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Science fiction and human enhancement: radical life-extension in the movie ‘In Time’ (2011)


Roduit, Johann A R; Eichinger, Tobias; Glannon, Walter (2018). Science fiction and human enhancement: radical life-extension in the movie ‘In Time’ (2011). Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

The ethics of human enhancement has been a hotly debated topic in the last 15 years. In this debate, some advocate examining science fiction stories to elucidate the ethical issues regarding the current phenomenon of human enhancement. Stories from science fiction seem well suited to analyze biomedical advances, providing some possible case studies. Of particular interest is the work of screenwriter Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1m0ne, In Time, and Good Kill), which often focuses on ethical questions raised by the use of new technologies. Examining the movie In Time (2011), the aim of this paper is to show how science fiction can contribute to the ethical debate of human enhancement. In Time provides an interesting case study to explore what could be some of the consequences of radical life-extension technologies. In this paper, we will show how arguments regarding radical life-extension portrayed in this particular movie differ from what is found in the scientific literature. We will see how In Time gives flesh to arguments defending or rejecting radical life-extension. It articulates feelings of unease, alienation and boredom associated with this possibility. Finally, this article will conclude that science fiction movies in general, and In Time in particular, are a valuable resource for a broad and comprehensive debate about our coming future.

Abstract

The ethics of human enhancement has been a hotly debated topic in the last 15 years. In this debate, some advocate examining science fiction stories to elucidate the ethical issues regarding the current phenomenon of human enhancement. Stories from science fiction seem well suited to analyze biomedical advances, providing some possible case studies. Of particular interest is the work of screenwriter Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1m0ne, In Time, and Good Kill), which often focuses on ethical questions raised by the use of new technologies. Examining the movie In Time (2011), the aim of this paper is to show how science fiction can contribute to the ethical debate of human enhancement. In Time provides an interesting case study to explore what could be some of the consequences of radical life-extension technologies. In this paper, we will show how arguments regarding radical life-extension portrayed in this particular movie differ from what is found in the scientific literature. We will see how In Time gives flesh to arguments defending or rejecting radical life-extension. It articulates feelings of unease, alienation and boredom associated with this possibility. Finally, this article will conclude that science fiction movies in general, and In Time in particular, are a valuable resource for a broad and comprehensive debate about our coming future.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:20 March 2018
Deposited On:23 Mar 2018 07:08
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:46
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1386-7423
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-018-9831-4
PubMed ID:29560602

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