Mary Shelley starts writing ‘The Frankenstein’

Mary Shelley, the British writer, started writing 'Frankenstein' in 1816 in Villa Diodati in Geneva. Shelley was a great fan of science and experimentation. However, she also recognised the potential for the abuse and misuse of science and technology. 

The beginning is always today

Shelley, M. (2014). Short stories, Vol. II. Miniature Masterpieces.

Together with Lord Byron and a group of friends, Shelley came to Geneva in search of better weather, as Geneva typically has more sunny days than London. This was not the case in 1816. That year, both cities missed summer weather because of the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. 

Shelley was a big fan of science and experimentation. She believed that science and technology could improve the human condition.  However, she also recognised the potential for abuse and misuse of these new technologies. In this way, Shelley brought into the focus important questions about the ethics of progress and how to use scientific knowledge in a responsible way. 

Even though technology and society have come a long way since 1816, the dilemma that people faced then are still relevant today. How far can technology go in affecting core human features? Are there ethical limits to technological development?

Here you can find an excerpt from Jovan Kurbalija's study published in the Geneva Digital AtlasEspriTech de Genève  Why does technology meet humanity in Geneva