All’Università di Stanford si è tenuta tra il 26 e il 28 maggio la conferenza Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights, organizzata dallo Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, dal Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics e dall’Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, sui problemi etici posti dalle tecnologie che rendono possibile il miglioramento delle normali capacità umane (Brian Alexander, «Is there a human right to be superhuman?», MSNBC, 31 maggio 2006). Alcuni spunti interessanti:
San Francisco State University professor of bioethics Anita Silvers … argues that the right not to be normal, is, in fact, the essence of freedom. Human beings, she argues, have always modified themselves, usually because we see the modifications as some kind of advantage. Banning it, as some have argued for, means forcing people to adhere to a government-imposed standard of normal.
The instinct to prevent people from making alterations to themselves worries British philosopher Andy Miah, a lecturer in media, bioethics and cyber culture at the University of Paisley in Scotland. “I explain it as a contempt for ‘Otherness.’ We seek to suppress people whom we feel are abnormal, mutants or monsters. Historically, societies have done this a lot. They continue to do it and I find it embarrassing.”
Silvers argues that fears expressed by many opponents of human enhancement, that modification itself will lead to a standardized human being so we’ll all try to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, are unfounded.
Aggiornamento: Ronald Bailey ci offre il suo resoconto su Reason.
Aggiornamento 2: è uscita la seconda parte del resoconto di Bailey. Una brevissima citazione:
One of the conference organizers, James Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), pointed out that some bioconservative ethicists are arguing that making inheritable changes to the human genome should be declared a crime against humanity. He pointed out that arguments that we must preserve the “integrity” of the human genome sound eerily familiar to old-fashioned racist arguments against miscegenation.Aggiornamento 3: William Saletan dice la sua («Among the Transhumanists», Slate, 4 giugno 2006), che, come ci si poteva aspettare, non è troppo favorevole ai convegnisti. Tuttavia, conclude così:
Meanwhile, they look at cyborg technology and see in it what’s human. During the conference, I noticed a little guy sitting near the back with a gizmo stuck to his head. I thought he was some kind of techno-showoff. When he finally got up to give his talk, it turned out that the gizmo was the outer part of a hearing-assistance implant. He’s deaf. He showed us the inner part on the projection screen: a metal doodad that says “Advanced Bionics” and is wired through the gore in his head. Then he played audio of what he used to hear through his crude old implant, and what he hears now through his new one. How sweet the sound. Amazing grace.Aggiornamento 4: ok, è l’ultimo: George Dvorsky ha raccolto i commenti alla conferenza, il che mi esime dal continuare a elencarli qui («HETHR reviews», Sentient Developments, 6 giugno 2006).