Is the human body a suitable place for a microchip? Such discussion is no longer hypothetical — in fact in reality it has not been so for some years. Restorative devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants have become well established, yet these sophisticated devices form notably intimate links between technology and the body. More recent developments in engineering technologies have meant that the integration of silicon with biology is now reaching new levels — with devices which interact directly with the brain. As medical technologies continue to advance, their potential benefits for human enhancement will become increasingly attractive, and so we need to seriously consider where this may take us. In this paper, an attempt is made to demonstrate that, in the medical context, the foundations of more advanced implantable enhancement technologies are already notably progressed, and that they are becoming more science fact than is widely considered. A number of wider moral, ethical and legal issues stem from enhancement applications and it is difficult to foresee the social consequences, the fundamental changes on our very conception of self and the impact on our identity of adoption long term. As a result, it is necessary to acknowledge the possibilities and is timely to have debate to address the wider implications these possibilities may bring.


Deep Brain Stimulation Multiple System Atrophy Cochlear Implant Breast Implant Human Enhancement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark N. Gasson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CyberneticsUniversity of ReadingReading, BerkshireUK

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