Here are five things to know about the future of being human

United Nations Venezuela 2018_

UN Photo/Meridith Kohut. Shoppers wait in line for five hours to buy a ration of bread from a small bakery in Cumaná, Venezuela.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Simone Schürle, Assistant Professor for Responsive Biomedical Systems, ETH Zürich

Let’s assume you are healthy. Would you consider an implant or drugs to boost your physical or mental performance? Questions like these become relevant as we reach a pivotal moment in medicine, when science and technology can go beyond restorative intervention, to allow us to exceed our natural human functions.

We have methods at hand for human enhancement. With advances in nanotechnology, materials, artificial intelligence and much more, new technologies are fast becoming able to raise the capacity of a healthy person beyond their normal range, or beyond any human’s normal range. This will challenge the core of what it means to be human. Our future holds great potential, as well as pitfalls that could undermine our sense of identity and the fabric of our societies.

Here are 5 crucial things to know about the future of being human:

1. Autonomy

Enhancing your abilities, such as having a knee implant so you can walk longer or neuroimplants to boost your memory, might seem liberating, as it decreases your dependency. By taking the freedom to consider and potentially undergo an enhancing procedure, we need to keep in mind the effects of peer pressure and how our decision might compromise the autonomy of others, and of society as a whole. What if certain enhancements become the “new normal” that you need to match to stay competitive?

2. Education

With an array of human enhancement options available, it will become increasingly important for consumers to be able to equip themselves in order to make informed decisions. Education is key and will help people to consider risks and potential safety concerns. Prepare yourself for critical evaluations and reflections, concerning short- and long-term risks and benefits, on an individual and societal level.

3. Equity

Your future you might be in a divided world. Scientific advances may allow humans to improve everything, from memory to appearance. However, unequal access to such advances could provoke social tension and result in unfair competition between average and enhanced individuals. As new technologies and options for enhancement are developed, we will need social systems that ensure affordable access and prevent the emergence of an enhanced vs. non-enhanced social divide.

4. Longevity

With the rise of biotechnology and an improved understanding of ageing, new methods to decelerate the decline of biological processes are being developed, resulting in longer lives. However, there is also a great risk of prolonged living with a lower quality of life, and relatively low functional capability.

5. Emotions and social interaction

Enhancements will not only result in measurable increased performance levels, such as greater memory or stronger lifting skills, they will also alter how we feel, behave and interact with each other. This will transform both human relationships and the cohesion of our societies.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

The role of medical students in promoting women’s rights

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

UN highlights importance of skills development on World Youth Skills Day

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

17 ways technology could change the world by 2025

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Here are what UNESCO considers to be remarkable new World Heritage Sites

Coronavirus: Commission lists key steps for effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

What is the Coral Triangle?

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Greta Thunberg at #DavosAgenda: Here’s how climate experts responded to her speech

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Deepfake democracy: Here’s how modern elections could be decided by fake news

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Trump reshapes the Middle East at the expenses of Europe

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Building trust: Here’s what you need to know about The Davos Agenda 2021

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Climate change: What is COP26 and why does it matter?

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

Here’s how businesses can make the circular economy a reality

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is behind the wide reach of  fake news about Coronavirus?

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The Commission breathless behind the horsemeat scandal

COVID-19 is a threat to waste pickers. Here’s how to help them

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

4 ways to build a net-zero economy by 2050

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s