Bioengineering and the Future of Being Human 生物工程與人的未來
This is a non-profit general education site, aimed to provide visitors with a structured consortium of internet materials to facilitate informed reflections on some intriguing implications of bioengineering advances to the future of humanity.
Who are we?
Humans both amazing yet vulnerable
How are we doing?
Proud of our competence yet confused about life
Who will we be?
Posthumans? Our quest of transcendence
INTRODUCTION: Human is both amazing and vulnerable. Amazing – the design of human body are the envies of engineering. Vulnerable – the best and the strongest are still mortal. We are susceptible to trauma, diseases, ageing and finally death. Advances in life science and engineering are fast bringing to us innovative breakthroughs and new possibilities in healing and rejuvenation, functional recoveries and health enablement. Powered intelligent prostheses for subjects with amputation, tissue engineered skin for severely burnt subjects, stem cells therapies for impaired brain tissues are examples that our body can be fixed by replacing defective components with artificial parts and other augmentations. Genomic engineering offers exciting approaches to edit genes, not only for therapy but also for potential enhancements, not only to manipulate our environment but also ourselves for active evolution. Meanwhile, research laboratories are developing intelligent robots that can see, hear, talk, walk, and think like human – following a centuries-long human quest for “living” machines. The mechanistic implications of our biomedical and engineering advances seem apparent – Is human a robot? Can artificial intelligence and robots one day become or even exceed human? Entertainment media have imaginatively featured many human-robotic hybrids, both as heroes and villains, often with abilities way beyond human. What does it mean to be human? What could we tell about ourselves from our dreams, quests, and pursuits? Do we really understand what we are seeking?
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The host has helped design 2 General Education courses, both entitled ‘Bionic Human and the Future of Being Human’ and with the above synopsis, one at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and one at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The courses, with their different emphases, are open to all undergraduate students in the 2 universities respectively.
The site icon is adapted from the book cover of “Transhumanism and Transcendence – Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement, ed by Ronald Cole-Turner. Georgetown University Press, 2011”