Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Media Studies

Supervisor

Dr. Tim Blackmore

Abstract

Transhumanists contend that enhancing the human brain—a subfield of human enhancement called cognitive enhancement—is both a crucial and desirable pursuit toward cultivating a better world. The discussion thus far has almost entirely focused on cognitive enhancement through genetic engineering and pharmaceuticals, both of which fall within the realm of medicine and are thus subject to restrictive policies for both ethical development and distribution. This thesis argues that cognitive enhancement through brain-computer interfacing (BCI), despite being considered like any other form of cognitive enhancement, is developing outside of medical ethics, and is on track to avoid myriad legal and ethical regulations that other cognitive enhancements will ultimately face. Transhumanists and their opponents ignore the unique ethical dilemmas BCIs present, and are too enthralled in conceptual theories of the future to take notice of the ways BCIs are developing today, and fail to engage with any practical ethical deliberation.


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