Modern doctors should focus less on curing the sick and more on expanding human potential for longer lifespans, says an Oxford University bioethicist. Professor Julian Savulescu told a meeting in the Australian capital, Canberra, that doctors are missing the enormous opportunities of using advances in medical science to “make happier, better people”.
“If we cured all disease – cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. – we would only prolong life on average by 12 years,” he said. “So we have pretty much reached the ceiling of what we can do by treating and preventing disease… The next frontier is enhancing life through medical intervention to make people brighter, stronger and healthier.”
Dr Savulescu argues that products like caffeine and nicotine are already types of medical enhancement. “We’re reaching a new stage of human development where humans will be able to not just mate and alter their genes by breeding, but also by direct intervention.” The Australian-born bioethicist said that “we need a more rational approach to making better humans. This is an opportunity for Australia.”
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