Could we, yes. Should we, maybe yes, maybe no. The point is, ethics mattered and guided each decision we made.
The Journal piece lays out some changes that are coming in the future of medicine in the field of robotics, stating that robots will be used to do some of the more mundane activities in the operating room, such as suturing, after the trained surgeon has done his work.
Researchers are even working on developing artificial skin for the robots, so they have a sense of touch and can distinguish between normal tissue or tumors when making incisions. While robots are now being used to assist in the operating room, doing the entire surgery by robots is still on the horizon.
But the whole sex robot field is receiving mixed reviews from men and women. The findings of this study showed that males had a more positive attitude toward sex robots than women (is anyone surprised by that?), but women favored platonic friendly robots.
Many of these advances in biotechnology aren’t new, in the sense that these technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology have been advancing for years.
My work is predominantly focused on the ethics of advancements in biotechnology to ensure they don’t undermine the dignity of human beings. More specifically, most of my work is in the space of assisted reproductive biotechnologies, making and designing human life in the laboratory either with the egg and sperm from a couple trying to conceive, or third-party reproductive technologies that depend on egg and sperm “donors” and surrogate mothers willing to rent their womb.
But not all progress is good progress, and just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
Perhaps it’s time to dust off your copy of C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Abolition of Man.” Lewis writes:
“I am only making clear what Man’s conquest of Nature really means and especially that final stage in the conquest, which perhaps, is not far off. The final stage is come when Man by eugenics, by pre-natal conditioning, and by education and propaganda based on perfect applied psychology, has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will then be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man.”
Lewis warns, “For the power of Man to make himself as he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please.”
And then the punchline. Lewis asks, “But who, precisely, will have won?”
The goal of biotechnology must be to preserve and protect our humanness. Our human future depends on that. But will man’s final conquest be a technological abolition of man? Perhaps it will if we lose sight of the value and the beauty of our humanity. But maybe we should ask Siri?