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BBVA' s Chairman and CEO and Spain' s minister for Education, Culture and Sports present Values and Ethics for the 21st Century
Francisco González: ''We need shared ethics and values to overcome the major global challenges''
- From left to right: Montserrat Domínguez, facilitator of the event; Sandip Tiwari, professor of Engeneer in Cornell University; José Ignacio Wert, Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports; Francisco González, Chairman of BBVA; Saskia Sassen, professor of Sociology in Columbia University; y Andy Miah, president of Ethic´s and Technology´s Department in West Scotland University.
- From Left to right: Andy Miah, Saskia Sassen, Francisco González, BBVA' s Chairman, Sandip Tiwari y Montserrat Dominguez, facilitator of the event.
- Values and Ethics for the 21st Century is the fourth volume in the collection published each year by BBVA to raise awareness of the challenges of our time. All of the books published are available in digital format at OpenMind’s website (www.bbvaopenmind.com)
- BBVA’s Chairman and CEO also presented the OpenMind app for iPads which comes with advanced reading and content viewing capabilities. It also includes the OpenConversation area, designed to make the site’s knowledge community more social
- Sandip Tiwari, an eminent researcher in the field of nanotechnology, Saskia Sassen, a global authority on the challenges posed by the accelerated urbanization phenomenon, and Andy Miah, a trailblazer in research into the ethical ramifications of emerging technology and human enhancement, also participated in the event
This afternoon, Francisco González, Chairman and CEO of BBVA, and José Ignacio Wert, Spain’s Minister for Education, Culture and Sports, presented Values and Ethics for the 21st Century, a book that brings together the thoughts of some 20 specialists from different fields of learning about how we should approach and leverage universal ethics principles to tackle the major challenges thrown up by the 21st century.
During the book presentation at Madrid’s Marqués de Salamanca Palace, Francisco González stressed that technological progress and globalization are driving the world towards “changes that call into question many of our convictions and the ways we think and behave”.
This generates uncertainties and conflicts that have been exacerbated by an economic and financial crisis “that has highlighted management ethical deficiencies at multiple companies and institutions around the world, among other shortcomings intrinsic to the global system”.
However, BBVA’s chief executive also believes that the crisis could also mark “the turning point in articulating a more efficient and productive economic and financial system that is also more stable and fairer. We need shared ethics and values to overcome the major global challenges”.
Francisco González went on to stress BBVA’s commitment to “building a business endeavor underpinned by firm ethical principles, based on the conviction that good ethics are not only an ideal but also a profitable strategy”.
In addition to BBVA’s Chairman and CEO and Spain’s Minister for Education, Culture and Sports, three of the book’s authors and members of the OpenMind community also took part in the event: Sandip Tiwari, Professor in Engineering at Cornell University (US), Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology at Columbia University (US), and Andy Miah, Chair in Ethics and Emerging Technologies at University of West Scotland (UK).
In his speech, Sandip Tiwari dealt with the social benefits and challenges posed by the latest developments in his field of work, nanotechnology. Tiwari believes that one of the biggest issues facing today’s society is the fact that “societies are unable to keep apace with scientific progress so that they often adopt new technologies without being familiar the risks they entail”. By way of example, Tiwari cites the development of machines capable of generating and running algorithms with the potential to trigger a financial crisis or the production of nano-structured batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles that use ‘dirty carbon’. Prevention of these consequences is very challenging and can only be achieved by means of “bottom-up ethical thinking”: driven by families and the education system.
Sociologist Saskia Sassen focused on the challenges raised by accelerated urban growth. Sassen warns that cities are losing their capacity to triage conflict through commerce and civic activity, becoming sites for a whole range of new types of conflicts. In her opinion, the so-called ‘smart cities’, replete with large enclosed facilities supervised by private companies, weaken the civic sense because they leave civic duties and policies in the hands of technology systems that are under private control. We need to ‘urbanize’ the technology.
Andy Miah specializes is the study of the relationship between ethics and emerging technologies. His speech covered the ethical issues that arise as a result of human enhancement. His thesis is that humanity is entering an era of ‘transhuman’ enhancements in which we will be able to manipulate biology at will. This ‘transhumanization’ spans modification of our brains to boost memory or cognitive ability to altering our biology in order to make us more resistant to our surroundings, lengthen our lifespan or develop new capabilities. Society is not ready, in his opinion, to tackle the ethical implications of this situation which affects every aspect of human life.
A piece of work intended to spark private contemplation and group debate
The idea underpinning Values and Ethics for the 21st Century is to offer points of view, arguments and ideas that spark private contemplation and collective debate in plain language that steers clear of dogmatism. To this end, the vision presented by philosophers and ethics theorists is offset by the perspectives of scientists and economic and business management experts.
The book is structured around five sections. The first provides a panoramic view of the major global ethics issues of our time. The second tackles the ethical issues posed by scientific and technological progress. The third group of articles is devoted to some of the biggest problems facing humanity: economic development, poverty and environmental damage. Business ethics, values and principles, which are playing a leading role in the debate about the lingering crisis, are dealt with in the fourth section of the book, which closes with a series of articles about ethics in finance.
A new application for the iPad
The book presentation was complemented with the launch of OpenMind’s debut iPad application. The new app comes with advanced reading and content viewing capabilities as well as a dedicated chatroom - OpenConversation – where users can start debates, ask questions about the articles’ content and comment on the posts made by other members.
With its user-friendly and intuitive browser, OpenMind’s iPad app is the gateway to a host of varied content including articles, topics, author profiles, current news, OpenMind tweets, eBooks and videos.