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Concern over souped up human race

RATE THIS! +7
Posted in Science on 7th Nov, 2012 10:18 PM by AlexMuller

Within 15 years, experts predict that we will have small devices capable of recording our entire life experience as a continuous video feed - a life log that we can reference when our own memory fails. Advances in bionics and engineering will mean we could all boast enhanced night vision allowing us to see clearly in the dark.

 

While it may be easy to count the potential gains, experts are warning that these advances will come at a significant cost - and one which is not just financial. Four professional bodies - the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society - say that while human enhancement technologies might improve our performance and aid society, their use raise serious ethical, philosophical, regulatory and economic issues.

 

In a joint report, they warn that there is an "immediate need" for debate around the potential harms. Chairwoman of the report's steering committee Prof Genevra Richardson said: "There are a range of technologies in development and in some cases already in use that have the potential to transform our workplaces - for better or for worse."

 

There may be an argument for lorry drivers, surgeons and airline pilots to use enhancing drugs to avoid tiredness, for example. But, in the future, is there a danger that employers and insurers will make this use mandatory, the committee asks.

 

As our population ages, it is accepted that we will all be expected to work further into old age. Human enhancement could enable older workers to keep pace with younger colleagues.

 

But there is also the risk that those who fail to join the technological elite would be sidelined as dinosaurs, says Prof Jackie Leach Scully, professor of social ethics at Newcastle University's Policy, Ethics & Life Sciences Research Centre.



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