We cannot afford to push healthcare advances to improve a human, a world where we allow prosthetics without reason, push life expectancy as far as it can go in search of immortality, and integrate technology directly into people creating artificial humans.
Prosthetics are an excellent aid to those who need it, but become an easily abused power of wealth, greed, and inequality.
We continue to strive towards increasing life duration, without mitigating the effects of aging, which leaves our system for handling those in advanced age, feeble, horribly understaffed, easily ignored, and underdeveloped.
Medical devices are becoming increasingly present within humans and said devices are connected to the internet, leaving humans susceptible to be attacked, controlled, or rendered inoperable.
While the world of science fiction is something of bewilderment, and often remarkable images that can create a belief of superhuman abilities, blissful immortality, and interconnected human beings, they are simply being pushed too quickly.
Should transhumanism become the leading ideology in healthcare?
That’s the idea that humans need to be replaced with a human 2.0 of almost cyborg-like qualities. Any species that causes huge damage to their environment, can’t feed itself even though it has enough food, and wages wars that cost millions of lives surely needs to be improved. Evolving in ways that could better our lives can only be a good thing, but evolving to a stage where we humans become something other than a human could be less desirable. We cannot afford to push healthcare advances to improve a human, where we allow prosthetics without reason, push life expectancy as far as it can go in search of immortality, and integrate technology directly into people creating artificial humans.
With advancements in healthcare, it’s impossible to not explore the future of medicine as creating almost “superhuman” individuals. Prosthetics are a rapidly advancing field and have shown vast improvement in the quality of life. There is no doubt about how prosthetics affect those without limbs or other deformities. However, we should not allow individuals who are deemed healthy, the option to swap or replace their limbs with prosthetics. This would create individuals who have abilities that are far above the average human, which has more than one side to it. Criminals who have money could purchase a prosthetic arm and it wouldn’t leave any fingerprints and would be stronger for fighting or breaking things. Certain athletes may have an advantage over others if they don’t disclose their enhancements, and those who wish to do harm to others have the ability to conceal other weapons. On the other hand, society could benefit from first responders who have the ability to lift heavier objects, run to a scene faster, and not feel the effects of fire or other harsh conditions. So while it is a slippery slope, only some individuals would be able to afford it, and this creates an equality gap, which is not how healthcare should be regarded. Healthcare is special and regarded as such, where it becomes a human right, not the highest bidder takes all situation. Prosthetics are an excellent aid to those who need it, but become an easily abused power of wealth, greed, and inequality and such abuse is comparable to gene modification in babies. The CRISPR system is becoming more of a reality, which allows humans to genetically alter babies to nearly any combination.
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While currently it is viewed as immoral to genetically modify babies, the tables have begun to turn and this view may be shifting. Genetically modifying unborn children can create the “perfect” baby that a parent may wish for, after all, if they have the means to fund their preferences, they should have access to all the resources available. Even with modification the wish for “designer babies” is already having a profound impact on the average life expectancy globally (WHO). Life expectancy is increasing, but the quality of life for the elderly is not, at least not at a proportional rate. Immortality is a dream that people have often desired, and it excites wonder when explained in science fiction, but when approached in a practical matter, it is the worst thing that could happen to a society. We continue to strive towards increasing life duration, without mitigating the effects of aging, which leaves our system for handling those in advanced age, feeble, horribly understaffed, easily ignored, and underdeveloped. Continuing on the path, without sufficient investment into either the quality of life or the effects of the aging process, will ultimately lead to the downfall of moral standings for the elderly. Additionally, areas with a rising hope for the longevity of life will need to prepare for other age-related costs, such as the need for specialized care, and an increase in treatment for chronic conditions of the elderly. Living longers exposes us to more risk for contracting chronic conditions that we have yet to find cures for, and are then needlessly endured as we get older. Aging itself, is already unnatural, as normal humans would be killed before that process really begins, but prolonging it is even more unnatural, creating a situation where we cannot keep up with the elongated life in the future.
The future may be filled with wonder and amazement, alongside all the incredulous technological advances, but what sacrifices come with it? Humans, becoming something other than human is a dangerous road, leading to virtual crimes, lack of autonomy, and hackable people. Some people believe that overpopulation could be solved by living virtual lives, eventually leading to a future where humans become partially artificial themselves. What’s scary is that we are already at that point in society, where humans themselves have become augmented, we can pay for something with our fingers or use a hand sensor to identify objects, replacing many of the items we rely on currently. An enhanced human is certainly something out of science fiction, but that fiction is a reality, with an ever increasing number of “smart devices”. This can include everything from chargeable prosthetic legs and sensory hand implants to seemingly normal pacemakers, and insulin pumps, which lends itself to the crimes of the future. Many of these devices become linked to the internet and therefore become vulnerable to cyber terrorism, where an individual could hack that device and control, someone, either directly, or their medical device. These devices can become inoperable, or infected with malware, meaning the threat to the industry is too great, it would compromise the safety of patients and humans alike. A connected human can quickly become a disconnected human.
While the world of science fiction is something of bewilderment, and often remarkable images that can create a belief of superhuman abilities, blissful immortality, and interconnected human beings, they are simply being pushed too quickly. These options in our future are attainable and possible, however, they require more drastic advances in the technology field, as well as a societal shift towards the quality of human life. We should explore the paths available to us, because just as we had to evolve from organisms in the sea to land, we must evolve soon, if we want to continue as a species, the only question is how fast can we get there and if we are ready. Healthcare is a special ideology that cannot be pushed past what humans can handle, the world is not ready yet for an artificial human race, but it can be someday.
- “Life Expectancy.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 6 July 2018, www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends/en/.
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