The expedition of knowledge is led by doubts that spark curiosity in the minds of the seekers of knowledge. This expedition, either successful or unsuccessful, will result in the creation of more doubts. As Stuart Firestein quotes George Bernard Shaw, saying science is always wrong, it never solves a problem without creating 10 more. It is important to keep in mind that some of the scientific discoveries and developments could potentially expose some aspects of the world that arise unknowns that can undermine the concept of humanity.
In the course of Biology, when studying genetics, I came across a very strange article about how geneticists are now able to modify human genes. Furthermore, in the article, I saw a picture that advertised the making of designer babies, which was made possible by gene editing technologies. The article also contained some information about ethical implications of gene editing and other technologies that have developed to a point, which forces us into realizing the sheer abyss of future.The real tragedy and radicalness of how with knowledge doubt increases can be seen in the case of biogenetics. To understand the extent of this issue, the following question was asked; To what extent do unknowns, lead to degradation of nature and humanist values? This essay will explore technological advancements in the fields such as Biogenetics and Artificial Intelligence. These fields provide prime examples of how more knowledge can lead to many doubts.
In this essay, unknowns would be the doubts that are raised by the increased knowledge. These doubts are not objective doubts, but very much subjective. on account of that, it is useful to explore these issues, through a psychoanalytic lens.
The advancements made in the field of genetics, especially the phenomenon of editing genes has freed humans from being naturally limited. Humanity however, pays a price, which is the increasing uncertainty of the future of Homo sapiens as species. Firstly, editing genes will results in a certain obscurity between the “made and the spontaneous”. For example, with gene editing, how can a child, differentiate the spontaneous, for instance aggression or calmness, tendency as a product of preplanned artificial gene editing or as a part of his natural identity. The second issue with gene editing, that leads to ambiguity, is that gene editing results in an inequality between the spontaneous humans and the others, whom the nature of have been changed by means of genetic modification. This has a very radical consequence, as the gene editors would become god like figures.
In some instances, However, knowledge, could cause a decrease in uncertainty and unambiguity that, makes knowing the facts undermine nature and the values that humans hold. One such example is the ability to identify the gene that codes for the emergence of Huntington’s chorea. With this technological advancement, scientists can predict the possibility and even the time of getting Huntington’s chorea. A healthy lifestyle, and exercising, and even medical treatment does not work. Many of the people and the scientists involved, did not want to know when they would get the disease. This is because, with this extent of scientific development, the participants face the truth of life, which would be meaningless. The Believers of the Abrahamic religions might also argue, otherwise; According to Catholics, the physical body is not the same as the spiritual body. Thus interventions in the genes, would only manifest itself in the physical entity. If the immaterial and the material bodies are separate, the fear of scientific development would not be necessary.
Developments in the fields of artificial intelligence has also led to development of many serious unknowns posed to the society today. Elon Musk and his coworkers have worked on a project called the Neuralink. Neuralink would enable humans to control computers and machines, with chips that are implanted in their brains. This is a brilliant idea at first, but this could potentially be a threat to the world. The first problem with such a technology is the unknown of who will control this medium. In this case computers will know more about us than we know ourselves. Thus if this technology fell into the wrong hands, it could result in a totalitarian catastrophe. Computers will be more aware of humans than humans themselves. The second issue is how humans perceive their interlinked brains. Though the ultimate unknown would be – do human beings even realize they are being controlled? The problem with control can arise from the fact that some groups with political intentions, could use this technology to politicians an opportunity to turn artificial intelligence into favor and enslave us. Such a policy pressures individuals to act in a certain way. The issue would become more problematic when the controlled individuals would not have the knowledge of being controlled.
As Habermas states, even if these scientific developments were not to be controlled , humans as a society should not acknowledge these developments, to keep our dignity and natural independence.