Over the course of this semester, Science Fiction has introduced to many different concepts that I never knew of. From this course, I got to the opportunity to learn about things such as; utopias, dystopias, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic settings, and artificial intelligence. This course brought my attention to all of these topics. But one topic in particular that I wished we would have covered is the process of uplift or uplifting. Uplifting is basically the use of technology or artificial intelligence to improve the overall intelligence of non-human species. When I was looking for research topics, this term came across and I was immediately hooked. In the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet Apes” that is based on the book “Planet of the Apes” there are examples of the uplifting process. In this reboot, chimpanzees are given this drug called the ALZ-112. This drug is supposed to be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but instead it improve one’s intelligence greatly. In this reboot, there is this one chimpanzee named Caesar, who is given the drug and his intelligence increases.
So imagine a world where animals are given the opportunity to increase their intelligence. These animals could communicate with humans, build their own cities, and govern their own cities. With the way science and technology are advancing, this imagined world could be inevitable. But in the science fiction world, everything is a possibility. The kind of research that I will be doing is rather important. From the basic research that I have done already, the uplift of animals could be coming sooner than we actually think. There have been several experiments tested on monkey and mice to advance their intelligence and their memory. This research will be important because it speaks upon the future. Maybe twenty or thirty years ahead into the future, we as a race might be living with enhanced animals. From this topic, I hope to question the reasoning behind the uplift process. Is it ethical? Can be used on humans? Are we pushing it too far? In my own thought, I think the process of uplifting could have a great impact on the animal kingdom. But I also think that there could be consequences.
- Xu, Christine. “Science or Science Fiction? Uplifting Animals.” Yale Scientific Magazine, Yale Scientific Magazine, 8 May 2015, www.yalescientific.org/2015/05/science-or-science-fiction-uplifting-animals/.
This article proposes the idea of uplifting in the real world. There are two different experiments done, where animals have been experimented on. Although, this article does claim that the process of uplifting on animals may be controversial and just a plain fantasy.
- Maughan, Tim. “Future – Should We Engineer Animals to Be Smart like Humans?” BBC News, BBC, 1 Oct. 2014, www.bbc.com/future/story/20141001-why-supersmart-animals-are-coming.
This is another article explaining the methods of uplifting and its dangers. This article also states that the process of uplifting is still far into the future. Although, there is a thought that if we were to uplift animals using our human material, we could help resolve diseases we face in the world today. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
- Knapp, Alex. “Is It Ethical to Make Animals As Smart As People?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Sept. 2011, www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2011/08/30/is-it-ethical-to-make-animals-as-smart-as-people/#5efbd8fa4dc4.
This article claims that the uplifting of animals could be morally wrong. If we were to change an animal’s entire biological system there could be some dangerous consequences. We could extinct an entire species just because we do not think they are smart enough. We could sterilize the uplifted animals and they could lose their ability to repopulate.
- Anthes, Emily. “Should We Make Animals Smarter? – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com, The Boston Globe, 31 Mar. 2013, www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/03/30/should-make-animals-smarter/zbW4LTWkP8TZgB93Mqw7QJ/story.html.
In this article, it touches upon the moral rights that animals have. It also offers the idea of animals becoming aware of these experiments and it could totally backfire on us. It also mentions that uplifting animals to increase their intelligence may not be the solution to our world problems. As humans, we tend to alter and destroy any type of life we come in contact with. So the concept of uplifting could worse than we expect.