In election-obsessed India, there is hardly any time to discuss the advances of modern science
- In India, due to the election cycle, and since political events oscillate between their significance for an electoral democracy or their implications for an electoral autocracy, we spend little time discussing the advances of modern science and their repercussions for public life.
For india to ponder over
- Smart glasses: These allow the wearer to video record or take photos of events and conversations without the permission or knowledge of those in the wearer’s vicinity.
- Each video recording can last 30 seconds. It is an elegant device that combines both high technology and high fashion.
- Reviewers of the glasses were unsure whether to regard the glasses as creepy or as cool.
Implications for state interference in our privacy
- In India, such advances of science and technology get adopted without even a boo.
- They soon get normalized without their ethical implications even being debated. This is because the election cycle, a low hanging fruit, dominates our attention.
Direction of Medical science
- Xenotransplantation-successful experiment, in September 2021, at the NYU Langone hospital in New York, one of the most advanced research hospitals in the field of medical sciences.
- A medical team there attached a kidney from a gene-edited animal to a person declared brain dead to see if the animal kidney was able to do the job of processing waste and producing urine
- In the United States there are apparently 90,000 persons waiting for a kidney transplant and this successful experiment would go some way towards meeting that need.
- A team of doctors used the heart of an animal, which had genetically modified features, as a replacement heart on a patient who had run out of available options. By all accounts the operation seems to have been successful.
- This is a game changer because now we will have these organs readily available and the technique of genetically modifying the heart or the organ for the patient”
- A doctor in Germany, who has been working in the area of xenotransplants, plans to develop a farm to cultivate genetically modified organs for such transplants. In his view, this will ease the pressure on the medical system.
Moral and social issues
- Animals, they argue, also have rights and it is our moral responsibility to support these rights. We must, therefore, not walk down the road of organ farms.
- Such thinking, they argue, stems from a philosophy of anthropocentrism which places human beings at the centre of nature and regards all other living creatures as having only value if they can be of use to humans.
- Such anthropocentric thinking, they rightly declare, has been the basis of the ecological crises of climate change. Mahatma Gandhi, they add, was opposed to the practice of vivisection.
- Utilitarian dilemma of whether it is better to kill an animal and save a human being or to save an animal and let the human die. Medical science is having to work though such moral dilemmas.
- Would not the wide adoption of xenotransplant procedures diminish the illegal and immoral market in human organs, where people, even children, are abducted.