Intrusive technologies, such as nanotechnology, raise the question of the human limits/ethics necessary to safeguard its uniqueness and complexity.
The body is the synergistically our heredity, our education, our lifestyles, from where physio-biological, emotional and cognitive mechanical be combined. It is also the center and the support of our identifications, our ideal images, this virtuous or vicious pair of self-image and social image. The gaze of the other shapes our own self as well as feel good in their body affects due representations that others have of us.
But the body is now equips other addictions. He became the huge field explorations, the experimental place of the digital economy and techno-scientific research. We are already traced by our behavior, our cosmetics or eating habits, our navigation on the Internet and other social networks. The body “prothetisation” or body upgrade via a prothese, already present when it comes to remedy sight, sound, knees or deficient hips, adds to connected objects, intrusive nanoparticles, including digital chips, trivialized by the media coverage if is the reality of their use.
Tools to “improve” the body
This would increase efficiency and performance of the product to the human body and brain included, and also to enrich the databases that reveal all our acts of consumption and behavior. The body, our body, is in the hands of manufacturers, of dreamers and “demigods“, and subject to the revolution representations of human development, whose future looks bright, as their promises are huge and our desire not to grow old or die eventually. The genetic decoding is only the tip of the tools we supposed to “improve“, knowing our genes are less than the successive adaptations to changes in our environment that sculpt our brain and mental activities, and feed operations of brain and body. These are the data from our behavior, emotions, relational multiplicities, which also invent absurd dream of a duplicated and preserved for eternity brain.
Extend an healthy life, reaches a hundred years and more, even immortality …: these fantasies have always fueled anxiety in humans in an unpredictable death. And if the hopes are consolidated as scientific progress, we must question the size and disparity of approaches.
Find the sense of humanity?
Who owns/belong our bodies? In science? Databases manipulators and industrial companies sharpened the dream of a victory over death. Our own ambivalence does not ensure the control, because the fear of degradation and other deleterious effects of age is deep, and the cult of youth may take hold of the acceptance of his age as is fierce and stigmatizing social look.
It’s time to raise ethical questions about the new paradigm of a body “increased” to determine the limits of the human, between animal and technology. Borders are porous, objects become connected humanoids. How do we define what is human from what is not and the question she will ultimately relevant?
In a lot injunctions and standards that require new connected health forms, does there not a risk of weakening the real independence of people by making them dependent, powerless and transparent? These prosthetic technologies will influence the relationship with oneself and therefore to another, and what will be the resonance? More generally, how “narrative medium” individuals can they see whether the “quantified self” virtual becomes this self-relation to self, and takes over the unpredictability and the infinite human complexity?
Danielle Rapoport is a social psychologist, an analyst in lifestyles and consumption