Bioethics News

World War I to the Age of the Cyborg: the Surprising History of Prosthetic Limbs

September 7, 2016

(The Conversation) – People have long dreamed of being smarter, stronger, faster. But now it seems that cutting edge technologies are out there, or in development, that might enable us truly to enhance our cognitive and physical capabilities. At the Paralympics, sprinters will be bounding down the tracks on running blades. Students are taking “smart drugs” and using cognitive enhancement devices in order to achieve better academic performance. These recent advances in science and technology have led to much discussion on the ethics of human enhancement, giving the impression that this is an era-defining moment, one in which the very definition of what it is to be “human” is being challenged. But such concerns over human enhancement are not new. Consider, for instance, the design and mass production of prosthetic limbs 100 years ago.

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