Image from the Oxford Martin School website.

Quote from a Royal Society workshop report:

The term ‘human enhancement’ encompasses a range of approaches that may be used to improve aspects of human function (e.g. memory, hearing, mobility). This may either be for the purpose of restoring an impaired function to previous or average levels, or to raise function to a level considered to be ‘beyond the norm’ for humans.

This is often achieved through technological means, with examples including the following:

  • The use of cognitive enhancing drugs to improve memory and concentration.
  • The use of hearing aids and retinal implants to improve sensory perception.
  • The use of bionic limbs to restore mobility.

These examples demonstrate that new enhancement techniques arise from a range of disciplines including biotechnology, engineering, neuroscience and computing. The social, political, ethical, economic and regulatory issues raised by their use further highlight the interdisciplinary nature of this topic.