EU advises on posthuman cyborg future

Are we all becoming post-human cyborgs?
Are we all becoming post-human cyborgs?

Philosophers and engineers have debated whether or not we are all gradually becoming post-human cyborgs for decades. Now, the European Parliament is meeting to debate the issues next month.

"We should welcome with open arms the rich possibilities of technologically enhancing our bodies," reports Andy Miah in the Guardian this week, adding the important caveat, "just so long as we don't all end up looking, and thinking, and acting the same."

The European Parliament is set to debate issues surrounding smart drugs, cybernetic body enhancements, cosmetic surgery and more over the coming months to "establish an advisory committee on all aspects of human enhancement, the first committee of its kind."

Biocultural capital

Miah sees the contemporary obsession with cosmetic surgery part of what he calls "the accumulation of biocultural capital... the expectation is that such alterations will make us wealthier in some sense," or, of course, make us more attractive to those people we would like to go to bed with!

There are, of course, many (professional and armchair) critics of cosmetic surgery and cutting edge medical enhancements through cybernetics, nanotechnology or smart drugs. But is it simply a matter of being 'for or against' such moves towards "the post-human"?

And, in many ways, haven't we all in some way been 'cyborgs' since we first invented machines to improve upon what our bodies were capable of. Were we not 'cyborgs' when we invented the wheel and cart?

After all "we have always been beings in transition," argues Miah, who think the key is to find ways to "support responsible use" of body modifying technologies.

"If we want to foster a more enlightened use of the technology, we have to begin with culture, not with the technology itself."

A timely message indeed, as DIY botox kits become available on eBay. TechRadar will be following the European Parliaments debates on these issues closely in the coming months.

Via the Guardian

Adam Hartley