Friday, September 01, 2006

Engineering Virtue

James Huges, Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, believes that we will soon be able to use "technologies to [] assist our adherence to self-chosen moral codes and citizenship obligations."

It's not clear to me where Hughes draws the support for this statement but, assuming arguendo that he is correct, and that virtue engineering will one day be a possibility, I've got to ask: "What moral codes? What citizenship obligations?"

I'm highly skeptical of Hughes's claim that ethical enhancements are right around the corner. However, if they are, we've got a lot of work to do before they arrive.


Blogger Impatient Patient said...

In the near future we will have many technologies that will allow us to modify and assist our emotions and reasoning. One of the purposes we will put these technologies to is to assist our adherence to self-chosen moral codes and citizenship obligations. For instance we will be able to suppress unwelcome desires, enhance compassion and empathy, and expand our understanding our social world and the consequences of actions. So, contrary to the bioconservative accusation that neurological self-determination and human enhancement will encourage more selfishness in society, it will probably permit people to be even more moral and responsible than they currently are.

Taken directly from the website- can you say brave new world and remember Huxley's story? How absolutely frightening. I am absolutely appalled at the arrogance of this vision. There is such danger in assuming that SOMEONE can manipulate people by technology so that they act properly. Where is the morality in that? And what happens to those who do not share the vision of an engineered morality, instead wishing to keep what is human---choices and all.

To wierd for me. I won't have what they are selling if at all possible.

Sun Sep 03, 01:47:00 AM EDT  

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