Human Performance Enhancement Technology
One of the funniest things about human nature is that nothing is ever good enough. No matter how good we are at something, there will always be someone in those 6 billion plus who can do it better. My mom told me that when I was a kid playing soccer in the back yard. They don't sound like the words of encouragement you might expect from a nurturing mother to an aspiring child but it was true. No matter how long I practiced, how many goals I scored, games I won, trophies I put on the shelf of my bedroom, there would always be someone, somewhere who could do me one up. When faced with this thought, we have a choice to make. Give up and ...view middle of the document...
Doctors and Scientists couldn't accomplish anything without their computers. The human Genome project could never have even existed if not for computers and the special software used.
What is Human Performance Enhancement Technology?
Biotechnology is collaborating with Nano-technology, Information technology and Cognitive technology to form the field of Human Performance Enhancement Technology, also referred to as NBIC (nano, bio, info, cogno). This field is associated with a variety of new advancements ranging from new peripheral devices for the computer and newer forms of communication to life extension and memory enhancement. Though some things are accepted readily as an improvement of life, and technological advancement, other aspects of Human Performance Enhancement Technology raise ethical issues that will soon be the subject of worldwide debate.
How is NBIC being used?
An article sponsored by the National Science Foundation entitled, ¡§Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance¡¨ described the following uses for NBIC.
„PA general convergence of technology: To bring all fields together and see just how far we can go.
„PTo expand Human cognition and communication: This includes projects concerning the brain and human cognition as well as technologically improved forms of communication. Improved instant messaging or video phones. Also associated with this topic is the study of learning, and how we can aid learning through technology.
„PImprovement of human health: This includes using what we know of the genome to prevent illness and natural defects. This also encompasses life-extension and memory enhancement. The research behind brain to computer interfaces for paralyzed patients is included as well as some of the devices now used by doctors to operate on patients. Hearing aids and devices to aid blind people are also included in this section.
„PEnhancing society: This section refers to the ways through which NBIC can aid society as a whole. It can help bring scientists, and computer experts, as well as us everyday folk, together to combine resources. The article speaks of a specific machine called ¡§the Communicator¡¨ which it claims can overcome the communication barrier between languages as well as physical disability.
„PNational Security: The department of defense used NBIC in many ways. To anticipate attacks, defend against biological warfare; enhance human performance along with several others.
Is this all ethical?
As we may already be able to gather, Human Performance Enhancement Technology affects everyone. We have already integrated it into our lives without even knowing it. We don¡¦t think twice when we think of doctors using technology to save lives or computers being used to bring people from opposite sides of the...