: $500, $200, $100.
Entry Fee: None - free to enter.

Comp Page: http://www.electrobooks.net/

Off the Prizemagic site.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:07 pm 
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Ta, Roy - another interesting site and potential challenge :)

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