Remote controlled “living” organism ?
by TheCitizen on September 14, 2015 - 5:21pm
June 22 2004, Matt Nagle a former football athlete was the first human being to use a direct neural interface (DNI) or brain-computer interface (BCI) to promote its autonomy after his paralysis. It is quite normal to be amazed by a technology that allows a disabled person to develop as others and be more autonomous. Let’s face it, creating a device that directly communicates with your neurons could raise some serious ethical questions regarding is use. According to Neurotech business reports, neurotechnology “is concerned with electronic and engineering methods of understanding and controlling nervous system function”. In the 60s the American state secretary had already fund experiences aimed at controlling animal brain and expect an analogue use of this technique on humans. The use of this technology confronts us to a new kind of moral dilemma and forces us to ask the question: is it morally correct to use neurotechnology to remote control a living organism? In order to find the best approach to resolve this dilemma, it would be relevant to establish some basic definition and concepts related to the ethical theory, formulate a solution in order to solve this issue and apply a branch of theology ethics
Ethics and morality what is the difference? Ethics is the philosophical study of what makes a good or a bad moral action while morality is usually reference to social values and norms established by a separate community to guide their behavior.
What exactly is utilitarianism? The doctrine of utilitarianism comes from a branch of theology, a class of ethical theories, which mainly focuses on happiness and the consequences to the act committed. The founder of modern utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham an English philosopher and jurist, invoked the famous axiom of utilitarianism: “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of the right and wrong”. I applied this ethical framework because it respects the scientific method and takes into consideration the other due to the impartiality and the flexibility it offers. Impartiality because it does not need pre-established belief of any religion and does not take into consideration the age, sex, social class, country, studies species. And yes flexibility because the practice of this type of ethics can be directly connected to current dilemmas we face in our daily lives without the use of inapplicable allegory that can often have multiple interpretations.
To return to our ethical dilemma regarding if is it morally correct to use nanotechnology to remotely control a living organism? Wisdom could be the keys to solve that dilemma and this is why I think as long this technological practice is applied with wisdom it is morally acceptable to apply nerutotechnology on living organisms.
Why wisdom? According to Wikipedia wisdom can be defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise”. “Experience[s]” and “knowledge” could be a complementary strengths that enriches the utilitarian view of an individual who faces a difficult moral dilemma, because these complementary strengths will help him have a better understanding of results related to his actions. Therefore this individual will have a "good judgment" that will create “the greatest happiness [for] the greatest number”.
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- "IdeasLabs 2012 - Unlocking Brain Data - John Donoghue." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
- Bentham, J. (1996 ) Introduction to the principles of moral and legislation, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 282n.
I realize that this system is not perfect due to the fact that what makes the happiness of the largest group is not necessarily what is always ethically acceptable. – The Citizen