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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME) Center for Medical Humanities

Registration for the 2016 Zurich Workshop on Film & Enhancement is now open


Enhancement & Ethics in the Movies of Andrew Niccol (June 1, 2016)

20 years of Gattaca: reflecting on the era of human enhancement

2017 will be the 20-year anniversary of the now classic science-fiction movie Gattaca, which presents a future society driven by eugenics where potential children are conceived through genetic engineering to ensure they possess a perfect and disease-free life, while others, known as “in-valids,” are relegated to a brutal existence of menial labor. Important ethical and legal issues relating to genetic determinism versus free will, human enhancement, genetic discrimination, embryo selection, and genetic privacy, are portrayed in the film.

To prepare this celebration, the Center for Medical Humanities of the University of Zurich is organizing an International Workshop entitled 'Enhancement & Ethics in the Movies of Andrew Niccol', on June 1, 2016. The aim of the Workshop is to explore the ethical issues surrounding human enhancement by looking specifically at the artistic work of screenwriter and director Andrew Niccol (with particular attention to the movies Gattaca, S1m0ne, In Time, and The Host). This debate is especially topical today, in the context of the current discussion on CRISPR, the new gene-editing technique that allows researchers to easily change, delete or replace genes in any plant or animal, including people.


Nicholas Agar, Roberto Andorno, Tobias Eichinger, Viviana Garcia Llerena, Johann Roduit, and students.


Please register by email to Johann Roduit before May 15, 2016 with name, title and affiliation. Limited number of participants. There is no registration fee.

Public Lecture and Film Screening

Following the workshop, there will be a public lecture of Prof. Agar, from 18:00-19:30, followed by a public screening of The Host (Niccol, 2013)

Poster for the workshop  (PDF, 373 KB)