You will be graded as follows:
20% Provide an explanation of the technology under discussion and a clear account of the ethical, legal and/or political issue it raises
40% Explain the different possible positions one might take on the issue, the arguments in favour of each position, and, where you think it is appropriate, responses to these arguments. Try to refer to the assigned reading on the topic.
20% Provide an analysis of the issue that presents your own opinion
20% of the grade will be determined by the style and organization of your essay.
Technological unemployment and universal basic income
Geoengineering the planet
Engineering humans to fight climate change
On-line speech and censorship
Gender and technology
The meaning of life in a world without work
Climate change, also referred to as global warming, is one of the greatest environmental concerns of the 21st century. The challenge arises from the greenhouse effect, a situation whereby the atmosphere retains some of the heat from the sun which permits the earth to maintain life. Without this, the average temperature of the planet could be too low to support life. Climate change can be tackled through human engineering. According to McArthur (2018), human-induced climate change is one of the greatest concerns faced by humans today. Despite this, existing solutions such as market and behavioral solutions seem inadequate in addressing the noted effects of climate change. Additionally, geo-engineering is considered as a factor which could have resulted to drastic outcomes for the planet and the people. This study proposes that human engineering can be an important strategy for addressing the climate change concern. The technology of human engineering involves making modifications to humans to ensure that they adapt to the climate change or mitigate it. Through this study, it is argued that human engineering has a potentially limited risk in comparison to geo-engineering thus providing insight into the ethical view of the activity. Therefore, it could make market and behavioral solution more likely to derive positive results. Although humans are directly involved in the increased climate change rate noted today, engineering them on how to avoid activities which promote global warming can address the global warming concern.
Engineering Humans to Fight Climate Change
Climate change stemming from human activities is one of the biggest concerns faced in the world today. A large number of people could die from hunger, diseases and water shortages and an increase in cases of coastal flooding majorly as a result of the noted form of change. According to Hasan, Smith, and Finnegan (2017), the rate point that climate change has reached today may be considered as one of no return. Reducing the general levels of greenhouse gas emissions noted in the atmosphere today could reduce the impact of global warming or even stabilize the concern. To curb the high rates of greenhouse gas emissions, several solutions have been advocated which suggest low-tech behavioral solutions such as encouraging people to recycle more and drive less. Market solutions have also been suggested such as incentivizing manufacturers and industries to adopt cleaner heat sources to power their activities. Geo-engineering has also been considered as an effective solution which involves large-scale way of manipulating the environment including activities such as reforestation (Hasan, Smith, & Finnegan, 2017).
Each of the solutions has benefits and disadvantages. For example, the advocated behavioral solutions are considered as ones that people could carry out easily. Despite this, a large percentage of people lack the motivation to transform their behaviors to one which favors the environment. More so, it is also true that behavioral changes alone are not enough to address the climate change concern. Market solutions can also be effective in addressing the climate change concern. However, the process is costly since it requires the establishment of workable international agreements which are rather difficult to come by. As a result of the potential challenges of the solutions to climate change, policy makers and scientists suggests that engineering should be taken seriously since it has the potential to mitigate the concern (Hasan, Smith & Finnegan, 2017). Despite this, geo-engineering is still a problem since the scientific knowledge required to manipulate it is limited. Moreover, the process is also associated with grave risks to humans. For instance, the use of sulfate aerosols in controlling the climate could deplete the ozone layer hence worsening the concern. Human engineering is regarded as an effective technique to consider besides these solutions. However, for effectiveness, it should also be carried out alongside other solutions such as geo-engineering.
Pharmacological Meat Intolerance
Including a mild intolerance to red meat could curb the global warming concern. Although intolerance to meat is regarded as uncommon, it is possible to stimulate the immune system of humans to act against the common bovine proteins (Aparicio, 2005). In this case, the system will be programmed to react when people eat “eco-unfriendly” foods by generating unpleasant experiences. Even though the effects are not likely to be persistent for a long time, the learning effect will guide people to change their behavior for a long-time. Aparicio (2005) states that meat intolerance can be triggered naturally by making consumers allergic to red meat. Notably, the a bite from a Lone Star tick can trigger this event in that they carry alpha gal which is transferred to the blood stream. As a result, the body produces antibodies which prompts a mild or severe allergic reaction after one eats red meat in future.
Reducing the Size of Humans
Human ecological footprints and size are directly correlated. People need a particular amount of food and nutrients to maintain desirable body mass. Therefore, the larger one is, the more food he/she consumes and the more energy is required by the person to accomplish their daily activities. Therefore, reducing one’s size suggests a reduction in the ecological footprint level. Reducing the average height of an individual in the US BY 5.9 inches suggests a mass reduction of approximately 25% for women and 23% for men. This suggests a corresponding reduction in metabolic rate by 18% and 15% for the women and men respectively. It is a fact that genetics has an important part role to play in determining height in humans. Preimplantation genetic disorders (PGD) have been utilized in fertility clinics to screen for genetic inherited diseases. Additionally, PGD can also be utilized in selecting shorter children. The process can be achieved by altering the genetic material available in the embryo to obtain the required height. Also, hormone treatment can also be considered as a form of achieving the desirable height. Through hormone manipulation, the somatotropin levels can be manipulated to trigger the epiphyseal plate to be closed earlier than expected. Healey (2014) notes that hormone manipulation therapy is already being utilized to reduce growth in children considered excessively tall. The fact that a correlation exists between birth size and adult height depicts that reducing the size of a child could also reduce the impact of human activity on climate change.
Despite this, human activities maximize the rate of greenhouse effect which prompts the temperature of the earth to rise even further. Other than the rise in temperatures, global warming has also resulted to some drastic impacts such as the shrinking of glaciers, the increase in the sea levels and the breaking of the ice on lakes and seas. The concept of engineering humans to address the climate change issue is one of the effective concerns which can reduce global warming by transforming how human activities prompt climate change. Reducing human size and making them intolerance to eco-unfriendly foods are some examples of human engineering technologies which can address this downside.
Aparicio, F. (2005). Allergy to mammal’s meat in adult life: Immunologic and follow-up study, Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 15(3)
Hasan, H., Smith, S., & Finnegan, P. (2017). An activity theoretic analysis of the mediating role of information systems in tackling climate change adaptation. Information Systems Journal, 27(3), 271–308.
Healey, J. (2014). The Climate Change Crisis. Thirroul, N.S.W.: Spinney Press.
McArthur, N. (2018). Philosophy 2170: Ethics and Technology.