Recent developments in bio-, nano- and informationtechnology make it possible to radically change human beings. Neuro-implants, nanoparticles and genetic procedures raise the question where the limits of humanity can be found. Is this fusion of humans and technology crossing a border with respect to what we call ‘human’, or have humans always been interwoven with technology? And how can we deal with these new possibilities in an ethically responsible way? The Vidi-project investigates which approaches of humanity and ethics are suitable for guiding these recent technological developments.
The Vidi-grants from NWO are targeted at researchers who have completed their doctorates and already spent some years conducting post-doctoral research, thereby demonstrating the ability to generate new ideas and bring them independently to fruition. They are given the opportunity to develop their own innovative lines of research and themselves to appoint one or more researchers to assist them in the task.
The Vidi-project on ‘Technology and the limits of humanity’ is strongly related to a previous Veni-project, that NWO awarded to Peter-Paul Verbeek in 2003. This project is also about the relations between humans and technology and the difficulty of drawing a border between the both of them. The Veni-project, that will be finished in 2008, is focusing on the value-ladenness of technology. Technological devices, from safety belts to ultra sound scans, influence human actions and decisions. Not only people, but also artefacts thus seem to answer the ethical question of how to act. Can things have morality? And what does that mean for ethics?