Center for Science, Technology, and Society

The Center for Science, Technology, and Society is a research center of excellence focusing on social, ethical, and cultural aspects of science and technology, especially as they pertain the Thai and other non-western societies and cultures. 


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About Us

Today's world is one in which science and technology play an essential role in almost every aspect of life. Almost all the changes that are taking place are due to advances in science and technology, as can be seen in the emergence of the internet, which enable information to explode exponentially in the past few years, and biotechnology, which has made such scenarios as human cloning and genetic manipulation of organisms an everyday reality.

These advances naturally create a whole set of problems that have hitherto been non-existent just a few years ago. For example, who would have thought that the internet would have grown so fast and has become so pervasive in virtually all aspects of life, so much so that it has well become lifeblood of humans' communicative activities and has the potential of 'taking over' the real world and to replace it with its own world where everything, both real and unreal, is 'indexed' (or 'googled') and has value tagged on. A clear problem is the digital divide between those who enjoy the benefits brought about by the technology, and those who are left behind. Another, well known problem is how privacy of citizens are going to be protected when every corner of reality has become item in the manipulable and calculable "information reality" (Borgmann 1999). Furthermore, AI technology has become much more powerful than just a decade ago, and its power is poised increase exponentially as more data become available for their analyses. Its use by both the government and large corporations appears to be eroding the rights of the citizens in a way that could be detrimental to democratic values worldwide.

Moreover, biotechnology has also become more powerful and pervasive in our lives. The success of cloning mammals on the one hand is a first step in research on new ways of treating hitherto intractable diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease through culturing of stem cells. But on the other hand, it is well known that the possibility of getting fertilized cells of potential human beings and manipulate them to serve the needs of patients is ethically problematic. The world is now engaged in a series of wide-ranging debates on the moral of stem cell research. Moreover, genetic manipulation technology has also created no less heated controversies, as plants and animals are now malleable to the needs or perhaps desires of human beings. Many very difficult problems, ones not confined to the technical nature of these advances alone, lie ahead.

These advances, in addition, are pertinent not only to the developed Western world, but the developing world such as Thailand has inevitably felt the impact created by these rapid advances. The spread of the Internet to the developing world has prompted many to say that there are overt or covert attempts to 'colonize the consciousness' of the population in the developing world (Hershock 1999), where the thinking and beliefs of the latter are manipulated through the information technology by those in the developed world. The spread of biotechnology has also created the same type of problems.

The problems spawned by these rapid advances in science and technology, therefore, require sustained thinking and research effort in order to understand what is going on and to chart the course not only for people in Thailand and other developing countries, but also for everyone in the world. These efforts are not limited to any specific disciplines in the humanities, the social science, or even the natural sciences themselves. Thus, Chulalongkorn University has approved a proposal by a group of scholars who are concerned with this interdisciplinary effort to set up the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, which works as a focal point within the university for studying the multifarious aspects of this fascinating intersection between the natural sciences, the social science, and the humanities. The Center grows out of the previous effort by the university in establishing and supporting the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology (CEST) (Click here for the old website of the CEST). As the works on the intersection have grown, the scope of the previous Center has now been expanded to include even more interdisciplinary work.

Faculty of Arts

Chulalongkorn University


1. To conduct research on the social, ethical, cultural, legal aspects of science and technology, most notably those related to information technology and biotechnology, especially in the context of the non-western world;
2. To act as a focal point for global collaborative effort in science and technology studies as well as in other related disciplines;
3. To disseminate knowledge and perform outreaching programs to the general public;
4. To conduct academic services consisting of interdisciplinary research as well as ethical business planning related to science, technology, and society.

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