To what extent should we use technology to try to make better human beings? Because of the remarkable advances in biomedical science, we must now find an answer to this question.
Human enhancement aims to increase human capacities above normal levels. Many forms of human enhancement are already in use. Many students and academics take cognition enhancing drugs to get a competitive edge. Some top athletes boost their performance with legal and illegal substances. Many an office worker begins each day with a dose of caffeine. This is only the beginning. As science and technology advance further, it will become increasingly possible to enhance basic human capacities to increase or modulate cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and to control the biological processes underlying normal aging. Some have suggested that such advances would take us beyond the bounds of human nature.
These trends, and these dramatic prospects, raise profound ethical questions. They have generated intense public debate and have become a central topic of discussion within practical ethics. Should we side with bioconservatives, and forgo the use of any biomedical interventions aimed at enhancing human capacities? Should we side with transhumanists and embrace the new opportunities? Or should we perhaps plot some middle course?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Bostrom is Professor at Oxford University, where he is the founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute. He also directs the Strategic Artificial Intelligence Research Centre. Professor Bostrom is the author of the New York Times bestseller Superintelligence (Oxford University Press, 2014), and he is widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent technological thinkers in the world today.
Bostrom has a background in physics, computational neuroscience, and mathematical logic as well as philosophy and is the author of some 200 publications...Read More