The Potential of Transhuman Soldiers

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After discovering an online article published in the US Atlantic magazine discussing the developments of genetically modified organisms and the ways it will affect the military and law. The article entitled ‘More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers’ focuses on the military’s intentions in forming ‘super soldiers’. The original report from The Royal Society website, ‘Brain Waves 3: Neuroscience, conflict and security’, which inspired the article looks at the effect of neuroscience on the future potential of military and law.

The report discusses the way in which the developments will improve the efficiency of ones own forces. The technology has the potential to optimize recruitment, the training and action performance, and improve rehabilitation and treatment of the injured. The neuroscientist however, must be aware of the effect their technologies can have, when misused they may be harmful. The development of “performance degrading applications seek to diminish the performance of one’s enemy” such as chemical weapons must adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention as discussed at the Review Conference of 2013.

The article published the Atlantic expresses the report as not going far enough in discussing the ethical and social implications. I believe from my findings and in agreeance with the article that these human advancements will be far more extreme.

Although many of the innovations are external devices, such as the exoskeleton, permitting soldiers to run faster and handle extreme weights, the technology of genetically modified humans is growing in its militarily focus. With the potential of eventually developing transhuman soldiers the ethical implications of upgrading the basic human condition is controversial. Although we have the potential to produce a solider that is numb to the pain of torture, is it ethical to do so? Is it ethical to reduce the amount of sleep and food the ordinary solider requires?

REFERENCES

The Royal Society. 2012. Brain Waves 3: Neuroscience, conflict and securit. Website. Available at: http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/brain-waves/conflict-security/. (Accessed 2 July 13)

The Atlantic. 2012. More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers. Website. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/more-than-human-the-ethics-of-biologically-enhancing-soldiers/253217/. (Accessed 2 July 13)

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What Lies For the Posthuman Future

As developments in biotechnology inevitably continue to advance, the technologies regulation is discussed as ethics are questioned. As it is understood that the ethics of biotechnology should be fundamentally the same as other situations, there is a discourse questioning its role in the world. Within article ‘Don’t mess with human nature’ published by The Guardian in 2002, Francis Fukuyama’s book ‘Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution’ is discussed and critiqued by journalist Steven Rose.

As Fukuyama argues that human rights are established on a basic human nature, human biotechnology threatens to? interfere this. Within the book, he discusses the ways in which one clear human rights and human nature have been blurred through a rejection of naturalism. It is as result of this that it needs to be regulated. While Rose agrees with this, he states “Sound conclusion, faulty premises.” Rose, among others, refers to this as the ‘naturalist fallacy’, holding the belief that without human context there is no nature.

According to Rose, the majority of biotechnology of research is done within the US and that which is unregulated is outside federal laboratories. However he states “But the situation is paradoxical, as US conservative religious views on, for instance, stem-cell research clash with an otherwise deregulatory agenda. (Legislation to ban so-called therapeutic cloning is currently before Congress, at the same time as the US withdraws from the Kyoto and Start treaties and weakens environmental protection.)”

Within Europe, regulatory structures are more strict, Fukuyama looking enviously at this as it offers hope of the posthuman world as it “does not have to be competitive, hierarchical and full of social conflict – a future he sees as probable if unregulated biotechnology delivers on its promises”

REFERENCE LIST

The Guardian. 2002. Don’t mess with human nature…. Website Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/jun/01/highereducation. (Accessed 26 July 13)

Fukuyama, F,F, 2002. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Picador.

The Potential of Innovation

Innovation is fundamental in the growth, productivity and economic wealth of our world. Innovation has the potential to reduce waste and minimise environmental damage, producing goods and services at a sound price. 

For the average business, innovation can greatly improve function, efficiency and profits. If ones business is innovative in these practices, the companys value may increase, providing an incentive to pay more and consequently increase ones profits. It is through the product, process, service, business models, value, market that these improvements may occur. 

There are varying degrees of innovation, which enable one to break down their intensity. incremental innovation is continuous, evolutionary and small, radical is disruptive, revolutionary and large, and semi radical falling somewhere in between.

The Spectacle Is..

In reading the excerpt entitled ‘Portrait of Power’, of John S. Turner’s, ‘Collapsing the Interior/Exterior Distinction: Surveillance, Spectacle, and Suspense in Popular Cinema’ turner identifies the spectacle as a way to reduce the world and its inhabitants to something less than they, he states “less real, less sustainable, less human”. Turner uses cinema as an example for this, expressing it as a medium that places itself immediate distance from the real world. Turner believes film allows for one to view through “a technological window while at the same time attempting to make us feel comfortable with this distanced view of the world.”

This treatment of the spectacle removes one from what is real as we become increasingly comfortable and accepting what the spectacle has to offer. Turner quotes Debord and describes the spectacle as “a new kind of power of recuperation and absorption, a capacity to neutralize and assimilate acts of resistance by converting them into objects or images of consumption.” He describes the ways in which practices of surveillance have been converted into what are now seen as the highly dramatic and enticing cinema of today’s society, and “images that border on the fetishization of such technologies and practices, popular cinema effectively frames an uncritical celebration of panopticism”

REFERENCE LIST

Turner, J, S, T, 1998. Collapsing the Interior/Exterior Distinction: Surveillance, Spectacle, and Suspense in Popular Cinema. Wide Angle, Volume 20, 4.

Science Fictional. 2013. Portait of Power . Website. Available at: http://sciencefictional.net/page/3/. (Accessed 24 June 13).