Stroboscopic training led to significantly greater re-test improvement in central visual field motion sensitivity and transient attention abilities.
Category: Cognitive Enhancement
Could human exploration beyond the Solar System imply the need of upgrading our human condition? Back in 1960, a study by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline called Cyborgs and Space was centered already in the idea of altering some bodily functions of the space
traveler to meet the requirements of extraterrestrial environments because, according to the writers it would be more logical than providing an earthly environment for him in space.
“Playing God is actually the highest expression of human nature. The urges to improve ourselves, to master our environment, and to set our children on the best path possible have been the fundamental driving forces of all of human history. Without these urges to ‘play God’, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist today.”
The availability of a range of new psychotropic agents raises the possibility that these will be used for enhancement purposes (smart pills, happy pills, and pep pills). The enhancement debate soon raises questions in philosophy of medicine and psychiatry (eg, what is a disorder?), and this debate in turn raises fundament questions in philosophy of language, science, and ethics. In this paper, a naturalistic conceptual framework is proposed for addressing these issues. This framework begins by contrasting classical and critical concepts of categories, and then puts forward an integrative position that is based on cognitive-affective research. This position can in turn be used to consider the debate between pharmacological Calvinism (which may adopt a moral metaphor of disorder) and psychotropic utopianism (which may emphasize a medical metaphor of disorder). I argue that psychiatric treatment of serious psychiatric disorders is justified, and that psychotropics are an acceptable kind of intervention. The use of psychotropics for sub-threshold phenomena requires a judicious weighing of the relevant facts (which are often sparse) and values.
A report this week in Nature documents the work of Duke University researcher Miguel Nicolelis who have implanted sensors that enable rats to “touch” and respond to infrared light.
Based on my totally unscientific observations, the number of science fiction novels with explicitly Singularitarian and transhumanist themes seems to be increasing exponentially. At very least, the number of such novels finding their way to my inbox or snail mail...
Is it ethical to put money and resources into trying to develop technological enhancements for human capabilities, when there are so many alternative well-tested mechanisms available to address pressing problems such as social injustice, poverty, poor sanitation, and endemic disease?