Cybernetic Enhancement

Inevitably, the cybernetic enhancement of human performance is sneaking up on society. We already are "enhanced." We wear contact lens to see better, wear hearing aids to hear better, replace hips to improve mobility. We are already at the point of embedding devices in the heart, brain, and body to regulate behavior and promote health. From braces that straighten teeth to plastic surgery that extends youthful appearance, humans are already on the path towards human performance enhancement. Yet, the next generation of human performance enhancement will seem radical to us today .

Well beyond anticipating the sightless who will see, the lame who will walk, and the infertile couples who will be able to conceive children, we will be faced with radical choices. Who will have access to intelligence-enhancing treatments? Will we desire a genetic modification of our species? The future may hold different definitions of human enhancement that affect culture, intelligence, memory, physical performance, even longevity. Different cultures will define human performance based on their social and political values. It is for our nation to define these values and chart the future of human performance.

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