Laneway Learning

Ethics for Our Future World 2019

What are the possible futures of humanity? And what can you do about it? After the success of our first Ethics for Our Future World series, we are exploring six new super interesting topics and their related ethics. 

future-175620_960_720What do CRISPR, gene editing, population growth, nanobots or lab grown meat have in common?  They all tell us what the future could look like. As technology advances faster and faster, the world gets smaller and we all get richer. Our capacity to change the world grows ever stronger, and the future can be intimidating.

This series of classes will look at realistic scenarios for the future. We will analyse how we fit into it, and most importantly of all, what we can do about it.

Get an introduction to an ethics-based analysis of our potential future.

All classes are $16 and are held at Madame Brussels in Melbourne CBD.

A man with barcode under eye

Human Gene Editing

With the first successful gene editing of twin babies by a Chinese doctor in 2018, many ideas previously only seen in science fiction have become very real indeed. But while technology offers us the possibility of managing or even eradicating genetic conditions, it also raises more questionable uses – designer babies whose appearance and even nature can be determined before birth; the possibility of changing our genes as adults; the expense of these procedures raising class inequality issues; and perhaps even the spectre of involuntary alteration.

Monday, March 25th, 2019

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a crowd of people

Global Population Control

In 2017 the world’s population surpassed 7.5 billion people, and the question was once again raised; how many people is too many? Whether your concern is environmental sustainability, financial security, immigration or simple quality of life, there is no denying that the more people we have, the more pressure is placed on all of these issues. So how many people is too many? And what are our options to control the issue?

Monday, April 29th, 2019

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The internet age has seen the emergence of many any various strange and wonderful phenomenon. Of these, the advent of cryptocurrency as a popular and realistic alternative to state-backed currency is one of the stranger and most significant, threatening to turn the global financial order on its head – for better or worse. With dozens of these currencies now in circulation, massive price booms and crashes now a standard part of the market, and increasing acceptance of cryptocurrency in stores worldwide, the question needs to be asked; is this new technology something we should embrace? Or has the grand experiment failed, and should be shut down before it causes too much damage?

Monday, May 27th, 2019

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tin robots that are not nanobots


Nanotechnology and nanobots is a concept that has fascinated humanity for decades, but which has only recently started to emerge as a truly possible technology. The implications of this are colossal, allowing construction at impossible scales and complexity, treatment of diseases virtually without collateral damage, and profound advances to computing power that could take us into a whole new era of human capacity. Assuming of course, that we can keep the little critters under control. And when you’re talking about machines that are 100 times smaller than the thickness of human hair, that could be quite the challenge – even before you consider the possibility of malicious use.

Monday, June 24th, 2019

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meat in a petri dish

Lab Grown Meat

If you have ever visited an abattoir or broiler farm, then you will have seen firsthand the downside of meat. Regardless of the nutritional and economic benefits of animal farming, there is no denying that it isn’t great for the animals involved – but what if you could enjoy your steak in total confidence that it had never suffered? Because it had never been part of an animal at all. Lab-grown meat could provide exactly that; meat grown from stem cells in a laboratory, with no animal suffering involved whatsoever, and a fraction of the environmental impact that is currently involved in raising and slaughtering animals. But is it really that simple? Does meat need a brain to suffer?

Monday, July 29th, 2019

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old man holding baby


In many ways, defeating death is the ultimate goal of humanity; a malignant force that has forever bound us, dictating everything about our lives, our culture and even our biology, to defeat death would be to know true freedom for the first time in human history. Through developments in medical science, this goals is increasingly possible – but are the costs to this victory worth its benefits? Humanity has forever been shaped by our mortality; without it, what might we become? And would it be better or worse than what we are now?

Monday, August 26th, 2019

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The images used are in the public domain or are under Creative Commons licences: cyber eye gene man population control, cryptocurrency, nanobots, lab grown meat, and immortality.