Beyond illness: the future of healthcare technology

How can advances being made in health and wellbeing influence the future of work?

Humans have always dreamed of being more than we are. From demigods like Hercules to comic book heroes like Superman, we have never ceased to imagine people who are like us, but better. 

But we tend to ignore the cautionary tale of Icarus, who on his wings of wax and feathers soared triumphantly but, flying too close to the sun, plunged to his doom. 

Transcending disability, putting all people on an equal footing, is a noble cause, and one that many people can get behind. But the question then arises of voluntary surgery to enhance our natural abilities. Could dreams of becoming more than human lead to the stratification of society to the point where those without some kind of enhancement simply cannot compete? 

Similarly, while the sensors in our clothes and bathrooms predicted by Kaku and others could be used for the detection and early treatment of disease, concerns around how such data could be used by insurance companies already abound. 

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This should not be taken to mean we should turn away from these technologies, which have the potential to revolutionise lives. But ethical and legal considerations must be examined alongside these tools as they evolve to ensure that we ourselves do not burn and fall.

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