7Enhancement as a Cipher of the Future

Enhancement has become a frequently used term in the debate about the future of humans and animals. On the one hand, human enhancement and animal enhancement refer to developments that could or should be possible in the future. On the other hand, however, they also designate developments that are already taking place. In this way, so the thesis of this chapter, these concepts serve as ciphers for the future in which it is above all the present that is revealed in references to the future. The aim of the hermeneutic view is to define these relationships.

7.1. Introduction and overview

In previous works, nanotechnology was diagnosed to function as a “cipher of the future” in techno-visionary debates of that time (see Chapters 2 and 5 and [GRU 06, GRU 12b]). In the meantime, a normalization of nanotechnology [GRU 10b] and its defuturization took place [LÖS 10]. These developments resulted in a situation that nanotechnology today is no longer a cipher of the future. But there are others with the notion of enhancement being of major importance to some RRI debates among them, according to the hypothesis of this chapter1.

The function of ciphers of the future is to place our images of the future in the context of our present thinking, to reflect on them, to communicate the results of our reflections and to deliberate on them in order to ultimately enable us to use the results for our current actions and decisions (see Chapter 2 and [GRU 12b]). ...

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