Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights con, May 26-28

nym | 02:45 PM
Author of Citizen Cyborg, James Hughes, is holding a conference on human rights in a post human age. The conference, called Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights on May 26th through the 28th. Hughes believes institutions should help support human enchancement technologies in order to help make people's lives better rather than just extending the gap between social classes. I can definately imagine a day that the poor are judged more on their lack of transhuman prosthetics than the clothes on their backs.
What, if any, limits should be considered to human enhancement? On what grounds can citizens be prevented from modifying their own genes or brains? How far should reproductive rights be extended? Might enhancement reduce the diversity of humanity in the name of optimal health? Or, conversely, might enhancements inspire such an unprecedented diversity of human beings that they strain the limits of liberal tolerance and social solidarity? Can we exercise full freedom of thought if we can't exercise control over our own brains using safe, available technologies? Can we ensure that enhancement technologies are safe and equitably distributed? When are regulatory efforts simply covert, illiberal value judgments?

Between the ideological extremes of absolute prohibition and total laissez-faire that dominate popular discussions of human enhancement there are many competing agendas, hopes and fears. How can the language of human rights guide us in framing the critical issues? How will enhancement technologies transform the demands we make of human rights?

With the Human Enhancement and Human Rights conference we seek to begin a conversation with the human rights community, bioethicists, legal scholars, and political activists about the relationship of enhancement technologies to human rights, cognitive liberty and bodily autonomy. It is time to begin the defense of human rights in the era of human enhancement.

[ Link via boingboing / del ]

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