Transhumanism Turns People Into Slaves to Technology

Bioethics   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Dec 27, 2011   |   2:28PM   |   Washington, DC

The gaming industry is into transhumanism.  The idea of removing a perfectly good limb and replacing it with one that has super human abilities is the stuff of video games, for now.

Deus Ex is a game about transhumanism.  Part of the hype for Deus Ex was the creation of a fictitious corporation, Sarif Industries that specializes in human augmentation using artificial body parts.  Here is Sarif Industries’ perfect pitch for transhumanism.  This is the hard sell for using technology to replace normal body parts augmenting healthy humans beyond normal human abilities:

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?  Transhumanism is super seductive.  And yet the reality will be far from what is depicted above.  Once people begin to augment, others will feel compelled to do the same, removing perfectly good eyes, ears, limbs and replacing them just to be able to keep up.  At this point transhumanism will make man a slave to the technology he creates.  In the fictitious Deus Ex world, Purity First, an anti-transhumanism group shows us the reality behind Sarif Industries’ pitch:

The Purity First video is in the extreme, but once we have replaced our working parts with artificial ones it is very possible that companies will have the power to turn them off or control them.  Many transhumanists do not consider that artificial limbs will not work as well as promised in the long term and then the enhanced will forever be beholden to the company that made their augmentation.  Even artificial intelligence may be used against the user, altering his or her conscious without consent.  I envision this transhumanist utopia as man’s ultimate enslavement.  The above video depicts just this future.

I want to applaud the behind-the-scenes creators of these make-believe jaunts into the future of human enhancements.  They really do understand what is at stake: our humanity.  We can use technology to heal and fix what is broken, returning individuals to normal functioning or, we can use it to alter our nature beyond recognition.  The former allows us to master technology.  Choose the latter and technology will be our master. Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).