WAMIII Virtual Series – Session 20
09 December 2020 2PM - 3PM ET
Re-Envisioning Bioinnovation in the Age of AI
Nancy D. Connell PhD - Professor and Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Kobi Leins - Senior Researcher, Melbourne University
Filippa Lentzos PhD - Senior Researcher, King´s College London
Moderator: Anja Kaspersen - Senior Fellow, Carnegie Council Security and Diversity by Design
Our ability to modify fundamental life processes is progressing at an exceptional scale and pace. The combination of biological data with algorithms, machine learning and computing power is enabling unprecedented possibilities to intervene and shape how we view health and treat disease, how long we live, how we live and how we consider our place on the biological continuum. Moreover, the fast growing bio data flows and commodification of our biological selves will impact the geopolitical order and stability.
The potential of AI and the life sciences, for all its promise, also holds a dark side. It will not only lead to additional ways to destroy life, but it will enable and democratize access to precise manipulation of cognition, development, reproduction and inheritance.
A new type of collaboration is imperative to mitigate unanticipated harm to humanity and to put in motion innovative approaches and dialogues to oversee and guide developments in this space.
At the end of this webinar you will:
- Understand the massive increase in scale, scope and pace of the convergence of AI and life sciences
- Appreciate the impacts of these developments on humans, animals and the environment
- Explore ways that the two communities – AI and life sciences – can begin to merge their concerns and their models for oversight
+ Read Nancy Connell's Bio
Nancy D. Connell is Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a microbial geneticist, trained at Harvard University (PhD) and Einstein College of Medicine (post-doc). Dr. Connell’s work at the Center, where she joined in 2018, is focused on advances in life sciences and technology and their application to a number of developments in the areas of biosecurity, biosafety, biodefense and the Biological Weapons Convention, microbial forensics, attribution and other scientific aspects of biological weapons use. Dr. Connell is a member of the Board on Life Sciences and the Committee for International Security and Arms Control and a National Associate of the US-NASEM, as well as a member of the US-CDC’s Biological Agent Containment Working Group in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, and a recent appointee to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (US). Before joining the Center, Dr. Connell was Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Infectious Disease in the Department of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, as well as Vice-chair for Research in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Connell’s major research focus was antibacterial drug discovery in respiratory pathogens such as M. tuberculosis and B. anthracis. Dr. Connell chaired the Institutional Biosafety Committee of Rutgers University and directed NJMS’s biosafety level three containment laboratory beginning in 1997. Her most recent work focused on the use of predatory bacteria as novel therapeutics for treatment of Gram negative bacterial infections, including MDR strains and select agents. Dr. Connell has significant interest and experience in the field of contemporary trends in pedagogy, including active learning methodology. She was recently appointed an Associate of the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching at Yale University.
Dr. Connell was continuously funded by the NIH, the Department of Defense and DARPA, industry, and/or other sources from 1992 to 2018.
+ Read Kobi Leins' Bio
Kobi Leins, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in Digital Ethics in the School of Engineering and a Non-Resident Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Leins has managed programs and teams in the areas of administrative law & justice, humanitarian law, human rights law, and disarmament with the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2006, Leins worked with the International Service for Human Rights in New York to advocate for the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, after which she worked for the United Nations Secretariat. In 2005, she liaised with states, scientists and stakeholders to raise awareness of, and compliance with, the Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons Conventions. In 2004, Leins worked as a Legal Officer at the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva under the auspices of a Security Council Resolution analysing and presenting claims for environmental damage following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991, having escaped commercial law to do so. Leins also prepared a matrix for review of domestic compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, which many states adopted. Leins’ PhD with the University of Melbourne was on international law that regulates the use of nanomaterials in armed conflict.