Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction

This book is a collection of essays by scientists, historians, philosophers of science, and students. The essays meld biotechnology into science fiction stories and thereby open a conversation about the morality of what we may be one day, and what it may mean to be human as our biotechnological endeavors continue to evolve. The biotechnology “revolution,” launched on a global scale many decades ago, has taken a direct course toward re-creating life. Yet there are still many choices to be made in shaping the future that it may one day make possible. The book motivates readers toward deep reflection and continual discourse, which are essential if biotechnology is to evolve in ethical, meaningful, and sustainable ways.

About the Author

Rosalyn W. Berne is an associate professor at the Department of Engineering and Society in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She uses a dialectical methodology engaging multiple disciplines to understand the social-ethical implications of emerging scientific knowledge and technology. Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction pairs scientific writing with companion sci-fi short stories in consideration of current biotechnology research. Prof. Berne’s previous books are Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology (2006), which analyzes and interprets the content of conversations between her and 15 research scientists whose work takes place at the nanoscale, and Waiting in the Silence (2012), in which she uses science fiction to reflect on the convergence of nanotechnology /biotechnology/ information and cognitive sciences. Currently her research and writing are focused on the subject of interspecies communication.

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