Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Human Enhancement and Augmented Reality

Gordon, E.C.
Philos. Technol. 37, 17 (2024).


Bioconservative bioethicists (e.g., Kass, 2002, Human Dignity and Bioethics, 297–331, 2008; Sandel, 2007; Fukuyama, 2003) offer various kinds of philosophical arguments against cognitive enhancement—i.e., the use of medicine and technology to make ourselves “better than well” as opposed to merely treating pathologies. Two notable such bioconservative arguments appeal to ideas about (1) the value of achievement, and (2) authenticity. It is shown here that even if these arguments from achievement and authenticity cut ice against specifically pharmacologically driven cognitive enhancement, they do not extend over to an increasingly viable form of technological cognitive enhancement – namely, cognitive enhancement via augmented reality. An important result is that AR-driven cognitive enhancement aimed at boosting performance in certain cognitive tasks might offer an interesting kind of “sweet spot” for proponents of cognitive enhancement, allowing us to pursue many of the goals of enhancement advocates without running into some of the most prominent objections from bioconservative philosophers.

Here is a summary:

The article discusses how Augmented Reality (AR) can be a tool for human enhancement. Traditionally, human enhancement focused on using technology or medicine to directly alter the body or brain. AR, however, offers an alternative method for augmentation by overlaying information and visuals on the real world through devices like glasses or contact lenses. This can improve our abilities in a variety of ways, such as providing hands-free access to information or translating languages in real-time. The article also acknowledges ethical concerns surrounding human enhancement, but argues that AR offers a less controversial path compared to directly modifying the body or brain.