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Do We Need A 'Magna Cortica' For Brain Rights?

作者: Colin Lecher
   
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If you could permanently change your brain to work better, would you? Or, maybe more importantly, would you have the right to?

Over at The Atlantic, there's an excellent rundown of think-tank the Institute for the Future's forecasts for the next 10 years, but one of the most fascinating is the idea of a "Magna Cortica": a document that would legally protect the right to cognitive enhancement. Mood pills, brain stimulation, genetic modification -- what should we be allowed to do to ourselves?

Institute for the Future distinguished fellow Jamais Cascio drew up this rough list:

1. The right to self-knowledge

2. The right to self-modification

3. The right to refuse modification

4. The right to modify/refuse to modify your children

5. The right to know who has been modified

You'll notice immediately: it's not question of if this should be permitted, but to what extent. As Cascio makes the point to The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal: "Are we going to treat this like doping in sports, and create a criminal culture around it? Do we treat it as another version of a cell phone?"

As simple as those five items are, the implications of each are radical -- and controversial. Each of these could be the starting point of a metaphysical sci-fi novel: What unforeseen consequences will come from modifying ourselves? Do we have a right to modify our children, who, under the law, can't really consent to such procedures? If we were to draw up a modification database, what would we do with that information?

To be sure, it doesn't seem like Cascio is suggesting these are hard and fast rules. They're a starting point point for a productive conversation; Cascio calls them the Magna Cortica version 0.1. But if straightforward ideas like this still seem fraught and unwieldy, we have a long way to go before we come to any conclusions.

[The Atlantic]

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课本信息
作者: Colin Lecher
发布者: yibei
 
创建时间: 2014-05-13
更新时间: 2014-05-13
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书集: Popular Science
分类: 英文RSS精选