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Biotechnology & Artificial Intelligence vs. Humanism Essay

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Updated: Feb 24th, 2022

Introduction

Artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnological achievements have become an integral part of present-day developments and have delved into the majority of the spheres of life. An illustrative example of this tendency could be such an obvious situation when a smart navigation system prevents sitting in a traffic jam. It has also become a common sight when an individual watches the target advertisement from reliable stores as a result of an analysis of a great amount of data, which is used by AI. In addition, it is not a problem to have a child for people with reproductive diseases. These examples supply apparent advantages of appliance modern technologies both to the everyday routine and scientific and business issues. However, society tends not to pay appropriate attention to ethical and rightful problems, which arise during the process of gathering and analyzing data (Subramanyam & Patagundi, 2018; Kavanagh, 2019). Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to outline the probable threats of applying biotechnology and AI and state how these concerns regard humanism.

Violating the Right to Life

The right to life has a considerable impact on the content of each biomedical technology. The manipulations with embryos are the basis for cloning, genetic experiments, and reproductive technologies. Consequently, the proclamation that the right to life becomes valid at the moment of birth makes the aforementioned procedures illegal. In this case, embryo annihilation can be considered as killing and incurred by criminal prosecution. In case a severe disease is revealed during the process of diagnostics of a baby, interruption of pregnancy is highly likely to be advised. This fact also addresses the discussions on abortion, and this issue is considered in different ways worldwide. This topic appears to be much-debated in modern society, and from some perspectives, may result in violating the right to life.

Violating the Right for Privacy

The contradiction between the advantages of AI and the limitation of human rights is exceptionally sharp in the field of privacy. This right is one of the fundamental ones and essential for safe and comfortable living. Unfortunately, in the digital space, including the usage of mobile appliances, a considerable amount of personal data is gathered. It is worthy of note that this process may be conducted both with the user’s awareness and without it. This information can be leveraged to create personal accounts and predict probable behavior (Klang & Murray, 2016). Individuals share the figures concerning the health, political convictions, private and family life without the assurance of its safety, as none is aware of how these aspects are used.

This issue is a hot button in the field of biotechnology too. In the condition of establishing databanks, some problems related to DNA decoding arise. In terms of modern methods of genetic testing, it is possible to reveal information about the liability to a particular disease. This information can be applied to improve the treatment and correct the patient’s behavior for the reduction of risks. On the other hand, the figures concerning the genetic liability to diseases may cause discrimination by employers during the assigning for the position, insurers during signing the contract, and banks during deciding on the extension of credit. This way, both AI and biotechnology are highly likely to threaten humanism in the context of privacy.

Violating the Right for Equality

The machine’s working process is based on the program invented by human beings. In case the system contains algorithms, which include prejudices, it repeats them inevitably. The major anxieties regard the lack of varieties and inclusion in the AI programs. Therefore, instead of contributing to the objectiveness of decisions, they may support discrimination and prejudices. For instance, the algorithms based on prejudices discriminate against women, representatives of ethnic minorities, disabled people, and the LCBT community (Kavanagh, 2019). This way, making decisions to apply such data may severely violate human rights for equality.

Algorithms Limiting the Freedom of Expression and Gathering

Another right, which appears to be threatened, addresses the freedom of expression. It is a common sight that large social networks recourse to filter mechanisms aiming to reveal the extremist content with appeals to violence. However, the precise information on particular procedures and criteria used for this purpose is not apparent. Although the incentive to prevent spreading these materials is praisable, the opacity of the moderation causes concerns and anxieties for the reason of threatening the legal right of expression. Similar negative anticipations appear due to the automatic filtration of the user’s content during downloading for the reason of possibly violating the intellectual property right (Livingston & Risse, 2019). Applying automatic technologies for spreading information may considerably infringe the rights of expression and privacy. For instance, target advertising and spam are spread in the term of the algorithm, which analyzes the content for particular individuals.

This issue also addresses face identification, which people commonly use today, as it is installed in a significant number of mobile phones. Being a powerful instrument for criminal investigation and searching for possible terrorists, it may be transformed into a means of controlling the population (Nemitz, 2018). These days, the state government is capable of the following citizenry, invading private life, limiting the freedom of gathering, transportation, and press.

Violating the Right to the Recognition of a Person before a Law

The right to recognition a person before a law is fundamental, though applying modern biotechnological achievement may occasionally contradict it. The emerging of this right is connected with the fact of birth. However, life appears long before this moment, as well as a woman, must bear a child for nine months before birth. Today, medicine is capable of separating the beginning of pregnancy and obligatory participation of a man and woman. An embryo can exist independently without a mother’s body, and this fact supplies the possibility of conducting specific manipulations, for instance, experiments, transplantation to a recipient woman, and other options. The lack of clearness of the embryo status causes the lack of clearness of its predestination. However, the fact that the participation of both female and male gametal cells is obligatory is undeniable. Such a contradiction may lead to legal conflict when an individual is capable of making decisions on the child’s future without the partner’s awareness.

Conclusion

Even though AI and biotechnology help improve the quality and life and supply humanity with a solution to multiple problems, they may threaten humanism, namely the fundamental rights. The negative consequences lead to violating the right to life, privacy, equality, expression, gathering, and recognition of a person before a law. They are highly likely to result in a significant number of contradictions, and for this reason, they are worth taking into consideration currently.

References

Kavanagh, C. (2019). New tech, new threats, and new governance challenges: An opportunity to craft smarter responses? Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Klang, M., & Murray, A. (2016). Human rights in the digital age. Routledge.

Livingston, S., & Risse, M. (2019). The future impact of artificial intelligence on humans and human rights. Ethics & International Affairs, 33(2), 141-158.

Nemitz, P. (2018). Constitutional democracy and technology in the age of artificial intelligence. Phylosophycal Transaction of the Royal Society A, 376(2133).

Subramanyam N., & Patagundi B. (2018). Automation and artificial intelligence – boon or bane: a humanistic perspective. Organizacja i Zarządzanie: Kwartalnik Naukowy, 4, 151-158.

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