Ethics of Human Enhancement 101…

circle

While society at large considers the notion of “human enhancement” generally with human genetic engineering, the term usually refers to the “general applications of the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to improve human performance” (p., 113).  Since the 1990’s there has been growing advocacy particularly in the academic fields, but more importantly the rise of these ideas slowly into the general public.  The individuals who work for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies have become some of the most potent activists for ethical human enhancement.

Medical-Nanotechnology

“Advocacy of the case for human enhancement is increasingly becoming synonymous with ‘transhumanism'(which this blog obviously is in favor of!), an ideology and movement which has emerged to support the recognition and protection of the right of citizens to either maintain or modify their own minds and bodies; so as to guarantee them the freedom of choice and informed consent of using human enhancement technologies on themselves and their children” (p., 113).

Many of the critics of transhumanism, or human enhancement for that matter, identify this with eugenic overtones.  This is due to the possibility through the improvement
of human hereditary traits to “attain a universally accepted norm of biological fitness (at the possible expense of human biodiversity and neurodiversity” (p., 113).  Some people take this as a negative notion, although there still will be plenty of diversity and neurodiversity.  This will continue to occur because there will not be a “standard” by which humans will adapt themselves through enhancement.  That’s the beauty of transhumanism= you can enhance and augment yourself anyway you see fit, as long as in the process there is no harm to others, that in itself will entail a variety of bio and neurodiversity.  It just happens to be that some of these enhancements seem so alien to us now, that our initial reactions are negative.  With this, human enhancement particularly those deemed self-evidently good, such as “fewer diseases” and slowing the aging process are beneficial to everyone.

The most common criticism of human enhancement, is that it will be practiced and used to such an extent, recklessly and selfishly and the movement will not consider the long-term consequences of those enhanced individuals and the rest of society.  One example of this is the fear among those whom we called “Bio-Luddites”.  They believe that there will be some enhancements which will “create unfair physical or mental advantages to those who can and will use them, or unequal access to such enhancements can and will further the gulf between the ‘haves’ and have-nots” (p., 114).  What they fail to understand, that this “gulf” is already occuring, but will slow down with the increase of personalized 3D Printing and personalized, regenerative medicine (via, nanotechnology; one of the converging technologies state above).  These technologies are going to converge whether people want this to happen or not.

Further Reading:

Enhancement Technologies Group: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbtdag/bioethics/

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies: http://www.ieet.org/

Humanity+ : http://humanityplus.org/

Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo): http://ethics.calpoly.edu/

Ethics of Human Enhancement: 25 Questions & Answers: http://ethics.calpoly.edu/NSF_report.pdf

Advertisements

Next Stage in our Evolution?…Advanced Human Enhancement!

evolve

It is October 2013 and we as a species rely entirely on the use of enhancing objects, environments, and ourselves.  There are many forms of human enhancement that already exists within the realms of medicine, religion, athletic performance, surgery, prosthetics , cryonics, etc.  This aspect of our daily lives will continue to increase its percentage of enhancements in addition to the biology which we are born with.  Man has always been seeking methods to augment his/her abilities for reasons both pure and disgusting.  Here is the explanation of what human enhancement is:

Human enhancement refers to any attempt to temporarily or permanently overcome the current limitations of the human body through natural or artificial means.  The term is sometimes applied to the use of technological means to select or alter human characterisitcs and capacities, whether or not the alteration results in characteristics and capacities that lie beyond the existing human range.  Here, the test is whether the technology is used for non-therapeutic purposes.  Some bioethicists restrict the term to the non-therapeutic application of specific technologies–neuro-, cyber-, gene-, and nano-technologies–to human biology.

Human enhancement technologies (HET), are techniques that can be used not simply for treating illness and disability, but also for enhancing human characteristics and capacities.  In some circles  the expression “human enhancement technologies” is synonymous with emerging technologies or converging technologies.  In other circles, the expression “human enhancement” is roughly synonymous with human genetic engineering, it is used most often to refer to the general application of the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science to improve human performance. (p., 112-13).*

future-of-technology-

Existing Technologies

  • Reproductive technology
  • Embryo selection by preimplantation genetic diagnosis
  • Physically
  • Doping
  • Performance-enhancing drugs
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Powered Exoskeleton
  • Mentally
  • Nootropics

Emerging Techologies

  • Human genetic engineering
  • Neural implants

Speculative technologies

Exocortex-Implosia-for-SoftImage-ICE

  • Mind uploading
  • Exocortex
  • Augmented Reality
  • Full-Immersion Virtual Reality
  • Body organ replacements
  • Body-computer-interfaces
  • Brain-computer interfaces
  • (many others!!!!)

We must not be afraid of the coming changes to how we live our daily lives. The technologies today may seem too far ahead, but with how spending and loaning occurs, the increase for the market or enhancement, rejuvination, and replacement of body parts will be more enormous that we can comprehend to this point. Old modes of industry and production will be giving way to new modes where the individual is more control of pricing and amount of DIY work.  Enhancement is what actually defines us as a species.  It determines those of us are who are moving onto the next stage of evolution by providing a means for us to alter, increase, expand, deplete chracteristics, habits. Sadly, there are still those, who do not want to enhance themselves, but alas they are lead by bronze age folklore.

The next article will be discussing a few of the major topics on the ethics of human enhancement.

References

*(Transhumanism, Hephaestus Books, 2012)

Self-Extension Through Robots?

emotionalatt

Robots, artificial intelligence, augmented intelligence and human-robot hybridization all are possible helpful tools that we will encounter in the near future.  Even now, there are being studies conducted on the emotional responses to humans working with robots.  Analyzing, and increasing the research on this topic, is critical since we are moving towards a technological singularity. Technology is part of all our lives and in the future will merge our physical bodies with said technologies.  One of the conclusions from their analysis was that even some of the soldiers during their interactions with the field robots, mental self-extension into the body of the robot occured.

Take a look at the article below:

http://phys.org/news/2013-09-emotional-robots-affect-outcome-battlefield.html?fb_action_ids=551530201562357&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source

Transhumanist Librarian is Now Published?

http://www.amazon.com/Longevitize-Philosophy-Politics-Longevity-ebook/dp/B00EX6BCSG/

Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy & Politics of Longevity

412uBWbAU2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

So I have some good news. I have four essays that were included in the publication for this ebook! So now I am officially published!

Here are the titles to my four essays:

1. Amalgamation of Life-Extension and Transcendence as we Move Toward the future

2. Want to Live Indefinitely? Try Cryonic Freezing! Part 1

3. Want to Live Indefinitely? Try Cryonic Freezing! Part 2

4. 3D Printed Appendages…What is Next?

Low-Cost Solar Installation…Worldwide

379

GRID Alternatives http://www.gridalternatives.org/ is just one of several companies that installs solar energy systems on low income houses in California, Colorado, and soon in New York and New Jersey.  Take a look at this staggering statistic:

“Once the solar system is installed, the homeowner pays GRID two cents for              every  kilowatt-hour that the solar panels produce, which typically results in              energy bill  savings of 80 percent.”

So, in reality the homeowner now pays only 20% of what the fossil-fuel based energy sources would cost, and will continue to save money for years to come.  Their particular model for how they get everything paid for is in this article, (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/22/2509761/making-solar-affordable/) but I believe that organizations such as this, should be existing in every nation around the world.  However, this highly depends if the nation has a labor force that can potentially learn and actually install the solar energy systems, but alas, more and more solar technician jobs are being created each and every week. So there is a need for solar technicians on a global scale.

solar-energy-infographic

There are a vast number of communities and societies that desperately need this type of help to lower the financial burden of housing ownership and rentals.  Developing and furthering the reach of these types of programs along with federal and national investments in renewable energy projects, will allow us to progress to a future society, where we will spend considerable less time and energy worrying if we have enough money to keep electricity going.  Instead people will have to work less just to pay a utility company, and will have more monetary resources devoted to whatever they choose.  This is the kind of future society I want to live in: a society in which we help the low-economic citizens of the world by lowering the cost of limitless clean energy consumption.

We must strive to reach more and more clean energy infrastructure for several reasons. The first being is that clean energy projects and installations, increase the demand for skilled workers.  Secondly, along with those skilled workers, there has to be an educational and vocational pipeline modified and efficient enough to support the increasing demand for solar and renewable energy projects. Lastly, these projects save money for many many people in the short and long term, which allows for further research and development into more efficient methods of producing renewable energy and we cannot thank our energy source as organisms; the sun, enough.

se4all_img

If we truly want to ascend to the next stage of societal progress, then 100% renewable energy for every source of energy consumption must be met! Let’s get working towards the future society we all desire!

Longevity Research & Advocacy Now!

DNA2

If we are going to continue and seek out new evolutionary paths for the human species, lengthening the amount of lifespan for each and everyone of us, is quite a first step to complete, but which also has the potential to accelerate our cabilities and capacities to use technology to transform ourselves.  Living a longer, healthier life should be and can be a vital goal for each and every person, government, and community if the effective social tools are in place to increase public and global organizational advocacy while also providing the fuel for driving social and poltical change related to research, funding for science related to lengthening the human lifespan through a myriad of technologies.

Luckily there is one such location where can make a legitimate difference in advocacy and increasing exposure for longevity related petitions for research.  That location is located both on Tumblr and Twitter and its called Longevity Intelligence Communications. Petitions have made quite a bit of difference throughout their history and this is your opportunity to place your name amongst those that support the increased funding and advocacy for extending human lifepspans.  I will be posting and every petition on my blog as well!

Please share and sign these crucial petitions!

Tumblr: http://lonintelcomms.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lonintelcomms