Sunday, March 14, 2010

Neurotechnology taboos

There is a claim that the magnitude of change that could eventually be possible with neurotechnology makes it different from other technologies. Those who choose not to buy cell phones may not be able to communicate in certain situations, but those who choose not to adopt cognitive enhancement may not be able to participate meaningfully in society.

This claim has already arisen with regard to smart drugs, that school and work environments have become so competitive, that it is not possible to compete effectively on an unenhanced basis. Professional baseball has been a prominent example of the enhancement issue, where enhancement is illegal, yet widespread. Like many other technology rollouts, and particularly given the sensitivities regarding neurotechnology, it could be that incremental tiers of pathology cures become well-grounded before being extended slowly for enhancement purposes. Legally, in certain nation-states, that is.

Philosophically, it could be queried whether mental health is any different than physical health. Humans and societies may not be able to think objectively about mental enhancement given taboos.

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