Digital Agenda for Europe

A trans-humanistic era

By 2050, a new form of human (a trans-human) will emerge, where ICTs and bio-medicine will fundamentally improve the human condition and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. The augmentation of human beings’ cognitive and intellectual abilities through technological implants, such as memory and energy storage, will be possible.Humans will benefit from better senses and biological capabilities that are so far the prerogative of other species (e.g. speed, resistance, adaptation to extreme conditions, etc.). Conversely, future cyborgs and soft robots could be built out of biological components.Understanding the ethical and regulatory implications of the “enhanced human”, managing change and impacts on individuals (body-mind adaptation), preventing new divides, regulating use of ‘add-ons’ (e.g. for military use), are the key issues with which future policy makers will have to cope.

Key issues

Safety: the impacts generated by the contamination of biology with technology are unpredictable, particularly, the side-effects on biological functions and psychology. These remain largely to be studied even today (e.g.  drugs for cognitive enhancement).

Social issues: whereas individual enhancement might be considered an individual’s right, the social implications raise issues such as: dealing with the dichotomy of haves and have-nots, avoiding disparities, for instance from the economically disadvantaged not being able to access certain enhancements, societal acceptance, etc.

Human identity and values: human enhancement blurs the notion of identity and of what it means to be human. It may also lead to a new normative view of the human, thus stigmatising what does not attain this norm, by choice or otherwise. These issues exist already at the heart of debates around trans-humanism.

Regulation and law enforcement: can we ensure that the rights of all beings (and machines) are accurately defined, reflected in law and respected, as our shared values evolve?

Legal issues: e.g. how might society view the transfer of augmentation features to offspring, or the right of parents to choose certain augmentations for their children before or after birth?

Trade-offs: what challenges might arise in building human enhancement technologies to reflect trade-offs between control and freedom, and between risks and needs to advance research?

Bioethics and the need for new concepts and regulations: what are the moral implications of using human-enhancement technologies for offensive or competition purposes, like combat, intelligence, or sports?  Will humanity be able to agree on strong regulations and enforcement worldwide?

Clash between regulatory frameworks and demand for human enhancement; too restrictive regulatory policies could lead to a potentially huge shadow economy in the related sectors.

Divides: emergence of an inequality gap between enhanced and non-enhanced humans.

Acceptance: what might be the primary ethical debates regarding big data storage about human anatomy, diseases, lifestyles; religious acceptance against human extension?

Will a shared framework of ethical governance that helps ensuring the integrity of all beings, from human to machine – as interconnectedness between humans, machines, and other life forms accelerates, and our shared cognition, and perception of cognition, emerge?

How will new technologies and applications in bio-medicine, ICT and material sciences; and new market sectors leveraging new technologies and responsible innovation, evolve?

Will we be able to resolve equality and inclusion issues, particularly recovery and enhancement of lost or damaged physiological functions, making the body more resilient and resistant for all?

In the light of potential emergene of trans-humanity, will we see enhancement of safety and healing, and improving living conditions for all?

How, and to what extent, will enhanced capabilities increase of people’s productivity?

Will trans-humanism open up significant opportunities to reduce dependency on unsustainable technologies (e.g. running instead of driving)?



~ by mindcontrolinsweden on January 9, 2014.

2 Responses to “Digital Agenda for Europe”

  1. Not connected to creation, but to the created…

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