Friday, 9 November 2007

CyborgEthics

I don't know how many remember, but I started a blog on the subject of augmentation and cyborging back in the early 2000's - I don't know how I missed this article (and just now found this one) but it's precisely what I was saying, only years later... Okay - the original blog was on Arachnet and is now closed but I kept the idea alive, and seeing stuff like that makes me want to start it up again.

Basically, the central theme I am trying to work out is - how much of you can be replaced before you're no longer you? At what point does that change occur? Is there such a point? Or is it, as for every other philosophical question, just a matter of drawing your own line?

I mean, I use chemicals on a regular basis to regulate certain body functions like acid reflux control and sleeping pills. I wear mechanical devices to augment and correct my myopia, (glasses for short-sightedness,) and have had mechanical intervention (metal pin) to correct broken/defective body parts. (A snapped-off big toe, in this case. Don't ask... %)

Am I a human being who's been infused with metal and chemicals, or am I a cyborg with some human parts left? And before we get into mind/soul/brain that separates us from machines and animals, bear in mind that there are several sides to that coin that don't involve any inflated notion of "soul" and "better" or "worse" than animals/machines...

A case in point - when I started TEdADYNE Systems Blog, I posited that because nanotechnology is so incredibly small, a machine composed of nanoparticles could be built inside your normal body and only increase your mass slightly, and infact hardly be noticeable by you.

Such a network could be used to augment yur body and make it much better. It could also be used to map every particle of what makes you you, and thus paves the way for downloading your entire being to storage devices which, incidentally, are fast approaching more than enough capacity.

So then, if you get a backup of yourself made, and that backup gets run on a simulator or on some mechanical body, which one is the real you?

See, we still haven't got the hang of dealing with Internet malfeasance, and we're already on the verge of a far more slippery slope... Someone had to open a discussion, and I'd love to hear your comments on this.

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