Monday, December 03, 2012

Trans-human Olympics

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, is not at all surprised to hear that doping was common among top cyclists. 

When cheating is easy, payoff is huge and odds of getting caught are low, you have the right conditions for people to try out dubious or even illegal methods, he says.

Scott Adams goes to the extent of hypothesising that doping must be pretty rampant in tennis as well. He is convinced especially that many of the women players are already juiced up with drugs.With so much money and fame at stake, the incentive is very strong to try and beat the system.

So, why not legitimize it?

I liked one of the comments on that Scott Adams post.
I propose that they create 3 separate Olympics.

The first would be the 'pure' Olympics, that include only tests of human athletism. Track and Field events, swimming (maybe) and weightlifting, and bare-hand pugilism (wrestling, judo). Gymnastics would be converted to a battery of Parkour obstacle courses. The list of approved equipment would be very short, and the only role of judges is to enforce the rules.

The second would be the human powered vehicle and team sport Olympics - this would be merged with the Paralympics. Cycling, rowing, boxing, fencing, all team sports, etc. In these events all forms limb replacement and augmenting technology is allowed (sans-external power sources) - but not drugs or artificial hormones.

The third would be the trans-human Olympics. In these events competitors are encouraged to use whatever technology is available to boost the power of the human body past its limits. These would the gladiatorial games of science fiction.

It’s an interesting thought. In any case, even in the ‘pure Olympics’, technology is used extensively to boost performance. The shoes are of special, light-weight material and the dress is designed to reduce the drag.
Tennis racquets are designed to deliver the maximum punch with minimal effort. And so on. So, why not relax the rules some more and allow free use of any technology that enhances the performance?

It can be argued, of course, that drugs endanger the lives of the athletes and those of the budding ones who view them as role models. Hell, there’s danger is Formula 1 racing too. The drivers are perilously close to death at any point in the race. So long as the risks are known and taken voluntarily, it should be morally permissible,  I think.

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