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The Ethics For Engineers In Combining Humans With Advanced Robotics

2010 words - 9 pages

Todays robots are used in various industries from manufacturing to military, as technology advances more robots are becoming independent. As their systems increase in complexity, so too will their capabilities and scope of employment. Progresses in the sciences may one day permit for the blending of human and robotic functioning at scales where they become indistinguishable from each other. These future achievements in engineering could potentially redefine human properties; undoubtedly, the ethical concerns will be profoundly important to the direction of the human species. Should we allow Human Enhancement? Should we make thinking machines? Will merging with machines, make humans perfect? Human enhancement and machine intelligence are the big topic questions that are presently being discussed by communities worldwide. These are the problems of the future and the engineering community has a big part to play in helping to resolve these looming issues.
Arguments for enhancements stem from the ideas that enhancements are already being established and in use today. Things like advanced prosthesis, medical implants and artificial organs have already become accepted forms treatment. These devices have been employed to care for human deficiencies so advocates say why not use the technology to improve human limitations. Currently, blind patients who are good candidates can receive the ARUS II an artificial retina, which can actually restore partial sight (Titley 23). Of course, there are hopes one day to restore complete sight to the blind, but will this be considered a treatment or enhancement? In prosthetics, researchers have been attempting to create “feedback systems” that allow robotic prosthesis to attach to nerve pathways in amputees with the ultimate goal of applying tactile sensation to the prosthesis of the future; therefore, restoring the user’s sense of feeling (Kroeker 17). Many are encouraged by these advancements and few look negatively on them. In the future, there will be more prosthetics that return greater functions to amputees, but this could also be applied to greater steps in enhancing human capacities (Bess 644).
What about smaller enhancements? With the advent of nanotechnology medicine has able to make rapid advances in patient care. These advances have expanded physicians and other healthcare practitioners control over operating procedures, drug dosage, rehabilitation techniques and it has also led to increasingly accurate monitoring of internal human physiology through medical analyzers like MRI’s and PET scans (Glenn and Boyce 268-9). Nanotechnology promises to alter the domain of medicine by giving more awareness, better protections, and complete control over the human biological processes (Glenn and Boyce 268). Of special interests to engineers are the futuristic applications of nanomachines that will operate at the cellular stage. Many healthcare professions in vision using these machines to receive information updates...

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