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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Neuroenhancers: the Modern Prometheus?

FFO had an article related to transhumanism recently. According to Wikipedia transhumanism is:

...an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.

This is certainly the stuff of many SF stories. Now the New Yorker has an article, the Brain Gain, about folks who are using neuroenhancing drugs, not for medical treatment (such as ADD), but as cognitive enhancers:

...in recent years Adderall and Ritalin, another stimulant, have been adopted as cognitive enhancers: drugs that high-functioning, overcommitted people take to become higher-functioning and more overcommitted. (Such use is “off label,” meaning that it does not have the approval of either the drug’s manufacturer or the Food and Drug Administration.)

And the caption to a Newyorker cartoon:

Every era has its defining drug. Neuroenhancers are perfectly suited for our efficiency-obsessed, BlackBerry-equipped office culture.

If you're interested in this topic, the article has many anecdotes.

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