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November 11, 2003
Culture Will Drive Neurotechnology
As I mentioned in my letter to President Bush, neurotechnology will more profoundly impact humanity in a much nearer time frame than genetic engineering for several reasons. One important reason is culture.
To get a sense of the resistance genetic engineering faces, just look at Germany and Frances 1997 decision to categorically ban human genetic engineering, labeling it an attack on human dignity and a violation of our right to an unaltered gene pool. And these countries are not alone. The European Unions current ban on genetically modified food highlights the deep opposition to the permanent nature of genetic engineering. Neurotechnology does not face similar roadblocks.
First generation neurotechnologies in the form of pharmaceuticals for depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are already widely accepted. In fact, France, a beacon of western cultural concern and major opponent to any form of genetic engineering, has one of the highest number of pharmaceutical prescriptions per person in the world.
Clearly, in the minds of the masses, there is an important difference between technologies that permanently alter humans and tools whose influence is only temporary.
| Category: Neuroesthetics
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