Licence to Deceive
This year's Reith Lecturer is Onora O'Neill. She became Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, in l992 and has chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission. She is currently chair of the Nuffield Foundation and she has been President of the Aristotelian Society, and a member of the Animal Procedures (Scientific) Committee. In 1999 she was made a life peer as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, and sits as a crossbencher. She has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In her final Reith Lecture Onora O'Neill asks, how do we decide who to trust when we search for inform about the wider world? Information technologies are ideal for spreading reliable information, but they dislocate us from our ordinary ways of judging one another's claims and deciding where to place our trust. We may reasonably worry not only about the written word, but also about broadcast speech, film and television. These technologies are designed for one-way communication with minimal interaction. Those who control and use them may or may not be trustworthy. How are we to check what they tell us?