Why shouldn’t we consider contact lenses, mobile phones, watches and bicycles as human enhancements? Going back further still, the invention of writing itself, as recounted by Plato in a famous passage in the Phaedrus, was an enhancement that simultaneously extended and impaired human memory, by providing an externalised written record but diminishing people’s ability to memorise by removing the necessity of learning by heart. Plato’s warning about the consequences of writing for human memory is an important lesson for contemporary discussions around human enhancement through technology. New technologies, from mechanical looms to automatic cars, are always double-edged, extending certain powers while eroding traditional skills.
And the exhibition’s own site:
In addition to the installations and artworks in HUMAN+, the public will be invited to donate their DNA to a major public research experiment conducted by scientists from Trinity College Dublin on the D4 dopamine receptor gene which research suggests codes for “high risk behaviour”. It has been suggested that this gene may be linked to credit ratings and entrepreneurial personality-types, conjuring up a Gattaca-like future where DNA-profiling could affect one’s ability to get a bank loan. Another experiment on our relationship with robots will allow us to understand human-robot interactions from the robot’s point of view.
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
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