In the European Union (EU), animals are recognized to have an intrinsic value that must be respected. Since 1986, the EU provides specific legislation to protect the use of animals for scientific purposes. The Directive was extensively updated in 2010, with the aim to strengthen legislation, improve the welfare of those animals still needed in scientific procedures, as well as to firmly adopt the principle of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement). The Directive 2010/63 is widely recognized as the world’s most stringent and progressive legal framework for protecting animals used in scientific procedures. According to the Eurobarometer of March 2016 about attitudes of Europeans towards animal welfare, it is clearly recognized that animal welfare and animal protection are very important issues for European citizens.
Research integrity has become an increasingly important aspect of modern research. Problems such as the reproducibility crisis and fierce pressure on academics to succeed motivate organisations at all levels to engage with initiatives that support good research conduct. But what is research integrity? How does it differ from ethics?
Cognitive functions underlie everything we feel, think, and do. It has often been assumed that the cognitive capacities of an individual, whether human or animal, is fixed, either at birth or at maturation. Yet recent studies have demonstrated that cognitive functions can be modified by a wide variety of factors, many of which are controllable. Some of these, including sleep and meditation, are not currently ethically controversial. But others, especially those which make use of advanced technology or unfamiliar drugs, have been challenged on ethical grounds.
Press headlines frequently refer to robots that think like humans, or even have feelings, but is there any basis of truth in such headlines, or are they simply sensationalist hype? Computer scientist EW Dijkstra famously wrote, “the question of whether machines can think is about as relevant as the question of whether submarines can swim”, but the question of robot thought is one that cannot so easily be dismissed. In this talk I will attempt to answer the question “how intelligent are present day intelligent robots?” and describe efforts to design robots that are not only more intelligent but also have a sense of self. But if we should be successful in designing such robots, would they think like animals, or even humans? And what are the realistic prospects for future (sentient) robots as smart as humans?