Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ethics of Human Enhancement Science Café - May 12th

Cal Poly Science Café at the Kennedy Library Presents:

"The Ethics of Human Enhancement"
Featuring Dr. Patrick Lin, Philosophy Professor and Director of Cal Poly's Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group.

Topic Summary:
Emerging technologies are pushing us beyond nature's limits — turning science fiction into reality. Nanoelectronics promise to give us tiny computing devices, embedded in our heads or clothing, to communicate by thought alone and access the Internet on demand. Neuroscience is helping to create soldiers that don't need to eat or sleep. Robotics is creating an exoskeleton that grants us super-human strength. Pharmacology already gives us drugs to enhance our performance in sports, school, and sex.

Our familiarity with this last category hints at the kind of concerns that new enhancing technologies will raise—from freedom to alter our own bodies to fairness in social institutions. Some view human enhancement as the natural course of our evolution; others see it as a threat to the idea of "being human" and a path toward creating a Frankenstein's monster.

This presentation will survey the ethical and practical issues in this important debate.

Dr. Patrick Lin is an assistant philosophy professor and director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.