“In the future, we will be competing against medically-enhanced workers who can work longer and harder than us. Artificial intelligence will make it easier to monitor our every move in the office. This may sound like science fiction, but it’s a likely reality, according to a new report by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers…Seventy percent of the workers surveyed said that they would undergo treatments to improve their body and mind if it would improve their chances of employment. This could be because we believe it’s up to us to improve our careers — even if that means pill-popping performance-enhancing drugs. Of those surveyed, 74% said it was their individual responsibility “to update their skills rather than relying on any employer.” … Companies in the U.S. and Europe are already offering microchip implants to workers, so they can enter company buildings and get their chips from the vending machine with the wave of a hand.”
“…To what extent are enhancements desirable on a personal and societal levels? … If a device can enhance decision-making, how will the user know that’s it’s truly their decision, in their best interest, rather than being manipulated by the device designers?
Trying to anticipate such concerns, the World Economic Forum created last year a Council on the Future of Human Enhancement. A diverse group of 20+ research and industry leaders, our objective is to provide pioneers and all innovation stakeholders with a roadmap to harness the opportunity in a positive direction, avoiding what we could call a “Frankenstein effect”.
From our work so far, we believe that Human Enhancement technology innovations should meet each and every of these 3 characteristics:
1. Increase functional abilities needed to improve quality of life across the life span (otherwise it’d be an exercise of vanity or pointless tinkering)
2. Ensure durable and beneficial effects (not just momentary ones, and certainly not long-term counterproductive)
3. Transfer to wider societal benefits, helping make communities more inclusive, cohesive, and resilient (helping bridge, not expand, a Cognitive Divide)
Debate in Context
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- 10 neurotechnologies about to transform brain enhancement and brain health
- 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Brain Enhancement in the Digital Age (December 5–7th, 2017)
- Infographic on the Digital Brain Health Market 2012–2020