Sample Anthropology Paper on Human Enhancement
Human enhancement has been a common practice leading to successful physical and mental corrections, with inconclusive comic and tragic results. To this age, a majority of the biomedical interventions has attempted to restore deficiency in human physique, including modification of vision, hearing, and mobility. Other interventions have tried to improve nature by stimulating muscle development. Scientific developments such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology are expected to assist human beings in future to change their children and themselves too. This study focuses on extropy, a pseudoscientific principle of expanding life indefinitely in an orderly and progressive manner through human intelligence and technology (Masci 1). The study argues that extropy is detrimental to the human race.
According to Miah (1), extropy refers to the assumption that cultural and technological development will expand. Extropy is perceived to be a useful scientific quest of solving the mystery of human aging, among other benefits to the human race. Similar to other human developments, extropy is a fundamental finding that is influenced strongly by the desire to live forever as well as correct health complications such as Alzheimer’s disease (Masci 1).
Transhumans affirm that their major desire is to prolong the lives of human beings as long as possible and not destroy any human. Based on this assertion, they tend to apply terms such as ‘transhuman’ and ‘posthuman’ to refer to future limitations and failure modes of the biological humans. The same limitations they affirm that has rendered nasty and short biological human life. They desire that human beings may willingly retain their biological abilities and supplement these abilities with enhancements, which would extend the quality and length of life. Transhumans, therefore, fight for a combination of human beings with artificial intelligence (AI) components and amicable survival with the AI entities. It is puzzling that even Transhumans do not desire to destroy their biological existence but wish to have mind uploads as contingency plans in the events of the destruction of the biological bodies.
On the contrary, Transhumans fail to realize that their actions are morally retarded, financially challenging, and technologically limited. Besides, Transhumans do not appreciate the beauty in death as they affirm that death is the worst form of loss of human resources such as ideas and education. Transhumans, besides, fail to realize that death is likened to monotonous living a life of varied tastes. Moreover, the absence of death is likely to drain natural resources, which is associated with longer life.
Extropy refers to the technological advancement of solving the mystery of human aging (Masci 1). According to Pellissier (1), extropy is a scientific discovery that seeks to improve human opportunities, capabilities, and longevity. One approach is to create better human bodies, who can overcome the fear of death by managing to age. It is believed scientifically that extropy will result to indefinite living among human beings. Developed by Max More, extropy lays emphasis on rational thinking and on practical optimism (Pellissier 1). Through its practices, scientists are optimistic about the future with advances in nanotechnology, life extension, and in computational power.
This technology is expected to advance the nature of evolution to higher heights (Masci 1). Scientists affirm that extropy begins with the mindless matters to components of nature in evolutionary ascendance to progressive powerful brains. These advances are perceived to transcend biological and psychological limits to post-humanity. Therefore, the technology is perceived to defend the rational application of science, technology by advocating for intelligence, personal vitality, liberty, and experience, by rejecting natural and traditional limitations in human possibilities.
Extropians assert rationale, critical inquiry, honesty, and intellectual independence by rejecting blind faith, passive and comfortable thinking, which results to dogma, mysticism, and conformity. Their dedication to self-transformation demands critical analysis of the present beliefs and characters. These supporters are willing to learn from error instead of professing infallibility. Therefore, analytical thoughts in place of fuzzy and comfortable delusion are preferred, empiricism to mysticism and independent assessment in place of traditionalism is highly regarded. They support better humans while sustaining their present beings and affirming their present worth. Extropians are therefore neophiles and experimentalists who track new explorations.
Supporters of extropy advocate for a positive, dynamic, and empowering attitude with the view of irrationality in the non-physical afterlife. Instead of persevering in an unfulfilled life, which is supported by a desperate desire for illusory heaven, the supporters advocate for progressing towards the ludic vision. To live a life full of vigor, effectiveness and joy demands discharge of murkiness, despondency, and deep-seated cultural negativism. The supporters acknowledge problems in the technical, social, psychological, and ecological sphere but reject the domination of these problems to their thoughts and visions.
Extropians, therefore, advocate for the need and appeal of science and technology using practical methods of developing intelligence, superior physical abilities, self-constitution, and immortality. They regard science as indispensable means of evolution and achievement of noble values and ideals. To the supporters, profound technological innovation is an excitement rather than a threat. They readily welcome change and explore new territory courageously and inventively. They, therefore, support surging ahead, delighting in potential distress instead of stagnating to primitivism. They affirm that intelligent application of biotechnology, nanotechnology, space among other technologies can eliminate resource limitations and release environmental pressures.
Defined as a negative of entropy, extropy is perceived as an increase in order. It is, however, difficult to intuitively define the form of order (Masci 1). To some, an order is perceived as the formal approach of a system. Therefore, biologically, extropy refers to the increase of the approaches in a system in an intelligent and technological manner. Even though scientists perceive an infinite increase of human age through their numerous discoveries, it is unlikely that the artificial intelligence will increase. This is because human intelligence is an upcoming phenomenon. Of human physiology, which assumedly survived the filtering effect of evolution through increased human survival fitness, increase in primate evolutionary fitness is inapplicable to machine or to the scientists who are focused in the shape of work. Machines are made to identify and respond to human motivations and requirements. However, it is unlikely to assume the annoying effects like the necessity to sleep, emotional instability, and individual motivations.
It is likewise necessary to note whether the artificial creation will ascribe to the inherent value of human existence to conscious intelligence. If this is applicable, then it is noteworthy to ask whether the creation will deserve its rights in the sense that if the software is shut down, will the act be perceived as murder. Similarly, it is quizzical whether the application of genetic algorithms in the evolution of software agents towards consciousness is perceived as genocide. Therefore, extropy as a destructive research on human body should be restricted lest the scientists inadvertently extend to inhumane applications of humans as well.
Scientists, as well as extropy supporters, look forward to the evolution of nanotechnology among other forms of advancements to create devices with consciousness just like human beings. Their basis is to overcome human limitations, which exist in the biological setup of a human. However, some of the repercussions are yet to be unveiled to the public. It is desirable for machines to perform human-like roles, learn human language and motivations, and take suggestions. However, it is still quizzical whether human beings are willing to become equally conscious and volitional as the creations.
Other than focusing on the conscious platform, the discoveries can be made to focus reflexively on the human needs. This implies that their personal self may be focused on us instead of internally. These creations may perceive our individual needs without other competing factors. In case the creation may jeopardize the human well-being, it may deliberately concentrate on its external self and turn its intelligence to a higher level, which will clearly have varied motivational parameters than the human level and overcome the human species.
In case, scientific discoveries reach the intended heights and extropy results to simulated human bodies, then the unprepared biological humans will be ill-equipped to respond to the challenge. This is because most of the inhabited universe will have been converted to a computer network where programs will live and will be downloaded in the simulated bodies. Human beings will moreover find it difficult to survive in such environments since the streamlined artificial intelligence will advance in more discoveries and deals and reconfigure themselves to handle data that handle their interactions. The human mind will not be in a position to simulate itself. This is analogous of a swimmer in a deep diving suit plodding along with some acrobatic dolphins.
Even though scientists are optimistic of their inventions, the most challenging part to modify will not be the mind but the body and its connections with the environment. This is because the human conscious intelligence is a product of the evolutionary heritage, which defined the biological environment. Scientists working on extropy are driven by the belief that aging is a disease and thus is controllable. To the scientists, technology can be applied to make people better by making them more resilient to the environment and creating new capacities.
Profound benefits can be derived from these capabilities, as people can be made to look more attractive and aesthetically distinct. It is an ethical concern of the approach used to achieve these goals. The choice of the approach used diminishes accomplishment value. The use of psychopharmacological substances is morally undesirable since they transform the patient to someone else. Another reason against this approach is that it narrows individual prospects thereby violating the principle of preserving a desirable future. These enhancements may promote success to some extent and then result to serious disability later in life.
Another concern is the issue of governance. Making these enhancements available will entail a variety of decision makers to be involved in developing the policy for the application and the necessity for social systems to provide them at a fair cost. An implementation may necessitate the establishment of general principles to control the enhancements at all levels and widespread consultation into the research principles.
Transhumanists, on the other hand, affirm that technological breakthroughs are geared towards healing people and improving humanity. They, therefore, approve the advancements towards controlling and defining exterior environments. Their main motive is to generate stronger, smarter, healthier, and happier human species. One question that comes up is on the feasibility of the radically modified human physiology. This is because the same scientists behind these advancements are yet to understand comprehensively human consciousness. I am concerned that these developments will result to humans that are either physical or psychological. In addition, I tend to wonder whether the more we welcome these technological changes the more we are competing with God and assuming his responsibilities.
Science is still in its early stage since the minimal public discussion has been made regarding the effects of advancement. I perceive that these developments will result in more harm than good. This is especially possible in the event of a varied economic gap. Those who cannot afford to recompense for this technology may fail to enjoy its benefits. It is also likely to result in new forms of exploitation.
It is noteworthy to mention that being in a global environment, it is necessary to become more interconnected with technology and to be increasingly responsible for making wise decisions on the application of these technologies. It is inessential to reject products of applied science and to fail to implement innovative technologies in the absence of foresight and proactive preparation. Above it, human beings should tackle future decisions in smarter ways by evaluating the opportunities and risks in applying nanotechnology, genetics, and machine intelligence.
Masci, David. “Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for
Perfection.” Pew Research Center. 2017. http://www.pewinternet.org/essay/human-enhancement-the-scientific-and-ethical-dimensions-of-striving-for-perfection/. Accessed on February 14th, 2017.
Miah, Andy. “The Ethics of Human Enhancement.” MIT Technology Review. 2016.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602342/the-ethics-of-human-enhancement/. Accessed on February 15th, 2017.
Pellissier Hank. “Transhumanism: There are (at least) ten different Philosophical Categories,
which one(s) are you?” IEET. 2015. http://www.ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20150708. Accessed on February 15th, 2017