Date of Award
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Humans were always able to discover and invent solutions to our species limitations, from the discovery of vaccines and irradiation of diseases to the invention of personal computers that could fit in our pockets. Concerning the idea of scientific and technological advancements, it is never the question of whether or not scientists could discover these achievements, but it is always the question of whether or not science should create or discover something. In regards to the topic of neuroenhancement, experts have been unable to unanimously determine if, as a society, we are morally responsible enough to handle such an advancement. Neuroenhancement is the use of pharmaceuticals and/or technologies to improve the cognitive abilities of a healthy individual. There is already an expressed interested from society to using neuroenhancements, as many individuals use pharmaceuticals such as Modafinil, methylphenidate, and Adderall off-label, with many of these pharmaceuticals purchased illegally, to potentially boost their cognitive capabilities. Even with the growing interest in society, experts are concerned with the potential concerns of introducing neuroenhancement into society. Three of the biggest concerns surrounding cognitive enhancements are safety, risk of coercion, and distribution justice. In regards to safety, many individuals are uncomfortable with disturbing healthy brains for the potential of enhancing it because of the possible adverse side effects from electing to partake in an “unnecessary improvement.” Regarding the risk of coercion, if neuroenhancements were to be available to the public, individuals may feel compelled to artificially enhance themselves to be competitive in their careers or society. This takes out the desire to improve oneself for self-actualization, but rather to improve oneself to be part of a community. Regarding distribution justice, society already has an issue distributing currently existing items fairly. To introduce a product that may cause more inequality will only hinder society. Neuroenhancement may not just refer to cognitive enhancement, but potentially someday, may lead to manipulation of moral behavior. Currently, society is not ready for the responsibility of neuroenhancement, and society might never be ready.
Dang, Jennifer, "Neuroenhancement: Is Society Ready?" (2019). PCOM Capstone Projects. 5.