Sunday, February 05, 2006

HUMAN ENHANCEMENTS : For Good or For Worse?

The flip side of the steroid scandal in baseball is last week's announcement of the first cloned dog. Ballplayers are punished for using pharmaceutical technologies to improve their physical abilities, while scientists are rewarded for pushing toward a similar goal — in the words of artificial intelligence techno-visionary Ray Kurzweil, "reverse engineering our biology and then reprogramming it."

Biological engineering is not just about curing disease anymore. The incentives and profits are moving toward drugs, gene therapies and other technologies to enhance human performance — memory, creativity, concentration, strength, endurance, longevity. Asking athletes not to partake of these advances is not just hypocritical, it's likely to be increasingly futile.

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