The international community has been aware of the harmful effects of the application of scientific and technical advances for some time. The International Conference on Human Rights, held in Tehran in 1968, sounded the alarm and the United Nations General Assembly subsequently adopted resolution 2450 (XXIII), in which it invited the Secretary-General and the executive heads of the competent specialized agencies to undertake a study of the problems in connection with human rights arising from developments in science and technology.
The research areas in question do not lend themselves easily to classification. Scientific activity is extremely wide-ranging and encompasses all aspects of human life, from the time the embryo is conceived to the time a human being is born, lives and finally disappears or, to be less categorical, departs for a better world. There are some areas of activity, however, which appear more risky than others and which require constant attention: (a) medicine and health, (b) computing and (c) nuclear energy.