Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cogntive Enhancement can Integrate Man and Machine

Cognitive enhancement should be conceived as the philosophical issue of the greater subjectivation possibilities for man, as opposed to primarily a bioethical concern. The current world is one in which man and technology are increasingly interlinked. One high-stakes endeavor is cognitive enhancement, of which there are different working definitions. A precise account is that cognitive enhancement is the augmentation of human skills, attributes, and competencies through the use of technology, medicine, and therapy designed to increase human performance capability (Hildt). Another is that it is the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement or augmentation of internal or external information processing systems (Bostrom). Another is it refers to any expanded or new capacity of a human being (Buchanan). The salient distillation is that cognitive enhancement is the targeted improvement of natural human cognitive abilities.

The motivation for cognitive enhancement could be twofold. First, there are the obvious practical benefits of improved perception and memory. However, beyond this, more profoundly the reason for seeking improved cognition is the implication that it can facilitate our own growth and development as humans, actualizing ourselves and our potential more rapidly and effectively. Cognitive enhancement is an important topic for investigation because it examines our existence and also the human-technology relation. Increasingly powerful science and technology tools are emerging that may have the potential to dramatically enhance human performance, and perhaps redefine what it is to be human. Technology advances at a much higher rate than man subjectivates, and man and technology are increasingly being integrated together, with technology no longer being seen as an external tool, but as an embedded presence, such that man and technology are co-evolving and subjectivating together. The rights kinds of cognitive enhancement applications might be of benefit for both humans and technology entities, and their potential integration.

Bostrom, N., and Sandberg, A. (2009). "Cognitive enhancement: methods, ethics, regulatory challenges." Sci. Eng. Ethics 15, 311–341.
Buchanan, A. (2013). Beyond Humanity: The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.
Hildt, E. and Franke, A.G., Eds. (2013). Cognitive Enhancement: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Dordrecht DE: Springer.

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