Prof. Dr. Alena Buyx


Alena Buyx, MD PhD MA is Professor of Ethics in Medicine and Health Technologies and Director of the Institute of History and Ethics in Medicine at Technical University Munich. Previously, she held positions at Kiel University, Harvard University, University College London and Münster University. She is a member of the German Ethics Council.

As a researcher, Alena Buyx is interested in the ethical implications of transformative technologies for medicine, healthcare and wider society. As a teacher, she helps shape the perspective of future leaders in medicine and health technology development. As a consultant, she advises large international research consortia on ethical research practice, and the German government on complex ethical questions regarding novel developments in biomedicine. As a speaker, she communicates about the big issues that affect us all.

Session at NextM

‘Ethics in the Age of AI & Big Data’

The power of big data analytics together with artificial intelligence and machine learning currently enables the development of new tools to predict and understand risks at an unprecedented speed. Not only do we understand illnesses better – we are getting closer to near-perfect, individual health risk profiles. Not only can we predict some behaviors – we are now also getting closer to predicting our innermost thoughts, our character, our ideas. These novel tools have great potential to improve our lives, not just regarding our health, but far beyond. However, they also come with a number of significant dangers and many ethical issues. Some even say that we are facing an ‘Oppenheimer’ moment: are we developing beneficial tools for humanity, or are we unleashing a terrible power we only half understand at this point? The talk will explore some of the dangers and ethical issues and invite members of the audience to consider how these ethical aspects touch their individual lives, and what they might mean to them.