Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Moral Enhancement by Machine and Don't You Love This - Science

A recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University and the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) finds that "moral enhancement technologies" -- which are discussed as ways of improving human behavior -- are neither feasible nor wise, based on an assessment of existing research into these technologies.

The idea behind moral enhancement technologies is to use biomedical techniques to make people more moral. For example, using drugs or surgical techniques to treat criminals who have exhibited moral defects.

"There are existing ways that people have explored to manipulate morality, but the question we address in this paper is whether manipulating morality actually improves it," says Veljko Dubljevic, lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of philosophy at NC State who studies the ethics of neuroscience and technology.

Science Daily:  'Moral enhancement' technologies are neither feasible nor wise

Any of you out there who remember more of "A Clockwork Orange" than the rape scene are aware of the absurdity of this type of moral enhancement but still the thinking persists and we're glad researchers address it.

Dubljevic and co-author Eric Racine of the IRCM reiewed the existing research on moral enhancement technologies that have been used in humans to assess the effects of these technologies and how they may apply in real-world circumstances.

Specifically, the researchers looked at four types of pharmaceutical interventions and three neurostimulation techniques:

- SD

The Rockhouse strongly advises the interested student to read the rest of the article since it wouldn't be fair use to simply copy the whole damn thing.

Here's their conclusion but see above about the advisory for the interested student.

"What we found is that, yes, many of these techniques do have some effects," Dubljevic says. "But these techniques are all blunt instruments, rather than finely tuned technologies that could be helpful. So, moral enhancement is really a bad idea.

"In short, moral enhancement is not feasible -- and even if it were, history shows us that using science to in an attempt to manipulate morality is not wise," Dubljevic says.

The researchers found different problems for each of the pharmaceutical approaches.

- SD

As previously, those problems are itemized in the article but you will need to continue with it for the full revelation.  The Rockhouse gives the schematic whereas the source article gives you the detail.

"Even if we could find a way to make these technologies work consistently, there are significant questions about whether being more utilitarian in one's decision-making actually makes one more moral," Dubljevic says.

Lastly, the researchers found no evidence that deep brain stimulation had any effect whatsoever on moral behavior.

"Our goal here is to share a cautionary note with those who are discussing different techniques for moral enhancement," Dubljevic says. "I am in favor of research that is done responsibly, but against dangerous social experiments."

- SD

You have already seen that story in "A Clockwork Orange" but researchers today review the science behind that type of thinking which, as you may recall, backfired spectacularly and flipped out hero right up a gum tree.

The excitement by the state in such technology is this represents the Pacification in a Pill which the state yearns to find.  When we're presented with verbal soma from every side, the drugs to enforce it aren't far behind but the article shows the peril of proceeding.

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