December 03, 2006

Embracing Enhancment

Modafinil trisHere is a paper Nick and I wrote: Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges (for the proceedings on the Forbidding Science? coference at Arizona State University's College Law Center for the Study of Law, Science & Technology, January 12 and 13, 2006)

It is an overview of cognitive enhancement methods, some ethical issues (obviously this can be extended to a book length treatment) and some discussion of how to regulate things.

Our main conclusion is that regulation might be needed to ensure the development of cognitive enhancement rather than limit it. The social benefits appear to be pretty solid and we are already doing our best to safeguard and improve cognition in a myriad other ways (be it reducing lead in drinking water, compulsory education or attempts to ensure sound decisionmaking). So society might need to consider how to change drug development and licencing to promote safe and cheap cognition enhancement drugs. Similarly setting acceptable baselines for risk in enhancement might be beneficial, rather than just assuming it all evil "non-medicine". A real cultural challenge is destigmatizing the use of enhancers: creating positive norms for responsible use (and when it is appopriate to enhance) goes a long way and will in turn help setting up the harder forms of regulation.

Posted by Anders3 at December 3, 2006 11:46 PM