At what point does someone stop being human?

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  1. GamingCowboy profile image61
    GamingCowboyposted 11 years ago

    At what point does someone stop being human?

    Just wrote a hub on Deus Ex, and it really got me thinking. At what point does someone stop being human? Technology is progressing rather quickly, and things like robotic limbs and augmented mental states seem to be close to reality. So, my question to everyone is this: does changing the human form with augmentations strip humanity from the person? What constitutes humanity as well?

  2. iviskei profile image72
    iviskeiposted 11 years ago

    I think as long as you are able to think and dream for yourself, then you are human. True, technology may be taking over, but as long as you are still you, then you are human.

    1. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image59
      Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      But what about people who are mentally ill or comatose - they are still human.

    2. GamingCowboy profile image61
      GamingCowboyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Interesting idea. I think that being mentally ill or comatose also blurs the line of humanity. After all, a person in a coma is essentially an object, incapable of love/fear/etc.

    3. iviskei profile image72
      iviskeiposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      That is a good point, but I have to agree with GamingCowboy. It's the same as with an unborn baby before the brain is formed. I believe it's different for the mentally ill however. Who is to say they don't have dreams?

  3. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image59
    Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years ago

    Interesting question. For sure, the lines are quickly becoming blurred; science fiction is becoming everyday life. Coming from a medical perspective and as someone who has dealt with life and death on a regular basis for many years, I would say that someone stops being human at the moment the brain waves go flat. That has always been my working definition. Now, with what we can and will be able to do with the brain, even that becomes an interesting discussion, because perhaps a human could stop being a human when a certain amount or percentage of their brain is manipulated or modified to the point that they no longer have human thoughts or emotions....again, interesting point to ponder.

    1. GamingCowboy profile image61
      GamingCowboyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Ah, so your definition of humanity hinges on the emotional/rational part of the human mind. What about if someone replaces their body parts with robotic parts? Could you look at them and still claim they are human?

    2. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image59
      Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I did not say that I believe a person has to have emotion or be rational to be human; I said the absence of brain waves makes a person no longer a human, and yes, robotic parts do not make a person non-human.

  4. edhan profile image37
    edhanposted 11 years ago

    Even with the most advanced technology, we still will be human and nothing can replace our thoughts.

    Yes, we may change body parts to survive but it will still be human as our feelings remain. I do believe we are striving for survival as human beings by prolonging our lives through technology. But with that, it does not replace our humanity.

    1. GamingCowboy profile image61
      GamingCowboyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good idea, I also think that humanity and human emotion go hand in hand. Something to think about though: Would a person who is placed in a robotic shell, but with a functioning human brain, would he be considered human?

    2. edhan profile image37
      edhanposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I do believe that as long as we have thoughts, it is still human. But guess it will be rather hard to have a complete replacement except the brain. Who's knows that the future can make this happen.

  5. giopski profile image60
    giopskiposted 11 years ago

    what constitutes humanity is his capability to do three basic human actions: 1. freedom; 2. knowledge; and 3. voluntariness.  The absence of these three basic constitutions would simply mean certain "acts" tantamount to sneezing, breathing, etc.  in line with your question, no since external attributes do not make the person but what makes him human is his capacity to enact the three qualities just mentioned.

    1. GamingCowboy profile image61
      GamingCowboyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      How would you define parapeligics? They lack freedom of movement, so are they non-human? What about people suffering from Alzheimer's? They suffer from lack of knowledge/voluntary retention of memory.

  6. sonnys profile image41
    sonnysposted 11 years ago

    It's only a matter of time before robots surpass us and possibly take over.
    Will technology really ever reach an endpoint where nothing can be improved? No way. So as long as we're constantly upgrading our technology, tomorrow's robot will always be more powerful than today's. May take 50 years, may take 200, but mark my words, robots like in Blade Runner will happen.
    So then what?
    I certainly don't want to be around when that happens!

  7. Jewels profile image84
    Jewelsposted 11 years ago

    This is not an easy question to answer.  If you go down the line of consciousness incarnating in human form, I wonder why one would want to incarnate into a body that is robotic or hooked into a machine for an experience of humanness.

    A possible tragedy that could strip humans of their essential link to the human condition, is if they lost the ability to feel.  Sexual intercourse is so sweet a pleasure not because we think it but because we feel it.  An embrace is to enjoy feeling, an entwining of two humans.

    In order to really grasp the concept of loss of human traits, is to separate thoughts from feelings (not emotions) but the tangible sensual feelings we have.through the skin.  Is love something we think or is it something we feel?  It is more the later, whilst we do think of the ideals of love, it is through the ability to feel that we experience it.  So there is an organic layer to our existence that may be dismissed in the mix of feelings. If we were primarily robotic, or hooked to machines, how does this effect our sense of touch?

    1. GamingCowboy profile image61
      GamingCowboyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Great concept, I agree that touch is essential to humanity, as is the rest of our senses. I wonder how people who have lost the ability to feel (through nerve damage/genetic damage), if they feel that they are less human than us?

    2. Jewels profile image84
      Jewelsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      There is also the realm of virtual reality that I would suggest lessens the current concept of being human.  Certainly makes you wonder what Real is.

  8. kinz1 profile image61
    kinz1posted 11 years ago

    When they stop loving them-self and others for who they are, Love is the key to a lot our problems although love cannot solve all but can smooth some of the bump in the problems.

  9. profile image51
    Read4Lifeposted 9 years ago

    In a book I read, a question is asked similar to this one. Simply put is asks if someone had one prosthetic limb would it still be considered human?
    What about after four prosthetic limbs, then two robotic eyes, then a synthetic heart, finally a synthetic brain? (Book Title: UNREMEMBERED By: Jessica Brody Page:143)
    At what point did this human become artificial?
    In my opinion, the answer depends on if you are a very factual person. The heart theoretically is an organ that simply pumps blood, which is significant, just not emotionally. Yet, there are instances of unexplained depression after heart surgeries/ transplants that lead to emotional trauma. Is there something about the heart that we don't understand enough to answer this question?
    The Brain, of course controls your emotions. Not only that but also how you think, your actions, and your personality. Isn't your personality what makes you yourself? One definition of a Human is: a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance. Isn't the brain what controls all these instances.
    There is no answer to this question, only other questions.


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