We live in a world of ubiquitous growth. Whether it is the global population, the proliferation and intervention of computing technology, the amounts of information and communication available around us, or the speed at which we progress technologically.

Growth is a fundamental driver of the developed world. At the same time, growth is slowly becoming a serious problem in certain fields.

In many ways growth is responsible for increasing demands to the human body. The amount of information we need to take in and process is increasing. The speed of life is increasing.

Already today, it is common in certain groups of society to enhance the human body in order to meet demands. Whether this is a cup of coffee in the morning, the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, or that of cognitive enhancing drugs among students and professionals.

Such biochemical ways of enhancing the human body are only the beginning. Other scientific fields like synthetic biology and nanotechnology will enable more advanced ways of enhancing the human body.

The world is accelerating. Pace of life, technological advancement or times between scientific breakthroughs.

Some research indicates, that the acceleration of many such parameters is in fact exponential. Through extrapolating historic data, a point can be predicted where the exponential graphs are undefined and the acceleration infinite.

With this, demands on humans are ever growing and we are constantly enhancing ourselves, in one way or another, in order to cope.

What will happen when we are outpaced by this ever accelerating development?

State of human enhancement

Temporary enhancements that are used everyday?

As a species, we have always enhanced ourselves when possible, why wouldn't we? What's changing is that new technologies are on the horizon promising us perfection and efficiency in a commoditised fashion.

Modern medicine has put an end to biological evolution, are we heading into a new race of technological evolution?

Eyeglasses. Although they don't enhance eyesight beyond normal, they show cultural integration of what used to be considered a "medical appliance".

Ritalin. An ADHS drug being abused to enhance attention and memory performance.

Augmentation mammoplasty. A routine surgery performed to enhance physical appearance and attraction.

Redefinition of 'disabled'. Modern prosthetic legs allow some athletes to outperform what 'able-bodied' athletes are capable of.

Short film

John M. Smith lives in a world of ubiquitous growth. Enhancing the human abilities, both mental and physical, is commonplace. He discovered that his new employer is using latest technologies to get the most out of its work force. It is all about the bottom line.

John decided against being enhanced. The lacking corporate acceptance forces him to keep this decision undiscovered. Part of his daily routine is now to prepare a special pen cap, holding an inhibitor drug.

2010, Ravensbourne

Additional resources:

Project Report (PDF)