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Should We Make Cyborg Soldiers?

A group of ethicists is getting $250,000 to ask how much we should use nanotechnology to enhance humans.
September 26, 2006

Should we implant future nanotech-enabled computers and actuators into soldiers to make them more effective? If nanotech can help kids do better in school, are parents obligated to provide them with it? Does it make a difference if these enhancements are implanted, rather than just worn outside the body?

Patrick Lin, director of The Nanoethics Group, James Moor at Dartmouth University, and Fritz Allhoff at Western Michigan University have been given a quarter-million dollars, in the form of a pair of grants from the National Science Foundation, to try sorting out the answers to these kinds of questions.

In a press release, Lin said, “Today, human enhancement may mean steroids or Viagra or cosmetic surgeries. But with the accelerating pace of technology, some of the more fantastic scenarios may arrive sooner than people think.”

The Nanoethics Group has previously considered subjects such as the potential environmental and health impacts of nanotech.

I’m personally looking forward to the report, especially its list of cool, hypothetical human-enhancement technologies. (U.S. cyclists are probably looking forward to it, too.)

Deep Dive

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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