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Designer people: is technology making us less human?


Designer people: is technology making us less human?

Technological advances have benefitted humanity and fitting prosthetic limbs to amputees raises no moral objections.  But, how might we respond if designers invite us to upgrade to Arm 2.0 or Brain 4.0?  Is there a point where technology transforms what it means to be human and should we be wary or embrace it?  Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, speakers include: Daisy Ginsberg, design fellow, Synthetic Aesthetics, Stanford University/University of Edinburgh; Professor Andy Miah, director, Creative Futures Research Centre, University of West Scotland; Marilyn Mond, emeritus professor of molecular embryology, University College London; Susana Soares, designer; senior lecturer, London Southbank University. The debate is chaired by Sandy Starr from the Progess Educational Trust.

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Related topics: Debates, Science Progress

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Sydney said:

Headbands that can enable us to see round corners, bionic limbs that are so good they are better than us at walking and running…all so exciting. And what is this natural human anyway, there isn’t one. We already shape and enhance what is possible through society and culture and we should be doing a lot more. I have a feeling that this has really slowed down in these times of ‘careful now’ and ‘down with humans’. This debate covers so much, loved it.

Vicki said:

I think the comment below only means we should argue for us all to have it, and anyway, most things go to the rich first, but I wouldn’t want us stop developing and coming up with things that make our lives better because of that. LIked how this debate went into the moral side of designing us although I am waiting with anticipation for my Brain 2.0 – I need it.

Juan said:

I too loved this debate. I can’t help thinking that just the rich would get the means to be better through these Star Trekky developments though and then it would widen the gap between people who can and people who can’t. That is a problem isn’t it?

Melissa said:

This is brilliant, I am a bit of geek and gadget kid, so thought it was going to be all about things that will transform us in the future. That was talked about but far more interesting in the end was the real moral questions around what makes us human. So for example, in the future we could take something which means we wouldn’t need to sleep, except for a bit now and then. Think what we could do, more time to party, to learn or as someone says in the audience, to reflect, think.