ethics in science and technology
Should humans be made stronger, smarter, longer-lived, or whatever? Suppose we could find ways to change our body technologically?
Edinethics has been working for several years on one of the most challenging future issues in technology.
A European Commission expert report stressed the importance of opening up questions of human enhancement to wider European society, rather than leave it to be driven by technocrats. Edinethics has worked with the New Economics Foundation to produce free materials and tools for people to look at these issues for themselves.
For a quick look, why not download our Open Up! argument map on human enhancement.
If you would be interested in playing this with your friends, or colleages, we'd like to hear from you. There's also a version of it in Dutch.
Scientists are starting to say itís no longer just science fiction that they could one day alter the human body and mind, in ways that might make humans stronger, faster, cleverer, perhaps more artistic, even longer lived. Itís called human enhancement. Itís mostly still in the future, but research is beginning, and is raising some far reaching issues. Edinethics was a partner in a European Commission FP7 ETHENTECH Project examining the ethics of implants for medicine and human enhancement (2009-12) and also creating a Democs game.
To find out more about what this is all about and some of the ethical and social implications, download a report Human Enhancement?, produced by a working group of leading European experts in December 2007, as part of the EC FP6 NanoBioRaise (2005-08) research programme. Rather than speculating on futuristic dreams, the report examines three state-of-the-art case studies - on linking the brain and computer chips, drugs which can enhance cognitive performance, and electrical stimulation of the brain. It also asks if enhancements in sport offer warnings or pointers for wider society. Its conclusions also offer food for thought for the governance of technology.
Religious views are seen as important in these issues. As part of the ETHENTECH report we are looking find out views from different religions across Europe. To begin debate in the churches, Edinethics also helped draft a discussion paper as part of a working group on biotechics of the Conference of European Churches (CEC: representing most of Europe's Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox churches). Download the CEC report
Human Enhancement poses some far-reaching ethical issues. Here are some to think about.