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Thread: Ethical aspects of the future

  1. #1
    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Sep 2003

    Default Ethical aspects of the future

    Simply something I've encountered in a few places for a while and thought about focusing about the ethical and philosophical aspects of it.

    It's the ability to change personal traits and abilities with inplantants inoperated into the brain and/or other biotechnological abilities (genetic engineering etc, they are probably further into the future though).
    Currently used to develop methods to make lamed persons walk again, fixing severe epilepsy, prevent the memory losses by Alzheimers etc. Nothing wrong with that, but the future will bring more problematic stances into it.

    For example, what if you complained about cleaning at home and then your partner suggested to inoperate an implant that made you very good at it and at the same time enjoy cleaning, would you accept this?

    If your boss demands that you do it to improve your working skills to stay competitive, "because everyone else does it"? It also brings the question if it's ethical to encourage this behavior, by allowing "improvement implants" from the beginning.

    To move back more into the personality issue, what about criminals? Should the penalty of severe crimes be a "personality chip" inplantated? Voluntary, with a reduced penalty? Wich in turn brings the question of how much of the personality you can change on someone before they are another person (thus actually killing the original person in a way).

    If someone has an accident and ends up in coma and to awake this person you needed to replace large parts of the brain. This has caused severe permanent memory loss and large changes of the personality. A formerly calm and a bit shy person is now more aggressive and more outgoing. Enough to make the old friends unable to recognize the awoken coma patient (who doesn't remember them). Is this the same person? If you say no, do you consider that the person who fell into coma is helped by that another person awaked out of it?

    And what about the children? I'm assuming that preventing diseases this way is accepted by most, but how about problematic traits? Say that the child in question will turn out dumb with troubles learning and having troubles socializing with other children? By the time the person can choose implantants by themself, most damage will already have been done. But on the other hand, what if the parents really wants a child that is a doctor and chooses to implant a chip that makes the child into an exellent potential to be a doctor and makes the child really wanting to become a doctor, even before the child has a own will (thus having a chosen fate, without noticing that someone chosed it for you)?

    I suspect that most people on this forum will have to ask themself these questions on a very real plane, during their lifetimes, so any thoughts? Ideas?
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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  2. #2
    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    What, no response to a bionics post? I think this should be merged with the penis thread.

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  3. #3
    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
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    Mar 2005

    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    I'm not sure about the ethical aspect of it, but I sure wouldn't want to get an implant to force myself to like something I have to do.
    I could think of a million modifications I could make to myself to make me a better/more industrious/less annoying person...but that wouldn't be me.
    And parents should have no right to make that sort of choices for their children.

    For medical conditions...that's a more difficult question.

  4. #4
    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    What is this ethics, and where can I buy some?

  5. #5
    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Dec 2002

    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    Sounds like child abuse not to do everything to give your children the best start in life possible. Maybe one day not giving your children cool bionic implants will be the equivalent of not giving them immunisations - stupid and bordering on abuse, and the reserve of the criminally stupid and dangerously religious.

  6. #6
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    What is the difference between a DNA modification and a bionic one?
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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  7. #7
    Dyslexic agnostic insomniac Senior Member Goofball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    What is this ethics, and where can I buy some?
    I made a point of cheating on the final exam in my uni Ethics course...
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  8. #8
    Philologist Senior Member ajaxfetish's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    While I haven't got any pressing ideas on the ethics of such things, not having given it much thought as of yet, I have trouble thinking of a child not yet having its own will. I could accept that that will is not fully developed, or continues to be heavily influenced by the wills of others, but in my conception of 'will' the child would have one from the beginning.


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  9. #9
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Taplow, UK

    Default Re: Ethical aspects of the future

    The "rightness" of an act alters according to time. Some (or indeed many) might not shy away from the thought of either genetic, biological or cybernetic addons, but this might alter in the future.

    Personally I cautiously think it is a good idea. We're competely messing with evolution at the moment, so we need to then start altering things ourselves. Sure, sometimes it will be a disaster and some will suffer, but the same is true with any development.

    Concerning examples such as the coma victim, living wills would be the answer, with specific instructions on whether people want to be turned off, or be "ressurected" as someone else.

    No one needs to be forced to do anything. Those with modifications will rise faster than those without, and as modifications improve this trend will accelerate. Whilst some provaricate, others (possibly deliniated on national boundries) will enable themselves to be faster, stronger, smarter.

    We are already seeing how blocking research merely means that others get a headstart on the technology. Ethics is a good way to use the old brain, but in the end the fact that others are doing it will all but force the rest to join in.

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