Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BioEdge: Protecting the world through moral bioenhancement


The co-existence of large numbers of Very Bad Hombres and readily available means of mass destruction is seen by a number of bioethicists as a grave threat to the future of humanity. About a decade ago, some of them began to speculate about whether it might be possible to create a world of order, peace and virtue through what they termed "moral enhancement" or "moral bioenhancement".


The idea was to make people altruistic and pacific by spiking the water supply, vaccinating them or adding agents to air conditioning systems in public buildings.


Whether this is feasible or not is still unknown, although some chemicals show promise. In the meantime, bioethicists are busy discussing the whys and wherefores. The stakes are not trivial. As they see it, with nuclear weapons, biological weapons and, more recently, the threat of hostile artificial intelligence, on the horizon, humanity lives under a sword of Damocles.