What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
489 Views
1 Comments

‘A Brave New You’: Human Enhancement and Bioinnovation

“O, wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in’t!”

 -Shakespeare, The Tempest

Homo sapiens; our differences in experience and understanding shape and define us, however, through these dividing lines our perceptions of reality are underpinned by our humanness. Yet, it is certainly a brave new world that awaits us, and those godly creatures may transcend, to be defined and shaped by science. To what extent, who knows?

Rapid advances in biotechnology are increasingly blurring the line between science and science-fiction. The decisions we make today will lay the foundations for our collective future, only with foresight can we steer progress towards what we want to see. Without it, we face collective failure.

This future is one of human enhancement. One that could see us become more than human, where there may even be the need to eschew the “human” for those whose paths diverge greatly from where we are now.

Technology and science are reaching a stage where they are able to tear through basic evolutionary principles

The human machine has been fashioned through æons of evolutionary progress. Throughout this time we have learned to control the world around us, moulding it as it moulded us. Technology and science are reaching a stage where they are able to tear through basic evolutionary principles, allowing us to frame what lies ahead. The breakthrough technologies, sometimes labelled as “emerging technologies”, are thought to be held within the fields of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science (NBIC): some of the fields are progressing at exponential or even hyper-exponential rates.

NBIC technologies also have the possibility for convergence, where an advancement in one field could have an impact on another. The types of things we see emerging range from computer chips implanted into brains, through to technologies that are allowing us to replace strands of DNA.

The future has potential for things such as the creation of nano-scale interventions, where drugs could be delivered to exact cells, or perhaps even the artificial creation of an entire human genome, as is the aim of the Human Genome Project-Write project. There will be new ways to keep us healthy, let us live longer, or even re-engineer our basic functions from the ground up.

Though the line between science and science-fiction is becoming blurred, these advances must also be grounded in reality, and the future is difficult to forecast. In 2009 an EU report into human enhancement called brain implants “highly visionary”. Yet, by 2016, a startup named Kernel claims to have developed brain implants that may allow people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as alzheimer’s or dementia, to improve their memory.

While the emphasis on our technical abilities may, at times, be a little misplaced and shrouded in hyperbole, these potential capabilities are not something we should turn a blind eye to. What remains a myth for now may not remain that way, as the scientific juggernaut ploughs forward into realms unknown.

There is however a certain mythology abound by techno-progressives, such as futurist thinkers and transhumanists, around how far we can push ourselves, and the future that humanity can take; as author Stewart Brand once said, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it”.

The new man; an era led by the Californian Ideology where our new gods will be created in Silicon, worshiping in the shadow of the Valley of unfettered technologically determined utopianism. Where the powerful drive a new mode of reactionary modernism: concepts such as eugenics are becoming rebranded through liberal ideals – consumer eugenics; remove the state, place the individual’s right of freedom, of choice.

There are a plethora of ethical questions to be addressed: who has access to technologies, and how are they used?

This means we need to plan for the future and our path should be cautiously tread. There are a plethora of ethical questions that need to be addressed, as well as questions such as who has access to these technologies and how, and if, they are to be used. These are conversations that need to be undertaken by a wide spectrum of society, not just through technocrats and a techno-capitalist elite.

The latter of which will be able to buy into and exploit the potential gains of these technologies before the rest of us – digital technocrats who know more about us than we do, who hold the keys to personal advancement, could create a never seen before polarised chasms and stratification within society.

Those who can afford to indulge in fantasies of the techno-progressive project may salivate over endless realms of self improvement: as we live in a world where billions survive of less than a handful of dollars a day. This indulgence, as it stands, will be driven by the same neo-liberal paradigms that exposes and exploits those at its periphery. If the chasm widens the dystopian nature of Huxley’s A Brave New World will start to look less fictional as the 0.1% tightens its grip through regimes of authority that truly bring the bio into politics.

While we ponder our collective future, the military is acting as a major driver of change. The idea of the super soldier is becoming closer to being a practical reality. Justin Sanchez, head of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Biological Technologies Office says that 2017 will “be a game changer” for biotechnology. There are serious advantages to be had for militaries that can increase a soldier’s performance. Soldiers who will one day become veterans; technologies developed for the military will inevitably find themselves filtering into civilian life. Which isn’t ideal. The prospect of a bio-inspired-evolutionary-arms-race wouldn’t bode well for hopes of our continuation.

Given the nature of such technologies and their potential uses. Is their development by such regimes and institutions, with power held in a small minority, the ideal way for them to be progressed? There’s no question DARPA’s implants would probably contain backdoor access for the US government, right into the brain.

As young people we should care about where we are going. Academically we should ask questions about what all of this means. While interdisciplinarity may be somewhat of a buzzword, the future practically demands it. We have seen science without merit; scientific racism still inflicts deep wounds; an excess of modernity can be viewed through the depravity of the holocaust. We need thoughtful progress, one in which social aims are factored in.

We live in a world based on humans and humanness; we live with human rights and universal notions of human equality. If we are to see a delineation of our species into pastures new, it would require a fundamental change in some of the basic tenets of society, of the human experience. We need to ask ourselves if there is an intrinsic value in being human, something we should hold onto, or whether we should embrace entirely new possibilities.

Because drastic change is coming, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Change we need to get right, otherwise dystopia and hyperbole won’t satisfy as explanations for what is yet to come. 

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
20 views
20 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
48 views
48 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

One Comment

  1. Well written. I think though that “The lady doth protest to much”. Wouldn’t u want any upgrades? Given the chance? I would get a 12 inch genetically enhanced & or bionic dong that could scratch itself!
    That could save me years of work over a life time & I would call it the Scratchinator.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
67 views
Arts
67 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
Arts
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
Arts
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
79 views
Film & Theatre
79 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
118 views
Arts
118 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
105 views
Campus News
105 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
154 views
News
154 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
Arts
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
Interview
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
144 views
Lifestyle
144 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
Lifestyle
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
Arts
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
News
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
Arts
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
207 views
Film & Theatre
207 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
Sports
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
Arts
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
Arts
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1326 views1
Campus News
1326 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
News
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018

The new Lewes Road branch of ALDI has opened to the public. Its first customers received free fruit and vegetables and the store has proved popular since.…

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
20 views
Campus News
20 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Students are due to give a talk about the UK’s first black studies degree as part of Sussex University’s Black History Month events. The free event, which…

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus
Culture
116 views
Culture
116 views

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus

Ketan Jha - October 19, 2018

Classical music can be obtuse. It is easy, especially at free concerts occupied largely by octogenarians, to get lost between movements and melodies. This is especially true…

Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
48 views
Music
48 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

  CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former is characterised…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
27 views
Campus News
27 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
35 views
Campus News
35 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
50 views
News
50 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
60 views
News
60 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
38 views
News
38 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
37 views
Campus News
37 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
76 views
National News
76 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
57 views
National News
57 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
69 views
Music
69 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
74 views
Arts
74 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…