Published on September 2nd, 2016 | by David0
Building the ‘Million Dollar Man’
The discussion of ‘Transhuman’ ethics is reaching fever pitch. We are looking at a world where the disabled will be those not wearing prosthetics. 3d printing will turn us all into ‘million dollar’ supermen.
£While implants are one form of augmentation for the transhuman age, prosthetics are becoming more advanced and there are already projects in development that enable limbs to be controlled by the mind and linked directly to the nervous system.
Advances in 3D printing are also entering the world of prosthetics and organ transplants. We will soon be able to create custom replacement parts for both limbs and organs. Imagine a future where you will be able to replace different limbs to suit different tasks, with bionic body parts specifically engineered to perform specialized tasks much better than our own arms and legs that are generally good at most things.
There are even those who claim that in a transhuman world, the disabled will be the ones without prosthetic limbs or other forms of bionic enhancements. This opens up another ethical debate. When is it OK to replace healthy human limbs with artificial (and in the future, superior) ones?
Whether superhuman performance, longevity or even immortality is achieved through ridding ourselves of our biological body, augmentations or biohacking, an important question arises: Who gets to be transhuman? Will this create a new class divide, where an elite class emerges through both physical and mental upgrades? A robotic heart for instance, currently costs around $200,000.
While many of the ideas of transhumanism are noble, the field is accused of sharing traits with eugenics. I am not even going to try to answer the many ethical, moral and existential questions raised by transhumanism. The only thing I know is that it is inevitable that advances in robotics, bionics, artificial intelligence and genetics will affect the next phase of human evolution, and we should not underestimate the ethical and social implications.