Slide1Can we program ourselves to be better people?

Phil and Stephen welcome James Hughes to discuss his concept of a Virtues Control Panel:

“What I imagine is a virtues control panel with sliders that determine the balance of moral impulses, cognition and behavior in different situations, governed by a morality operating system. When we are working on tasks that require focus and care we would turn up concentration, conscientiousness and prefrontal control.

We could also flag specific behaviors, words or even thoughts to be suppressed, and others to be enhanced. When our metabolic monitor indicates we have reached maximum calories for the day or reached peak inebriation, the sub-routines would tell us we can’t eat another bite and that we don’t want that next drink. Impulsively saying mean things about others or yelling at our kids could be stopped before the words leave our mouths, and impulses to violence replaced with patient tolerance – unless we were in danger.”

From: Visions for a World Transformed

About our Guest:

James Hughes is the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the Associate Provost for Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning, for the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he also taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. James is author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, and is working on a second book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. He is also a contributor to our book, Visions for a World Transformed. From 1999-2011 he produced the syndicated weekly radio program, Changesurfer Radio.

James is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of Humanity+, the Neuroethics Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Working Group on Ethics and Technology at Yale University. He serves on the State of Connecticut Regenerative Medicine Research Advisory Committee.

When not doing all that, James speaks on medical ethics, health care policy, and future studies worldwide.

WT 323-632

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