Friday, May 13, 2011

Expanding Human Boundaries: Cognitive Enhancement, AI and Mind Machine Mergers

Special Issue of
Journal of Evolution and Technology
A Journal for the scholarly exploration of the evolution of the human


"Expanding Human Boundaries: Cognitive Enhancement, AI and Mind Machine

Expected publication: November 2011

Submissions are invited for a special issue of the journal on the topic of
ethical, legal, and social implications of cognitive enhancement, mind
machine mergers (cyborgization), uploading and artificial intelligence.

Guest editors:

* Linda MacDonald Glenn, JD, LLM, Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany
Medical Center, New York, USA
* Russell Blackford, PhD LLB, University of Newcastle, Australia

Contact us with any questions at or

Important dates

Submission deadline: June 1, 2011

Notification of acceptance/rejection: July 15, 2011

Final revision deadline: September 1, 2011

Focus of the Special Issue

Can and should use we technology to overcome the limitations of the human
brain and body? For example, Humanity Plus advocates often promote the use
of technology to radically increase our lifespan, intelligence, happiness,
and virtue. Currently, cognitive enhancement is progressing along three

One vector is cognitive enhancement using pharmaceuticals, genetic therapies
and tissue engineering. Direct modification of the organic brain will allow
human beings to increase our intelligence, expand our memory, sharpen our
capacity for concentration, and eliminate cognitive and psychological

A second vector is through 'cyborgization' - the incorporation of devices,
nanorobots and computers into the body. This trajectory may permit the
augmentation of the senses with artificial hearing and sight superior to
organic ears and eyes, the direct augmentation of cognition with brain
prostheses, and connecting the brain wirelessly to the Internet. These
technologies will likely converge with the growth of virtual worlds and
augmented reality, blurring divisions between the "virtual" and the "real."

The third vector of human enhancement is through the creation of
'mind-children,' computers and robots with, at least, human-level cognition,
emotions and abilities. These machine minds may be created either through
efforts to create artificial life and general intelligence, and/or by
uploading human minds into machines. Once created these machine minds may
be far more capable and powerful than organic humans.

This special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology will explore
the ethical, legal, and social implications of these processes, cognitive
enhancement, cyborgization and the creation of mind children. How far can
these processes go, and how far should they go?

Possible Topics:

* What are ethical, legal, and social questions posed by efforts to enhance
intellectual, aesthetic and moral abilities with drugs, gene therapies,
brain machines and computers?
* What ethical, legal, and social questions are posed by cyborgization,
uploading and the blurring of the real and virtual?
* How plausible are cognitive enhancement, human-machine integration,
immersive virtual reality and the brain prostheses?
*How do popular media depict efforts to enhance cognitive abilities? (e.g.,
Dollhouse, The 4400, Heroes, Being Human, etc.) Should these shows be
utilized in classrooms to spur discussion about the ethical, legal, social
* How should we regulate cognitive enhancement, cyborgization and uploading?
* Is uploading the mind to a computer platform possible?
* What ethical guidelines should govern uploading and the intentional
creation of machine minds?
* What implications do these technologies pose for personal identity and
legal personhood? At what point, if any, do machines minds become
rights-bearing persons?
* How likely is it that our descendents will be embodied in machines that
stand to us in intelligence as we do our hominid ancestors?

We anticipate that this issue will contain around 10 papers and, as a
working guide, the papers should be between 4000 and 12,000 words in length.

Instructions on format and style are here:

Submission procedure

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically and in the Microsoft Word (not
LaTex) format to and

Review process

Each submission will ideally receive two reviews. Completed review forms
will be forwarded to the corresponding authors. Please suggest up to three
external reviewers to facilitate the review process.

The journal affords an international forum for the discussion and debate of
important and controversial issues concerning significant developments
within its areas of editorial focus. It features special issues devoted to
specific topics, critical responses to previously published pieces, and
review essays discussing current problem situations.

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