Though advanced and emerging technologies are capable of fundamentally transforming an economy and society and bringing substantial benefits to our lives, the rate of their development and prevalence is so rapid that the society may not be prepared. Without the realization of their ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI), technology and innovation can cause disruption as a threat to the society or result in the opportunity loss of value creation.
As a national policy agency, NXPO implements a number of actions on issues concerning ELSI of science and technology. The office currently serves as the secretariat of the National Committee on Ethics of Science and Technology which is the main mechanism at the national level to deal with ethical issues of science and technology (S&T), promote ethics in the scientific community and raise awareness of S&T ethics in the society. In addition, five technical working groups have been established to explore ethical issues in five areas: i) genetic engineering and technology; ii) artificial intelligence, robotics and big data; iii) climate change and environment; iv) research ethics; and v) communications and youth engagement in STI policy development. As a result of the study conducted by technical working groups, five white papers have been released, each outlining ethical issues in those five respective areas.
To encourage discussion on S&T ethics among Thai stakeholders and connect players in Thailand with the global community, Thailand hosted the Conference on the Ethics of Science & Technology and Sustainable Development during 5-6 July 2019 in conjunction with the 26th (Ordinary) Session of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the 11th (Ordinary) Session of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), which took place during 2-7 July 2019 in Bangkok. Thailand’s white papers were presented at the Conference, reinforcing Thailand’s contribution to ethics of S&T at the national and international levels. Additionally, the Conference has produced Bangkok Statement on the Ethics of Science and Technology and Sustainable Development, a powerful statement calling for concerted effort of all stakeholders to take actions on ethics of S&T so that new technologies can be progressed and fully developed to benefit mankind.
To keep up with global developments concerning ethical issues of S&T, NXPO joins the global networks engaging in these issues and works closely with UNESCO. It also forms a network with policy makers, government agencies, scientific community in Thailand to ensure the effective implementation of ethics of S&T at the national level.