Unconventional settings and uses of human enhancement technologies: a non-systematic review of public and experts' views on self-enhancement and DIY biology/biohacking risks

Rui Gaspar*, Paul Rohde, Jean Christophe Giger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human enhancement aims at improving individual human performance through science-based or technology-based interventions in the human body. For various decades, associated research and applications/interventions were performed in conventional settings (e.g., research institutes) through conventional regulated and controlled procedures (e.g., clinical trials). In the last decade there has been an emergence of science activities grounded on emerging technologies used in unconventional settings (e.g., households; community labs), often through unconventional unregulated and uncontrolled procedures (e.g., self-administration of substances). The Do-It-Yourself Biology or Biohacking movement is an example of communities supportive of such activities, which use emerging technologies such as the CRISPR technique. Among others, these can have other or self-enhancement goals. Because such activities are anticipated to increase in the future, and due to the methods novelty, lack of regulation, quality, and safety control, there is uncertainty regarding personal and social consequences. Thus, these can be considered to present an emerging risk to human health and the environment. A first step in risk regulation is considering ethical aspects of emerging technologies use, which has been implemented. A second step to sustain subsequent evidence-based risk management and risk communication to citizen scientists, is necessary. It should involve risk assessment by experts and an understanding of public views on human enhancement technologies. Due to the scarce literature, gathering information to support this step was the goal of a non-systematic literature review. This focused on internal enhancements through substances intake and human body manipulations, specifically DIY biology/biohacking activities with this goal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Biohacking
  • DIY biology
  • Emerging risks
  • Emerging technologies
  • Human enhancement
  • Transhumanism

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