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Human performance enhancement

(including drugs, brain and body implants, bionic devices and biogerontology)

The convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and cognitive sciences have the potential to produce a wide range of therapeutic and augmentational treatments for the human body.

Drugs

Performance enhancers could appear in the UK around 2011. (Foresight Drugs Future). Used to increase attention, memory or wakefulness, help people sleep better, forget and be less impulsive. Give an unfair competitive edge at work/interview, side effects? Some illegal use today e.g. Ritalin (used to treat attention deficit disorder) used by some students to improve exam results and businessmen to perform better in the boardroom. Evidence that drugs companies are researching into these drugs.

Brain / body implants

e.g. Pacemaker-like device wired into the brain shown to lift depression in the US and a paralysed man in the US has a chip implanted in this brain to allow him to control everyday objects by thought alone, via a computer.

Bionic devices

e.g. Robot suit developed in Japan, to help older people walk and lift things, available now. Robotic exoskeleton developed to enhance human strength and endurance in US. Bionic knee developed, has artificial intelligence, already available. Electronic Visual Prosthesis being developed to restore sight.

Biogerontology

Extensive research on ageing going on in the scientific field. For example, a gene discovered that can keep mice alive for 30% longer than usual. Scientists reverse loss of memory in mice. Anti-ageing drugs being developed.

Implications:

Updated 2013-03-25