Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
Internet of Things
Bioart & Biodesign
Genetic Editing & Selection
Life Extension and Aging
Stem Cell Research
Ethics of Outer Space
Gene Doping & Genetic Tests
General Olympic History
Recent and Forthcoming Olympic Cities
TV: BBC 2 Newsnight, BBC News 24, BBC World with David Eades, CBC The Hour, CNN, Sky News, Channel 4, TV Globo
Radio: BBC Radio 4 Start the Week with Andrew Marr, CBC The Current, BBC World Service
Print: TIME, Associated Press, AFP, BBC Focus Magazine, Chicago Tribune, El Pais, Globe & Mail, The Guardian, House Magazine, The Independent, La Vanguardia, Politiken, Reuters, The Washington Post, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, The Sunday Express, The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Vogue Magazine, Wallpaper Magazine, Wired Magazine,
In one platform, we see the playing out of worries about machines taking over our world and yet they are also deeply embedded in our history of creating technology that intends to destroy.
Consequently, sport became a core focus for my work. This research grew quickly into a broader focus on the ethics and cultural study of human enhancement, along with biolegal research. At the turn of the century, the human genome project and the growing shift in language within research and medicine to think of ageing as a disease rather than just something that people encounter as they grow old, focused my work on the range of ways that humanity could be made more resilient and more biologically adaptable by way of human enhancements.
Over the years, I have written about various kinds of enhancement, from memory deletion to genetic modification and I've published in journals of law, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology and science. After completing my PhD in 2002, I undertook a Master degree in Medical Law, which really brought home how crucial it is for these discussions to borrow from different disciplinary insights. Since then, I have been involved with a range of international projects, focused on human enhancement. Alongside this work, I have developed theoretical perspectives on posthumanism, cyborg culture, and challenges to conventional bioethics.
ART & Design
ART & Design
Over time, my relationship to art has evolved and this continues. Recently, I have found myself occupying curatorial roles in art science programmes within science festivals. I have also worked as an artist and creative lead on projects dealing with the material of science as a communication device. Also recently, I find myself making more films and exploring this practice, while retaining a core interest in photography. I am someone who feels strongly about documenting the world around me and so try to do the best I can to do this creatively and in a way that allows my own ideas to flourish in the most optimal conditions. Without artistic and creative practice, I don't think this is possible.
I've maintained a close relationship with the MA in Design Interactions at the RCA, for which I guest lecture once in a while and have collaborated on new biodesign works by some of its graduates. The most recent brief I worked on with the students related to the drone art project I am involved with from 2015-2016, which explores creative applications of drones.
In 2008, I became involved with the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool, during its 'Human Futures' year. I ended up edited one of their most ambitious publications, called Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty from start to finish with 6 months (pictures below). It was a marathon and a sprint all at once. I then became closely intwined with one of its offshoots, Abandon Normal Devices, for which I have worked since its inception. I was also part of the community that developed its intellectual journey in its early years.
Through these links, I have been involved with a range of other artist initiatives and communities. I was on the Executive Committee for the International Symposium on Electronic Arts in Belfast during 2009 and Co-Chair of the Media Art Histories conference in Liverpool during 2011. I'm also a member of the Technical Committee for the Cultural Utilization of Outer Space, part of the International Astronautical Federation.
Together, all of these relationships inform and are informed by my interest in how science and technology are changing what it is to be human. This is the single thread running through all of my work and I work with artists and designers to explore these dimensions.
At this point, I had decided that I wanted to invest much more into photography as an artistic outlet and it really brings me a lot of joy. I am lucky enough to know some truly remarkable photographs, such as Kris Krug, Ed Alcock and, through Olympic connections, Anthony Edgar, Bob Martin, Nick Didlick, and Gary Hershorn. While there is a lot to be worried about in terms of professional photography and how it is affected by the proliferation of pro-amateurs, I think all new innovation leads to challenging creative skillsets and think this is something of a golden age of photography.
From 2006 to 2016, I was a guest contributor to the remarkable Master Degree at the Royal College of Art called Design Interactions, which was led by Tony Dunne and Fiona Raby, two extraordinary and lovely people. This community of designers and artists have been a huge influence on my approach to working creatively and nicely interfaced with another core part of my creative development which was alongside the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology - FACT - in Liverpool.
I was appointed a Fellow of FACT in 2006 and have worked with its Director Professor Mike Stubbs and its wider entourage of creatives, many of whom have become close friends. Around 2008, I became involved with the foundation of the Abandon Normal Devices festival, having worked closely with Mike, Debbi Lander, and Gabrielle Jenks in producing this new event around the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad period. Working with these organizations has shaped my understanding of curating and working as an artist and allowed me to step into new roles.
I have published 3 books on the Olympic Games, the first "The Basics" provides an overview of key, contemporary issues and historical influences particularly interested in the way that the Olympics commands global political attention and the values upon which it is based, which articulate its role as an international social movement. These include chapters on how the Olympics transcend sports, engaging us with a range of contemporary philosophical, social, cultural and political matters, including:
The second book looks at Social Media and the Olympics, while my latest book 'Sport 2.0' (MIT Press, 2017) considers how journalism has evolved in the digital age and how it changes what we know about the games. It covers the emerging world of eSports and includes a covers such areas as social media, virtual reality, and citizen journalism.
Besides studying the broad dimensions of the Olympic programme, I have conducted fieldwork at every winter and summer Olympics since Sydney 2000 working often as an accredited journalist.
My most recent Olympic role is as the social media mentor for the International Olympic Committee Young Reporters programme, which involved taking 35 trainees to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games to learn how to be an Olympic journalist.
I was also a supervising Professor at the International Olympic Academy, spent time researching at the IOC Olympic Studies Centre in Lausanne and saw shot putt at the Ancient Stadium of Olympia during the Athens 2004 Olympics.
I also recently led and delivered a new IOC Massive Open Online Course on Sports Media, which brought together some of the world's best media pros.
...but the beauty of science is often lost amidst the politics and problems of getting science done. This is why science communication is so important to me. Finding new, creative ways to engage with scientific research before it goes too far down a road that we don't want is a crucial part of what the science industries need to be doing. I think we're still searching for the ideal route towards bringing society deeper into science, and this is why research into science communication and public engagement is so crucial. One of the ways I try to do this work is by giving public lectures at science festivals, which are a great opportunity to exchange ideas about the direction of science and some of the ethical issues society faces as a result of its pursuit.
The video below tells the story of one recent project I was involved with, which brought debates about human enhancement to a youth theatre group.
and it was already apparent that the Internet was changing the way we communicated. A lot of the early debates back in the 1990s were keen to investigate how we would all change as a result and I was fascinated by those kinds of questions. I still am.
Over the years, I have investigated a range of topics in this area, from studies of ethnicity, computer games, and issues of health and cybermedicine. Most recently, my attention has turned to the rise of social media, citizen journalism, esport, and the transformative potential of relocating media production away from media organizations back into society. I am also working on the growing area of mobile health technologies and, more widely, wearable technologies and the Internet of Things. Around 2013-2014, I was a Google Glass Explorer and made a bunch of films at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, which showed its potential.
I am also an avid, amateur digital designer and dedicated netizen. I started working on websites in the late 1990s and have continued to learn new software over the years. I believe that having a web presence is crucial for an academic to reach more people with their research. Also, I think it is difficult to know which critical questions matter about life online, if you don't spend much time there. I've experimented with many platforms over the years and tend to create accounts in places that I think are up-and-coming. I have found that the process of designing presentations and websites becomes an integral part of the research process I go through when initiating a project or beginning to write.
Whether it is the ethics of social media or of human enhancement, what matters to me is the degree to which science and technological culture alters humanity's conditions for the better or worse.
As a philosopher, I am compelled by the premise that our ability to think clearly about moral concepts is crucial in order for us to get right most things within our society. This doesn't mean that philosophy has all of the answers, far from it, but if we fail to get the philosophy right at the beginning, then anything else that follows is likely to be left wanting.
For instance, as one begins to consider the policy implications of emerging technologies, it quickly becomes apparent how a range of moral perspectives must be identified and accommodated to promote effective solutions. This requires philosophers to assist in making good arguments that can lead to good policies, even when sometimes issues are so complex as to frustrate any suitable resolution.
Most of the website posts I have made on ethics focus on bioethics, which is the core contribution I have made in this area. However, if you search more generally for ethics within the site, you will find a range of work.
The growth of the European Space Agency and the convergent area that spaces ethics is, provides a very interesting environment through which to study the ethics of emerging technlogies. "At the core of NASA's future space exploration is a return to the moon, where we will build a sustainable long term human presence." (NASA Website, 2009). In 2008, I gave a talk at the International Astronautical Federation Congress and in 2015, I contributed to a panel debate at the UK Space Conference. My interests in this area are in the governance and ethics of space.