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Monday, September 25, 2017

Science debate: Should we embrace an enhanced future?

Alexander Lees
Originally posted September 9, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Are we all enhanced?

Most humans are now enhanced to be resistant to many infectious diseases. Vaccination is human enhancement. Apart from "anti-vaxxers" - as those who lobby against childhood inoculations are often dubbed - most of us are content to participate. And society as a whole benefits from being free of those diseases.

So what if we took that a pharmaceutical step further. What if, as well as vaccines against polio, mumps, measles, rubella and TB, everyone also "upgraded" by taking drugs to modify their behaviour? Calming beta-blocker drugs could reduce aggression - perhaps even helping to diffuse racial tension. Or what if we were all prescribed the hormone oxytocin, a substance known to enhance social and family bonds - to just help us all just get along a little better.

Would society function better with these chemical tweaks? And might those who opt out become pariahs for not helping to build a better world - for not wanting to be "vaccinated" against anti-social behaviours?

And what if such chemical upgrades could not be made available to everyone, because of cost or scarcity? Should they be available to no one? An enhanced sense of smell might be useful for a career in wine tasting but not perhaps in rubbish disposal.

A case in point is military research - an arm of which is already an ongoing transhumanism experiment.

Many soldiers on the battlefield routinely take pharmaceuticals as cognitive enhancers to reduce the need to sleep and increase the ability to operate under stress. High tech exoskeletons, increasing strength and endurance, are no longer the realms of science fiction and could soon be in routine military use.

The article is here.