Ronald Cole-Turner: Transcending Evolution

From the cover of "Human Enhancement and the Future of Work"

Enhancement at Work

A new report on human enhancement and its growing impact on the workplace has just been released by top-level British science and policy groups. The Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Science, the British Academy, and the Royal Academy of Engineering collaborated on a research project throughout 2012, resulting in the November 2012 report.

Among the conclusions: "Advances in a range of areas in science and engineering such as neuroscience, regenerative medicine and bionics are already enhancing, or could in the next decade enhance, the physical and cognitive capacity of individuals in the workplace." The report is entitled "Human Enhancement and the Future of Work."

Even the advocates of human enhancement find something uniquely troubling about the prospect of enhancement technologies in the workplace. Will employers coerce their workers? Will use of enhancement technology be a non-negotiable prerequisite for success in an increasingly competitive work environment? Will employees have full access to information about potential side effects?

The report notes the following: "Cognitive-enhancing drugs present the greatest immediate challenge. ... They are already available without prescription through internet purchasing, are relatively cheap and are increasingly being used by healthy individuals."

In response to these challenges, the report does not recommend sanctions or bans, but it does press the case urgently for widening the dialogue and reforming policies and regulations.

A version of this post first appeared on Enhancing Theology.

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