A new exhibition called ‘Superhuman’ opened at the Wellcome collection on July 19th. The curator, Emily Sargent, says: “Superhuman highlights the ingenuity displayed in the past to overcome obstacles or conquer new frontiers, while offering a glimpse of what we might look forward in the future“. Six are the Briitsh scholars that have lent their voices to the exhibition: Bennett Foddy, University of Oxford, examines the expected increase in human lifespan, and the relationship between this and the scope of medicine. Julian Savulescu, Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, discusses the possibility of ‘moral enhancement’, meaning the opportunities of enhancement to become ‘better’people. John Harris, Director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester, also discusses the implications that moral enhancement can have on the future and survival of the human species. Says Harris: “In the shorter term, we have a bigger problem [than survival] and that is, because of climate change and because of the emergence of new, virulent diseases which continue to evolve, we have to actually act much more swiftly to try to ensure that humans or our post-human, as some people like to think, descendants are better able at coping with things like that. […] So either way we’ve got to enhance ourselves. […] There is literally no alternative”.
Anders Sandberg (Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford) discusses the idea of ‘transhumanism’, a cultural movement that advocates the advancement of human capabilities through the use of technology. He proposes that there is no reason to make concrete distinctions between biology and technology. Barbara Sahanakian, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge, examines the use of cognitive enhancing drugs, originally designed for medical conditions, to enhance brainpower in healthy people. Last but not least, Andy Miah, University of West Scotland, explores the impact of human enhancement on elite sport.
Note the free tour of the exhibition that is being offered this coming Saturday, August 4th, at 11:30 am. No booking is required.
The exhibition will be on display until October 16, 2012. Closed on Mondays.
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