Printed: 2019-10-18

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies





IEET Link: https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/miah20090502

Make me a superhero: The pleasures and pitfalls of body enhancement

Andy Miah


Guardian


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/may/01/body-enhancement-cosmetic-surgery-genetics

May 05, 2009

We should welcome with open arms the rich possibilities of technologically enhancing our bodies. Just so long as we don’t all end up looking, and thinking, and acting the same.

There is no clear distinction between the way we use technology to make ourselves well and how we might use it in future to become superhuman.

If you could choose the colour of your child’s eyes, what colour would you choose? If you could rebuild damaged leg cartilage and, in doing so, make it stronger and more flexible than any natural biological substance, would you? What if you could take a pill that would allow you to concentrate intensely over a short and crucial period in your life, when distraction could mean the loss of something very important, like somebody’s life?

These decisions and many others like them are now upon us and they have reached the attention of the European Parliament. Over the next few months, MEPs will establish an advisory committee on all aspects of human enhancement, the first committee of its kind.

Meanwhile the US has gradually been transforming health care into enhancement care and, perhaps by implication, losing sight of basic healthcare needs. In a world that is increasingly concerned about technological domination and dependence, we are becoming enhancement junkies. We nip here, tuck there, whiten our teeth, reduce the width of our waists, and even go on game shows for the chance of winning expensive, invasive cosmetic surgery. What is it that people seek by undergoing such transformations?

I think it has something to do with what I call the accumulation of biocultural capital.

Read the rest here.


Professor Andy Miah, PhD (@andymiah), is Chair in Science Communication & Digital Media, in the School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester. He is also Global Director for the Centre for Policy and Emerging Technologies, Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, USA and Fellow at FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK. He is currently part of a European Commission project called Digital Futures 2050 and of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Participation in the Scottish Government.

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