With the passing of time, technology has evolved from the era of the caveman to current growing advancement of today’s technology where the creation of the wheel to the ability of travelling far beyond the skies. During the old days, medical practitioner uses plants to cure certain disease only but not deformity of the limbs but now with technology artificial limbs can be used on another to able to live normally. Therefore, the advancement of technology can be seen in the medical area as well from then until now. The next step in the advancement of medicine is that the ability to modified a human phenotype or its genotype or DNA so that the person would not be able to have that certain sickness or condition. This is human enhancement which further extended from using artificial limbs to help a person but improving their physical and mental capabilities. Human enhancement uses medicine or technology to increase the individuals capabilities beyond human limitation.(Irish Council of Bioethics, n.d.)
The concept of human enhancement has been discussed and talked about for many years since the Roman time where philosopher had written this idea down. Allhoff, et al. (2009) stated that the concept of human enhancement comes from the idea where man wishes to be more than human like the godlike commander Gilgamesh of mythology overcoming the limitation of human ability. Furthermore, this idea was also acknowledge by many well-known people such as Benjamin Franklin who dreamed of suspended animation. (Bostrom, 2005) Moreover, human enhancement was longed seek by man to become more than an average human so they gain a purpose to pursue it by improving technology.
When talking about human enhancement, Allhoff, et al., (2009) states that there are 2 types of this human enhancement which are ‘therapy’ and infusing technologies. With so, Juengst (1997) states that this kind of ‘therapy’ is about using treatment so it allows an individual to comprise or able to function as good as normal but below their average. Therefore, in the another way it is possible to think that the opposite of therapy is human enhancement through technology where it is able to change the structure and the bodily function.( Greely, 2005) However, this idea of human enhancement is not about using medicine to make us good as normal but to emerge man and machine in one human body.
With that, Allhoff, et al. (2009) states that we as humans use natural methods to gain to improve ourselves via our mind by reading or studying, dieting, exercising our body to gain physical strength and learning techniques with weapons to defend ourselves from those deem to hurt. This can be considered that as a therapy by using normal means. However, in this case human enhancement takes a step further where we infuse our mind and body with the power of technology to gain it. (Allhoff, et al, 2009) As such, when our mind and body are one with the technology infuse in us we are able to reap the benefits of that which are the potential to live longer, be more productive, possessing a stronger body and mind and a more creative output. (Allhoff, et al, 2009)
In the recent years, human enhancement has become a hot topic among the intellectual community. There are groups formed to spread the idea of human enhancement and also to state their idea about this. Furthermore, the term transhumanism has been used to associate with human enhancement. The aims of human enhancement for some are to rid of disease, poverty and disability and there are some who seek to break the boundaries of human limitation and gaining new heights. However so, the main idea of human enhancement is to improve all human life.
With such extraordinary ideas of human enhancement and with the growing technology available, it gives rise to speculation and excitement to people in general. When it comes to speculation, it bring forth about the ethics of human rights or about the segregation between those enhancement and those without. (Bioethics, n.d) Those people with these mindset fear about themselves being step on. While those are in excitement, are those who believe that human should not stop here but to advance our physically as well or those who are disable able to gain back their limbs or paralyze people are able to walk again. Even though people wish to be more than human by going over the limitation of human ability, those who are disable are the ones that sometimes motivates scientist to help them or enhance them from being that way.
Therefore, for those who agree with the idea of human enhancement states that this idea helps those who are in suffering have a better lifestyle and does not create a gap between those with enhancement and those without it. However, those who disagree with the idea states that we are playing god by enhancing ourselves more than what god gave us and believe that not create a gap but a ravine which is hard to bridge. Even so, human enhancement should be legalised for the sake of mankind to help those in need of enhancement to attain the life of a normal person, to equality and fairness among those and to prevent social disruption as well.
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2.1 Human Enhancement able to give people a normal or better lives
Those who are against the idea of human enhancement mostly say that those who indulge in human enhancement are playing god. They do not want to accept what have god given us. Furthermore, these people said that what sickness that may be inherited or attain it’s a part of our destiny to accept it and do not try to against it. Thus, for those who are born with deformities and those inherited certain disease that cannot be cured should accept their fate and make the best of it. Other than that, Reason.com(2006) states that those who oppose are scared that human enhancement or the progress of enhancement would lead the humankind to hell. Furthermore, Savulescu (n.d) states that we should understand and recognize our limitation whether physically or mentally. However, these statements are weak. Human enhancement should be legalized because it is able to cure disease and deformities of anyone. Thus, this proves to be a very good for people especially those who have incurable disease or deformities of the limbs because they are able to obtain a normal life.
When talking about normal life, Savulescu(n.d) states that when we have a good and proper health, we are able to lead a normal and good life as well. When he said this, he was talking about how human enhancement is able to help us to gain it. This can be seen in many ways to live a normal or good life. One of it is when a person is injured and lost a limb like a leg or hand due to accident or casualties of war, he cannot lead the life he used to have before the incident. Thus, he cannot lead the normal life he had so with human enhancement he is able to acquire a new limb due to implantation of a robotic limb. This is can be visualized in the movie ‘I-Robot’ where the main character played by Will Smith had a robotic arm due to an accident. As such, with the new arm he gained he was able to return back to the job he had. Furthermore, those people who are disabled are able to get the life they never had such as those who lost their ability to walk can use neural implants to bridge the nerve between the spine and legs so they are able to walk again. Therefore, this shows that having this enhancement due to advance in technology we are able to provide or give those back their life when faced with such incident.
Furthermore, human enhancement do not stop at replacing a human limbs but also treating incurable hereditary disease like Huntington’s disease or disease which cannot be cured like HIV and Parkinsons. Human enhancement dwells into to the core of human genetic codes to provide an individual a normal life or better. This is also a part of human enhancement which is call genetic engineering or gene therapy where BioCentre(n.d.) states that it alters the DNA of a cell which changes the behavior and the structure of the cell. Thus, this shows that any disease can be altered to profit for mankind where those who are suffering from this can obtain a normal life before it is too late. Furthermore, Reason.com(2006) states that Ron Bailey argue that with this enhancement there are no fear of infectious disease like avain flu currently spreading or the incurable HIV-Aides currently still at large. Nzherald(2005) states that Australian scientist were able to stimulate immunity towards HIV virus by altering the virus. Furthermore, it was proven successful to increase the resistance towards the virus but it only done in mice. Therefore, human enhancement should be legalized so that it can be tested on humans so those who suffer from this disease maybe more resistance towards it and able to obtain a normal life rather than being humiliated to have the virus.
In conclusion, human enhancement is not playing god like those who oppose think about. Human enhancement is about helping people to live a normal life or a better life especially the disabled or those who have lost their limbs and unable to work. With so, human enhancement actually allows these people to get back their lives or gain the lives they never had. Therefore, human enhancement should be legalized so that humankind is able to attain a normal or a better life.