TECHNOLYMPICS

 

We need an ethical discussion about cyborgs since we are more and more connected to technology. To enhance this evolution humanity deserves a stage. In addition to the Olympics and Paralympics we should create Technolympics, giving the world a podium for a public debate on these developments.

Why

It's inevitable we are heading towards an era where there will be a symbiotic relationship between humans and technology.
There is an ethical debate that is arising when it comes to the use of technology in the human body. This conversation should obtain visibility.
We need a world stage that identifies the challenges we expect from the technologic industry.

Becoming a 'better person' thanks to technical innovations: in recent years the possibilities have shot up dramatically. How far do we want to go? The 'Technolympics' as ideal platform for the ethical debate on the transformable person.

An implant in the skull that returns hearing to a deaf person. Preventing serious epileptic seizures with an electrode in the brain. When it relates to a substantial improvement in life expectancy or quality of life, many people look favorably on the use of technology or robotics in or on the human body. But developments are racing ahead. Technology can not only make people 'better, it can also 'improve' them. And as the possibilities grow, so does the discussion between those for and against it. In his interesting book De grens van de mens (Man's boundaries) [1] Peter-Paul Verbeek examines how we can handle our ability to transform ourselves responsibly. The 'improvement' of human nature will create a new way of being human. How far do we want to take this?

Platform for debate

Developments in (medical) technology are happening at lightning speed and this means that the yardstick by which both supporters and opponents measure their opinions and arguments is continually having to be recalibrated. The ethical debate that is required here needs a worthy and positive social platform. A place where technologically innovative companies can hold a cross-border discussion with supporters and opponents about the transformability of man and his performance. My proposal: in addition to the Olympics and the Paralympics, let's organize the 'Technolympics' every two years as the ideal global platform for this exciting and important debate.

Opportunities for high tech companies

The stars of the Technolympics would be the early adaptors of performance-improving technology: paralympic athletes. People such as our own Blade Babe, Marlou van Rhijn. Top sportsmen and women who have a unique understanding of how technology can perfect the human body, and yet are still confronted with the question of whether they, with their technological aids, actually belong in the arena of athletes with a disability. As an international event every two years the Technolympics will offer high tech companies the unique opportunity to show how far they have advanced and what the possibilities are. The ethical yardstick can be gauged to current developments with great regularity, which will maintain clarity around the discussion concerning the possibilities and limitations for humankind.

To what extent do we want to use technology in order to improve people? Could the Technolympics become the platform for technological innovations and the social debate? 

Make up your mind and have your say via Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.

[1] De grens van de mens. Over ethiek, techniek en de menselijke natuur (Man's boundaries. On ethics, technology and human nature). Peter-Paul Verbeek, 2011 (Lemniscaat)

Official Friends of Technolympics

Prof. Dr. Ir Maarten Steinbuch (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Astrid Oosenbrug (Member of Dutch Parliament)

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