We are pleased to announce that Dr. William Cheshire will be joining CBC’s national board. Adding Dr. Cheshire to our team is a huge plus for the CBC. CBC is one of the very few groups, educating people on the many issues facing us in bioethics today. When you count the number of groups focusing on these questions who believe in the dignity of all human life, from the small embryo to the elderly and the disabled, then the number of organizations working in this field shrinks even more. All the more reason to have built the best team of people to get our message out! As a neurologist, Dr. Cheshire has specialized talent and interest in the field of neuroethics. A very cutting edge field, especially as it relates to bioethics. In our first conference, The Face of the Future: Techno sapiens? Dr. Cheshire gave us a thought experiment on what it might look like when science and technology are used to enhance and augment brain function and ability. What does being human look like if intellect and capacity are strengthened by technology and not hard work? With advances in the field of nanotechnology, called the next small thing, we see new concerns on the horizon for those of us involved in bioethics. Merging humans and hamsters and creating chimeras, using stem cells to repair and regenerate damaged organs, or cloning people will perhaps soon be obsolete. The next small thing will be the introduction of robots, silicon chips, and super smart machines into our bodies at the molecular level. Building humans from the ground up, from the inside out. These technologies, while having the potential to help us a great deal, will raise serious questions and have significant implications. Let me point out of few things we at CBC are wrestling with.
Will the role of medicine bifurcate, with one branch focused on traditional healing, curing, and treating disease and another form of medicine focused on improving and enhancing human beings? Will you need two family physicians? One you visit when you have the flu vs. your cyber physician you visit when the latest upgrade comes out for your brain chip.
Will there be a blurred distinction between humans and machines? Is your household robot (think Bicentennial Man) part of the family or not and why? Those pushing for a post human future and the liberty and freedom to pursue this will want to use technology to create a virtual world with virtual people. If there are appropriate limits to the use of technology in our humanness, what will they be and who gets to decide?
Will we lose the human spirit of hard work, effort and accomplishment? If we can use technology to run faster, memorize mathematic equations without even understanding them, or live forever, will we be happier? Will we have a sense of achievement when successes we have are not of our own initiative?
Because the questions raised by new technologies come so quickly and bleed into one another, the activities of the CBC and our educational resources try to help people understand the larger picture, the larger questions before us and of course the response we should have to be involved and get engaged. We at the CBC embrace ethical biotechnology for the human good and the team we are building helps us to help you shape the human future!
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