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S. Matthew Liao & John Rasko - Immortality, fraud and the future of the human species

The In-Between  /  EP07
Available Now
From the ancient tale of Gilgamesh to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, the dream of immortality has long captured the imagination of writers and scientists. But how close are we to conquering death? In a conversation moderated by Simon Longstaff, neuro-ethicist S. Matthew Liao speaks with stem cell-researcher John Rasko about the age of regenerative medicine, the heroes and fraudsters of the past, and the reality of a distant future where genetic engineering helps humans to colonise future planets.

Delve even deeper into the speakers and themes discussed in this episode:

S. Matthew Liao: Engineer humans to stop climate change (FODI 2013)

Download the transcript here


at some point, probably we need to leave this planet if we care about the survival of the human species. Now, in order for the human species to survive in space, we have to get better at genetic engineering.
S. Matthew Liao
Imagination and hope are essential for human existence and for science… The trouble is that our hopes and dreams can trick our eyes and cloud our minds and sabotage our science.
John Rasko

S. Matthew Liao

S. Matthew Liao is a philosopher specialising bioethics. He is Arthur Zitrin Chair of Bioethics, Director of the Center for Bioethics, Professor of Global Public Health, and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University. He has given TED and TEDx talks in New York and Switzerland, and he has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the BBC, Harper’s Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, Scientific American and other media outlets. Liao is the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Moral Philosophy, a peer-reviewed international journal of moral, political and legal philosophy. 


John Rasko

John Rasko is an Australian clinical haematologist, pathologist and scientist, pioneering in the application of adult stem cells and genetic therapies. Since 1999 he has directed the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney. In over 200 publications he has contributed to the understanding of stem cells and blood cell development, human genetic diseases, gene therapy technologies, cancer causation and treatment. Rasko has provided advice to governments in regulating gene technologies and is widely acknowledged as an international thought-leader in regenerative medicines.