On Monday, March 27, dozens of students and faculty found their way to West Village F to listen to an engaging and topical conversation about modern biotechnology. The lecture, titled “Frankenstein and the Golem: How Ancient Tales Can Inform Modern Biotechnology” was given by professor, sociologist, and bioethicist Dr. Paul Root Wolpe.
The Northeastern Jewish Studies Program was privileged to have Dr. Wolpe come and speak at the fifth annual Morton E. Ruderman Lecture, sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Dr. Paul Wolpe serves as the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Additionally, he is the First Chief of Bioethics for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA.
In his talk, Dr. Wolpe compared the Jewish legend of the Golem and Mary Shelley’s story of Frankenstein, and the ways the creatures respectively demonstrate their humanity. He then applied this comparison to modern advances in technology to examine each legend’s influence on the contemporary movements in biotechnology, incorporating his experience with bioethics into the discussion.
Audience members were able to ask Dr. Wolpe questions following his speech. Matters of the ethics of artificial intelligence and the moral algorithms necessary for the future self-driving cars were brought to his attention, and he provided his honest opinions on each topic.
This event was presented by the College of Social Sciences and Humanities in conjunction with the Northeastern Jewish Studies Program and the Northeastern Humanities Center, with support provided by the Ruderman Family Foundation.
View more pictures of the event here.
A video of the lecture will be coming shortly.