T.J. Foley ‘20 United Nations SPecial Summit on Technology

T.J. Foley ‘20
United Nations SPecial Summit on Technology

T.J. Foley

Where are you from, what do you study, and what is your favorite activity on campus? I’m originally from Iowa, also known as the best state in the U.S. and I study social studies with a focus on technology policy. I hope to pursue a career in the legal system, primarily as a federal prosecutor. I enjoy working with low-income people as they navigate the small claims legal system on campus.
What issue captivates your attention and keeps you up at night? There are a lot of things that keep me up at night, namely the newest additions to Netflix. But the primary topic that I think about is the relationship between large technology companies and political sovereignty. As large companies continue to resemble governments, I like wrestling with the appropriate model to regulate these entities.
Do you have any hidden talents or favorite hobbies? I love photography, traveling, aviation, and I do halfway decent political impressions. I can’t wait for Tokyo!

Topic: Genetic Editing

In the Special Summit on Technology, delegates will consider pressing questions regarding the status of the most recent innovations in biotechnology, especially related to genetic editing. As the techniques for assessing and modifying the human genome continue to reach maturity, the international community must create a consensus that balances commercial and medical priority with ethical restraint. Technologies like CRISPR are groundbreaking instruments in the study of biology. However, with substantial power comes great responsibility. Scholars, scientists, and politicians openly question whether humanity is prepared to reckon with its own building blocks and many fear that the laws and norms of the international community lag behind the rapid advances of technology.

In this committee, delegates will explore a variety of themes related to bioethics, defense, scientific collaboration, public health, income inequality, and intellectual property. At the center of each of these issues is genetic editing, which has a substantial impact on each area noted above. The primary project of the committee will be drafting a set of expectations for state actors, private firms, and individual researchers to ensure that genetic study can advance for the good of humanity while also not undermining the foundational qualities of what makes us human.