Square Enix, CNN explore the ethics of human augmentation

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Has science gone too far? We’ve been hearing it as a meme for years, perhaps most famously whenever Gabe Newell holds up three fingers, but Deus Ex: Mankind Divided publisher Square Enix is interested in asking this question as it relates to human augmentation. To help get a better scientific and ethical consensus and, of course, promote the game, Square Enix has partnered with CNN’s Courageous studio for a conference entirely devoted to human augmentation.

Dubbed “Human by Design,” the conference will take place on August 3 at the Paley Center for Media in New York City, and will include three main panels. The first, “Is Augmentation a Human Right?” focuses on the ethical and moral quandaries of human augmentation only being made available to wealthy, developed countries. It will include Seattle Pacific University professor Adam Arabian, who studies the support of “underserved communities,” as well as bioethics expert Christian Brugger from the John Vianney Major Seminary.

The second panel, “Selective vs. Therapeutic Augmentation,” will focus on “need” and “want” in human augmentation, and features “cyborg artist” Neil Harbisson, who has been augmented to see otherwise invisible colors. A third panel, “The Future of the Far Far Next,” will discuss the potential for human augmentation over the next decade.

After the panels, the conference speakers will present “The Code of Ethics on Human Augmentation,” which aims to create standards for a form of technology that is still in its infancy.

“The Code is meant to engage a deeper conversation around the issues of human augmentation, while reflecting the specific views of the authors, in an effort to shape the future of the industry,” the announcement reads.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided sees a future where augmented humans are separated from society in what’s called the “mechanical apartheid.” The game launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 23.

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