Should we worry about a future with no humans? This question and many more will be answered in a public lecture at Keele University looking at new advances in science and technology – and their impact on humanity. 

Bioethicist Professor John Harris will give the second of Keele University’s 2008/2009 series of public lectures, “Synthetic Sunshine and Synthetic Biology – The Future of Humanity”, on Monday, November 17, at 6.30pm in the University’s Westminster Theatre. 

He will discuss the radical scientific approaches which could enhance our species – making us live longer and resist disease, for example – and which could result in new and improved successors to humankind. 

Professor Harris is Research Director in the Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation, based in Manchester University’s School of Law, which focuses on the ethical questions raised by science and technology in the 21st century. He is the author or editor of 15 books and more than 200 papers.

He was appointed as the joint Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Medical Ethics in 2004 and was elected a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2001. He has been a member of the United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission since its foundation in 1999 and formerly served on the United Kingdom Government Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing from its foundation in 1996 until its closure. He is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association.

He was one of the Founder Directors of the International Association of Bioethics and is a founder member of the Board of the Journal Bioethics and Associate Editor (Genetics) of the Journal of Medical Ethics, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics and many other journals.

Professor Harris said: “In the future there will be no more humans. This is not one of the things we have to worry about. The lecture will examine the future of humanity in the light of new advances in science and technology and will give an account of the causes for concern in our biotech future.”

Future speakers in Keele’s Public Lecture series include Clare Short MP (March 17), Nick Partridge OBE (Terrence Higgins Trust) (March 23) and Judge Roger Dutton (May 26). David Cooney (Irish ambassador to the UK) and Richard Lambert (Confederation of British Industry) are also set to speak, although the dates are yet to be confirmed.

The lectures are free of charge but it is necessary to reserve a seat. For more information about the lecture series call 01782 734169, e-mail or visit the website at