Mr. Allister Lee’s Talk at the University of Hong Kong

Mr. Allister Lee, Licentiate Student in Bioethics and Intern at the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights,  gave a talk titled “Love and Sex in the Time of Robots: The Ethical Impact of AI Robots on Human Relationships” at the University of Hong Kong. 


Artificial intelligence scholar David Levy declares in his seminal work Love and Sex with Robots that in the near, post-human future, not only will sexual relations with robots be normalised, but it will also be more prevalent to human-to-human sex. Will this be humanity’s (for the lack of a better term) new reality? Current developments in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence have proved Levy’s prediction increasingly probable with Elon Musk’s most recent introduction of Optimus and Hanson Robotic’s Sophia. This progress towards a post-human, AI-inclusive society is also highlighted by intriguing accounts of a man marrying a hologram which raises the question of the social role that AI robots have in society, are they simply tools to complete menial tasks or are they entitled to participate in wider social activities. This talk will outline the current discussion regarding the AI robots and its influence on societal norms and structures. Furthermore, it will expound on AI’s potential affective capabilities and its consequent practical impact on gender division, legal status of robots, and the concept of marriage.

Mr. Allister Lee is currently a licentiate student in bioethics in the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. In tandem with his licentiate degree, he is completing a research internship with the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights. He received his first-class honour undergraduate degree in Nursing Studies from the University of Edinburgh. His main research interests focus on artificial intelligence, genome editing and clinical ethics.

Research Scholar Prof. Fr. Michael Baggot, LC, at the Angelicum Thomistic Institute

Recently Research Scholar Prof. Fr. Michael Baggot, LC, participated in The Second Annual Pinckaers Chair Conference: Eschatology and the Human Person at the Angelicum Thomistic Institute.


“The Daring and Disappointing Dreams of Transhumanism’s Secular Eschatology”
Although it is a largely secular movement, contemporary transhumanism borrows heavily from both Christian orthodoxy and its heresies to construct a vision for human transformation and happiness. The presentation traces the roots of transhumanism’s pseudo-religious soteriology and eschatology and then examines the underlying anthropological problems that drive the hoped-for salvation through digital immortality. Unfortunately, the admirable desire to extend life sacrifices an appreciation for the integral harmony of the human person’s animal and spiritual dimensions. Since human actions manifest the person’s intrinsic corporeality, the notion of detaching the human personality from the body through digitalization is doomed to produce replicas without achieving true immortality. The surprising pseudo-religious thrust of contemporary transhumanism’s secular eschatology presents an opportunity to rediscover the Catholic patrimony’s reflection on authentic divinization through the transhumanizing effects of divine grace. The presentation thus concludes with a Thomistic theosiscentered reorientation of secular transhumanism’s eschatological aspirations for immanent immortality toward true human flourishing.

UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program Turned 30

On November 3 and 4, the 30th anniversary of UNESCO Chairs was celebrated in Paris with an international conference full of seminars and expert talks.

“Transforming Knowledge for a Just and Sustainable Future”: this was the theme of the 2-day meeting. The conference was also an opportunity to strengthen collaboration among members of UNESCO Chairs to foster better networking with the Organization’s various Programs.

Created in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Program represents an inter-sectoral academic network of sharing among institutions of higher or university education.

The network promotes international and inter-university cooperation.

917 UNESCO Chairs in more than 110 countries represent a unique resource of intellectual and scientific cooperation, not only globally, but also nationally and regionally.

During the assembly, therefore, the network’s achievements in these first 30 years and its future prospects were illustrated and recognized. In Italy there are 42 UNESCO Chairs, in different university locations, from the north to the south of the country, dedicated to social issues and reflecting UNESCO values.

We report that in the session entitled “UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program: A global observatory?” “Dialogues of UNESCO Chairs” was presented.

The project was presented with a report entitled “Dialogues of UNESCO Chairs: A global laboratory of ideas” by Raimondo Cagiano de Azevedo, as spokesperson for the Italian UNESCO Chairs Network, and Patrizio Bianchi, standing in for the Secretary General of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, Enrico Vicenti.

During the speech, the numerical results achieved by the project and the actions implemented were shown. Sobhi Tawil, Director of UNESCO’s Future of Learning and Innovation program, who moderated the session, expressed appreciation for the Italian project.

Imagine: UNESCO

Source: Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l’UNESCO


27-28 October | Prof. Alberto García Gómez- Director of the UNESCO Chair and Dean of the Faculty of Biothics and Dr. Giulia Bovassi, Associate Researcher of the UNESCO Chair participated in the X INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON BIOETHICS: LIFE IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY AND RESILIENCE organized by the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada.

Is global bioethics capable of promoting sustainable development in times of uncertainty and resilience? by Dr. Alberto García Gómez

Vulnerability and resilience in light of Trans and Post-humanist provocations, by Dr. Giulia Bovassi.
At the dawn of a “post-pandemic” era, it is necessary to look at the future of humanity by confronting antagonistic characters of this historical moment: the radicality of vulnerability, an inseparable ally of resilience; the hybris of trans and post-humanist provocations, jointly caused by understanding vulnerability as an “accidental deficit” of human nature. The latter gives a reductionist and mechanistic ontological reading of the human being, reduced to a de-subjectified individual, whose inherent, original-by-nature dignity becomes data to be acquired according to performance parameters, vectors of a techno-mediated system of normalization and homogenization. This anxiety toward the attainment of a perfectionistic ideal is well summarized in the concept of Human Enhancement (HE), which expresses a pervasive employment of technique, no longer as an extensional tool of the human being – in order to fulfill his needs –, but as an “embodiment”, an intra-organic entity. The central postulate is that every technically possible achievement is, de facto, a matter of social justice: the indefinite expansion of what is possible becomes a meliorative asset – morally obligatory for ourselves (right) and toward society (duty) – responsible for self-evolution. For this to happen, it is necessary to constitute the human being, first by uprooting him («tabula rasa») from an ontologically given identity and, subsequently, by reprogramming him into a dynamic, disembodied, liquid, nomadic and hybrid (a symbiote, product of heterogeneous contaminations) post-human identity (homunculus). To aspire to perfection (HE) forces humanity to absorb into his culture a new «pudendum» or «Promethean shame», as Günther Anders calls it. Transdisciplinary analysis on the resulting neuro(bio)ethical and biopolitical dilemmas must start from the fundamental anthropological question: who is the human being of the «analgesic society», that aspires to become a “product” of technical power, and who he is called to be. Consequently, the danger of dissolving the virtuous alliance between vulnerability and its understanding (resilience) into an artificialization of the human being, as a technocentric response to the «malaise of uniqueness» and as an unprecedented “resolving” effort at the problem of human limit, is finally understood.