A Nano Necessity: Global Ethics for Human Enhancement

By Marinelle Grace Ringer.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Socio-economic and cultural diversity will be critical to the development of a global ethic for applications of nanotechnology intended for human enhancement. As indicated by Joachim Schumer, nanotechnology “may be expected to increase the economic gap between rich and poor countries much more than any previous technology.” Unless individuals living in the developing world become involved in the debate now, there is little chance that their interests will be considered after the technology has become viable. However, both the potential profit from, and the broad spectrum of innovations in nanotechnology cloud matter: after all, few, if any, would argue the immediate good of advanced materials for the development of clean and renewable sources of energy or targeted drug delivery for the treatment of cancer. Nevertheless, as has been suggested by researchers at the Hastings Center, the scope of applications in bio-nanotechnology will “promulgate, exacerbate, or provide new variations” on familiar bioethical issues—including the global health divide. None of these is apt to prove more challenging than the question of transhumanity, e.g., “whether a person who undergoes radical cognitive and psychological enhancement remains the same person, or even human.”

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Global Ethics, Nanotechnology, Human Enhancement

The International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.61-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 324.697KB).

Dr. Marinelle Grace Ringer

Technical and Grant Writer, Nanotechnology Center, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Ringer has some thirty years’ experience in the classroom, thirteen of which were devoted to Philander Smith College, an historically black private college in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she also served as department chair, division chair, and Assistant Dean of Instruction. On four occasions, she has been nominated for, and received, recognition from Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Her recent scholarly articles include a biography of Melba Patillo Beals, a member of the Little Rock Nine, for the African-American National Biography to be published by Harvard University Press, and “American English: Dissolving Democracy” that appeared in the International Journal of the Humanities. Her fiction and poetry have been published in The Ontario Review, Cimarron Review, Visions International: the World Journal of Illustrated Poetry, and the San Fernando Poetry Journal, among others.