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NanoNow Launched: Ethics Elucidation

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  • Dr. David Deal
    The first issue of NanoNow has finally reached my post. The cover story of this new magazine titled; We Are The Robots-the ethics of human performance
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 20, 2007
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      The first issue of NanoNow has finally reached my post. The cover
      story of this new magazine titled; "We Are The Robots-the ethics of
      human performance enhancement". The article wrtten by Dr. Donald
      Bruce as head of the Church of Scotland's Society, Religion and
      Technology Project has as a subject header on page 18: "Faster,
      Higher, Stronger" which may take some back to the day when Lee Majors
      (who I met in my youth) starred as a bionic man built for the paltry
      sum of $6 million dollars. Today it would take that much just to
      begin forming a committee. :)

      Bruce begins, "Nanotechnologies catch the imagination for the
      exciting things they enable. To bring exquisite precision to medical
      therapies, or to create materials with amazing new properties sound
      like good ideas. But before we become to enchanted by technical
      visions, we also need to ask some wider human questions."

      Since I personally believe in "reasonable" human enhancement, belong
      to an internation bioethics association, am considering pursuing a
      master's in bioethics and possess a doctorate in physics and hold
      another in theology(which i do not use except as decoration) I may be
      biased. Biased in wanting to better humanity for the sake of a viable
      civilization. To help the sick, maimed or disabled. That being said
      the Dr. Bruce raises some questions?

      "If the innovators aims do not correlate with the expectation of
      society..?" Does being somehow smarter, faster, younger-looking and
      longer-lived necessarily make us better humans? What if in the name
      of bettering humanity only a few priviledged elitist benefit while
      those who truly need the technology continue to suffer from disease,
      famine, etc? In the name of freedome & security should we fear the
      super-soldier? Will human enhancement be devisive? What shortcomings
      of humanity's lot in life merit improvement?

      "Nanotechnologies offer great promise for the future and much of it
      is a long way off."

      Personally I will also admit I have been influenced by tranhumanism
      which seeks to better humanity. But Dr. Bruce says, "If our society
      is not re-defined by a techno-logic, driven primarily by technical
      and economic feasibilty.." what will this mean for us all?

      Since I beleive it is people like us that have the interest, insight,
      innovation and invention to make nanotechnology effective hten it
      will be folks such as us that influence the directions and outcomes
      of these exciting new technologies. What path will we take? What will
      be the goal of our destination or better yet our destiny?

      Will we eventually evolve into cyber-enhanced beings? Part-human,
      part-machine...a sort of humachine. Is resistence futile? Is
      rsistence even necessary? If we do not ask the questions, seek
      solutions and find resolutions our children's children may not get a
      chance to.
    • marta sandberg
      Could you please tell me more about NanoNow? Is it available online? Thank you, Marta Sandberg
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 29, 2007
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        Could you please tell me more about NanoNow? Is it available online?

        Thank you,

        Marta Sandberg



        >From: "Dr. David Deal" <sciinfoexchange@...>
        >Reply-To: nanotech@yahoogroups.com
        >To: nanotech@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [nanotech] NanoNow Launched: Ethics Elucidation
        >Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 21:22:19 -0000
        >
        >The first issue of NanoNow has finally reached my post. The cover
        >story of this new magazine titled; "We Are The Robots-the ethics of
        >human performance enhancement". The article wrtten by Dr. Donald
        >Bruce as head of the Church of Scotland's Society, Religion and
        >Technology Project has as a subject header on page 18: "Faster,
        >Higher, Stronger" which may take some back to the day when Lee Majors
        >(who I met in my youth) starred as a bionic man built for the paltry
        >sum of $6 million dollars. Today it would take that much just to
        >begin forming a committee. :)
        >
        >Bruce begins, "Nanotechnologies catch the imagination for the
        >exciting things they enable. To bring exquisite precision to medical
        >therapies, or to create materials with amazing new properties sound
        >like good ideas. But before we become to enchanted by technical
        >visions, we also need to ask some wider human questions."
        >
        >Since I personally believe in "reasonable" human enhancement, belong
        >to an internation bioethics association, am considering pursuing a
        >master's in bioethics and possess a doctorate in physics and hold
        >another in theology(which i do not use except as decoration) I may be
        >biased. Biased in wanting to better humanity for the sake of a viable
        >civilization. To help the sick, maimed or disabled. That being said
        >the Dr. Bruce raises some questions?
        >
        >"If the innovators aims do not correlate with the expectation of
        >society..?" Does being somehow smarter, faster, younger-looking and
        >longer-lived necessarily make us better humans? What if in the name
        >of bettering humanity only a few priviledged elitist benefit while
        >those who truly need the technology continue to suffer from disease,
        >famine, etc? In the name of freedome & security should we fear the
        >super-soldier? Will human enhancement be devisive? What shortcomings
        >of humanity's lot in life merit improvement?
        >
        >"Nanotechnologies offer great promise for the future and much of it
        >is a long way off."
        >
        >Personally I will also admit I have been influenced by tranhumanism
        >which seeks to better humanity. But Dr. Bruce says, "If our society
        >is not re-defined by a techno-logic, driven primarily by technical
        >and economic feasibilty.." what will this mean for us all?
        >
        >Since I beleive it is people like us that have the interest, insight,
        >innovation and invention to make nanotechnology effective hten it
        >will be folks such as us that influence the directions and outcomes
        >of these exciting new technologies. What path will we take? What will
        >be the goal of our destination or better yet our destiny?
        >
        >Will we eventually evolve into cyber-enhanced beings? Part-human,
        >part-machine...a sort of humachine. Is resistence futile? Is
        >rsistence even necessary? If we do not ask the questions, seek
        >solutions and find resolutions our children's children may not get a
        >chance to.
        >
      • Ooo0001@aol.com
        In a message dated 3/29/2007 1:12:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, martasandberg99@hotmail.com writes: Could you please tell me more about NanoNow? Is it
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 29, 2007
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          In a message dated 3/29/2007 1:12:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
          martasandberg99@... writes:

          Could you please tell me more about NanoNow? Is it available online?


          Yes, here it is: _http://www.nanonow.co.uk/nanonow_issue1.pdf_
          (http://www.nanonow.co.uk/nanonow_issue1.pdf)

          I read the article "We Are The Robots-the ethics of human performance
          enhancement." What a disappointment! The author, Don Bruce, asks questions like
          "what is so unsatisfactory about life as we know it that we need to enhance
          ourselves technologically to make things better?" That's fine for a layman to
          ask, but anyone writing an article on why people might want to enhance
          themselves should know the answer to that question (hell, I can probably come up with
          a hundred right off the top of my head). He does give some answer--"Beyond a
          certain basic point of physical survival and necessity, what matters most to
          humans are not functional and material things but the relational, the creative
          and the spiritual"--which indicate he has an awfully narrow view of what
          humans want.

          And here Don assumes the technologies would be available only to a select
          few: "Human enhancement is also socially divisive because a basic injustice lies
          at its heart. The prospects it holds out are for those who have the money,
          potential and access, but are not for those who cannot reach it. Radical human
          enhancements might be more believable if they primarily offered improvements
          to enable people at the bottom of the heap to enjoy the privileges of its
          proponents." Why make that assumption when the underlying
          technologies--molecular manufacturing--are expected to reduce the cost of material production
          drastically?

          Finally he states, "On a global scale, enhancements for a privileged few may
          seem a misuse of resources when
          faced with potentially treatable diseases, widespread hunger and poverty, as
          well as the loss of lands and livelihoods which climate change is set to
          bring. I would argue that it is to these that the potential and ingenuity of
          nanotechnologies should be especially focused." That's a lot like saying
          websites like YouTube, Google, Skype, etc. shouldn't have been created because the
          developing world needs sites to inform the rest of the world of their plight
          and solicit donations from them. Or, before that, saying TV producers should
          have produced documentaries highlighting the world's problems instead of
          costly escapist shows full of special effects. Much as I'm not a fan of
          trickle-down economics models, when it comes to technological advancements it's often
          the elitist uses that first encourages their development, which then allows
          the technology to become cheaper and more reliable, enough to filter into the
          developing world. The very things Don thinks we ought to treat--diseases,
          hunger, etc.--would be made possible by the same technologies used to enhance
          individuals. Cell phones were once a status symbol for the elite; now
          practically everyone owns one.

          Ah, but I shouldn't have been surprised. It turns out the guy is a
          Christian, and to many of them the idea of "improving on God's work" is practically
          blasphemous. Well, they can wait for the Rapture; I'd rather work toward trying
          to create heaven on Earth. :-)

          Derek
        • marta sandberg
          Thanks Marta ... _________________________________________________________________ Advertisement: Its simple! Sell your car for just $30 at carsales.com.au
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 29, 2007
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            Thanks

            Marta


            >From: Ooo0001@...
            >Reply-To: nanotech@yahoogroups.com
            >To: nanotech@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [nanotech] NanoNow Launched: Ethics Elucidation
            >Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 16:12:36 EST
            >
            >
            >In a message dated 3/29/2007 1:12:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
            >martasandberg99@... writes:
            >
            >Could you please tell me more about NanoNow? Is it available online?
            >
            >
            >Yes, here it is: _http://www.nanonow.co.uk/nanonow_issue1.pdf_
            >(http://www.nanonow.co.uk/nanonow_issue1.pdf)
            >
            >I read the article "We Are The Robots-the ethics of human performance
            >enhancement." What a disappointment! The author, Don Bruce, asks questions
            >like
            >"what is so unsatisfactory about life as we know it that we need to enhance
            >ourselves technologically to make things better?" That's fine for a layman
            >to
            >ask, but anyone writing an article on why people might want to enhance
            >themselves should know the answer to that question (hell, I can probably
            >come up with
            >a hundred right off the top of my head). He does give some answer--"Beyond
            >a
            >certain basic point of physical survival and necessity, what matters most
            >to
            >humans are not functional and material things but the relational, the
            >creative
            > and the spiritual"--which indicate he has an awfully narrow view of what
            >humans want.
            >
            >And here Don assumes the technologies would be available only to a select
            >few: "Human enhancement is also socially divisive because a basic injustice
            >lies
            > at its heart. The prospects it holds out are for those who have the
            >money,
            >potential and access, but are not for those who cannot reach it. Radical
            >human
            > enhancements might be more believable if they primarily offered
            >improvements
            >to enable people at the bottom of the heap to enjoy the privileges of its
            >proponents." Why make that assumption when the underlying
            >technologies--molecular manufacturing--are expected to reduce the cost of
            >material production
            >drastically?
            >
            >Finally he states, "On a global scale, enhancements for a privileged few
            >may
            >seem a misuse of resources when
            >faced with potentially treatable diseases, widespread hunger and poverty,
            >as
            >well as the loss of lands and livelihoods which climate change is set to
            >bring. I would argue that it is to these that the potential and ingenuity
            >of
            >nanotechnologies should be especially focused." That's a lot like saying
            >websites like YouTube, Google, Skype, etc. shouldn't have been created
            >because the
            >developing world needs sites to inform the rest of the world of their
            >plight
            >and solicit donations from them. Or, before that, saying TV producers
            >should
            >have produced documentaries highlighting the world's problems instead of
            >costly escapist shows full of special effects. Much as I'm not a fan of
            >trickle-down economics models, when it comes to technological advancements
            >it's often
            >the elitist uses that first encourages their development, which then
            >allows
            >the technology to become cheaper and more reliable, enough to filter into
            >the
            >developing world. The very things Don thinks we ought to treat--diseases,
            >hunger, etc.--would be made possible by the same technologies used to
            >enhance
            >individuals. Cell phones were once a status symbol for the elite; now
            >practically everyone owns one.
            >
            >Ah, but I shouldn't have been surprised. It turns out the guy is a
            >Christian, and to many of them the idea of "improving on God's work" is
            >practically
            >blasphemous. Well, they can wait for the Rapture; I'd rather work toward
            >trying
            >to create heaven on Earth. :-)
            >
            >Derek
            >
            >

            _________________________________________________________________
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