In this tenth(!) JNSC held in Groningen our main theme was “The Future of Life”. The main focus of this theme was to discuss the impact of (technological) advancements over time on a variety of subthemes, comparing the way Japan and The Netherlands are handling these changing situations:

  • Birth – About birth rates, birth control, prenatal diagnosis and designer babies.
  • Jobs – About job automatization, influence of AI and work-life balance.
  • Cities – About smart cities, population growth, city-countryside distribution and possible utopian/dystopian futures.
  • Security – About cybercrimes, facial-recognition software and the influence of mass surveillance and big data on privacy.
  • Ageing – About retirement, elder care, age distribution, euthanasia and digital immortality.

Different aspects of each of these topics were introduced and discussed and we had three accompanying lectures by professors of the university and reseachers from the UMCG hospital, going more in-depth about certain principles like genetic alteration and energy efficiency. To conclude, we talked about our own plans for the future.

Most of the conference was held in Groningen, but we also saw other parts of The Netherlands!

We stayed in The Hague for two nights, giving us opportunities to explore both Amsterdam and Rotterdam. We also visited the Embassy of Japan located in The Hague, where Minister Kijima talked about the life of a diplomat in the Netherlands, the differences in styles of diplomacy between the two countries and striving towards common goals.

We also visited the island of Schiermonnikoog where we cycled around the island and enjoyed ourselves at the beach.

Besides this, we also visited a cheese-making factory in Veenhuizen where we could taste different kinds of cheese and we celebrated the fact that this year was the 10th iteration of the JNSC by holding a reunion party!