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Sensory Enhancement
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2015 (English)In: Handbook of Neuroethics, Springer Netherlands, 2015, 827-838 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sensory enhancement is a form of human enhancement that aims to extend the sensory capabilities of a person beyond what is possible for a normal human. Sensory enhancement can consist in either an enhancement that improves a sense or that extends that sense to perceive light, sound, tactile stimuli, or chemical traces that are beyond the human range. A sensory enhancement may also add a new sense, such as electroreception or modulate a sense so that it can perform completely new functions, such as echolocation (biosonar). This chapter argues that sensory enhancement could be implemented in mainly two ways: either via the application of digital technology or by genetic engineering of the human body. The potential of augmented reality (AR) and of brain-computer Interface (BCI) technology is also explored in the section on digital enhancement. The section on genetic engineering will mainly be concerned with the potential of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Three arguments on the normative aspects of sensory enhancement are also presented in this chapter. The first considers the instrumental value of being able to perceive new forms of artistic expression. The second concerns the idea of diversity and whether sensory enhancement could increase human diversity. The third argument departs from the “capabilities approach,” formulated by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, and sketches out the position that we may be deprived in comparison to some possible future enhanced people, even if we do not regret being so.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2015. 827-838 p.
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-157043DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4707-4_106Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84944576284ISBN: 978-940074707-4 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-157043DiVA: diva2:768645
Note

Updated from manuscript to book chapter.

QC 20160201

Available from: 2014-12-04 Created: 2014-12-04 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Human enhancement and technological uncertainty: Essays on the promise and peril of emerging technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human enhancement and technological uncertainty: Essays on the promise and peril of emerging technology
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Essay I explores brain machine interface (BMI) technologies. These make direct communication between the brain and a machine possible by means of electrical stimuli. This essay reviews the existing and emerging technologies in this field and offers an inquiry into the ethical problems that are likely to emerge.

Essay II, co-written with professor Sven-Ove Hansson, presents a novel procedure to engage the public in deliberations on the potential impacts of technology.  This procedure, convergence seminar, is a form of scenario-based discussion that is founded on the idea of hypothetical retrospection. The theoretical background and the results of the five seminars are presented.

Essay III discusses moral bioenhancement, an instance of human enhancement that alters a person’s dispositions, emotions or behavior. Moral bioenhancement could be carried out in three different ways. The first strategy is behavioral enhancement. The second strategy, favored by prominent defenders of moral enhancement, is emotional enhancement. The third strategy is the enhancement of moral dispositions, such as empathy and inequity aversion. I argue that we ought to implement a combination of the second and third strategies.

Essay IV considers the possibility and potential desirability of sensory enhancement. It is proposed that existing sensory modalities in vertebrate animals are proof of concept of what is biologically possible to create in humans. Three considerations on the normative aspects of sensory enhancement are also presented in this essay.

Essay V rejects disease prioritarianism, the idea that the healthcare system ought to prioritize the treatment of diseases. Instead, an approach that focuses on what medicine can accomplish is proposed.

Essay VI argues that from the idea that species have an intrinsic value and that humanity has a collective responsibility to protect animal species from extinction, the conclusion that we ought to recreate species follows.

Essay VII argues that unknown existential risks have not been properly addressed. It proposes a heuristic for doing so, and a concrete strategy. This strategy consists in building refuges that could withstand a large number of catastrophic events.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. v, 34 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 50
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156724 (URN)978-91-7595-341-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-12, D2, Lindstetsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20141204

Available from: 2014-12-04 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2014-12-18Bibliographically approved

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