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A Smart Pill?

  1. Jul 20, 2003 #1
    A "Smart" Pill?

    This thread could just have well been posted in the Other Sciences forum, but instead, I decided to put it in the philosophy thread so as to debate the ethics behind a smart pill (more on just what that is in a second). I want to know peoples opinion on the smart pill, and for those who have not heard of the idea yet, maybe you all can state an opinion in here anyways...

    The "smart" pill is not some sort of nanotechnology, but rather a pill which would increase an individuals intelligence, memory, basically, make you more "intelligent", whatever that is...

    The problem with the smart pill, is it is already facing debate before the pill is even on the market! Many believe it is not ethical to create a pill which can make humans more intelligent... So I ask this: what do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2003 #2
    This reminds of a joke, a man walks up to a kid one day and asks if he'd like to buy some smart pills and the kid instantly answers yes. The kid pays him the money and the guy hands over these little black tablets. Not wanting to be ripped off, the kid tests them while the dealer is still there. He plops about three in his mouth and he notices that they are the worst thing he has ever tasted and without thinking replies "hey these are **** pellets" then the guy replies see your getting smarter already.
  4. Jul 20, 2003 #3
    hmm.. I'm surprised I haven't heard of this. Has it been put through the usual rigors of testing and FDA approval? How long does it make you smarter for? How MUCH smarter does it make you? If you believe those health food stores, ginko baloba can do the same thing.

    Need more info, but I'll just venture to say that I don't see the ethical problems behind it. Sure there will be some ultra-right wing conservatists who object, but overall you can't fight it. I'm sure the government wouldn't be too happy about that, but that's another story. Can you say "no more blue collar"? If it was dramatic enough of an increase, you'd see swarms of factory workers walking off the job and enrolling in college. So businesses would be hurt. I guess it would dynamically effect agriculture and industrial labor.

    Of course like any coveted product, there will be those who seek to keep it from the swarming masses. But inevitably it will come to term. Viagra was a good example. It was even outlawed in the US for a time(still is? not sure) but people got it anyhow. And if you make it illegal, conveniently move to the black market and triple the price, thus increasing the public's demand for it. "oh hey, have you tried that smart pill? good stuff" rush right out to get it. Much more effect than mass marketing-if it's a good product, and not harmful to the body. So in conclusion, yes I guess there are a myriad of ramifications from this pill. More info plz!
  5. Jul 20, 2003 #4
  6. Jul 20, 2003 #5


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    honestly, i think if science can create a medication that enhances the dormant intelligence human beings already have without upsetting another factor in the human health, then i think it's great...the problem is, when man interferes with nature, usually something else is upset and unbalanced and creates additional problems...
  7. Jul 20, 2003 #6
    They already have a bunch of smart pills anyways. Why is it interfering with nature?
  8. Jul 21, 2003 #7
    Is there any information on what kind of intelligence this pill supposedly improves? general intelligence like memory, or subconscious thought, or maybe reduces ignorance allowing an open-mind.

    I don't think it's morally wrong. It's like instant teaching, right?

    But is it possible to just pump a kid full of these and expect him to know more than he did before? Then again, the side effects may be bad, or they may become a steroid like drug for use on game shows and such... Sounds like one of those things that at first glance appear to be a good idea, but at what expense would one be willing to go for enhanced intelligence. This is where the line gets fuzzy for me...
  9. Jul 21, 2003 #8
    Smart pills are just the tip of the iceburg, there has been a black market for years now in shots that will dramatically increase your IQ for about three hours. Just eating eggs before a test can increase your memory because they are high in lecithin, and I highly recommend it.

    One psychological study of highly successful people came up with a suprising result. A small percentage of these people had average or below average IQs, but demonstrated a tremendous capacity to work constructively with just about anyone. Such people are sometimes said to have a high emotional IQ.

    In the near future psychologists expect to have cures for something like eighty percent of all mental illnesses, and undoubtedly they will also perfect the art of emotional intelligence. Soon you may be speaking to computers and even toy Yoda dolls that, at times, really appear intelligent and caring whether they really are or not. In studies people prefered talking to theraputic computer programs about personal problems because of the safty issues involved with a real therapist.

    Why not raise their IQs as well? We've all had bad days.

    Strange days indeed.
  10. Jul 21, 2003 #9
    Smart Pills

    Send a five year supply to the White House immediately.
  11. Jul 21, 2003 #10
    Intelligence and knowledge are not the same thing. A pill could not be like instant teaching in that you would not know more facts. What it would do is give you a greater ability to learn in the future, but effort would still be required.
  12. Jul 22, 2003 #11
    I work in the field of technical support for a major software company and I have to say..................


    It is very scary to see the Intellegence level and knowledge level of people!! It really seriously makes you wonder.
  13. Jul 22, 2003 #12
    Coming from a fellow techie, let's tell them all to throw it back in a box, pack it up, and send it back because they're too stupid to own the computer.

    It may be possible to increase intellectual capacity, so you could say, absorb and retain huge volumes of information in a short period of time, but there's nothing that can instantly give you the knowledge, unless you're talking direct neural connnection to a computer ala The Matrix, but even then, it wouldn't make you able to absorb the information any faster. The two would have to be combined.

    As for emotionally intelligent computers, they are doing some great breakthrough work at MIT AI labs, but it's really more about fooling the person into thinking it's emotionally responsive by creating an algorythm that can respond emotionally (in other words illogically) based on input.

    I remembe reading about a really basic old program that would get mad, ask about your well being, and become sad based on your responses to it's questions back in the day..
  14. Jul 22, 2003 #13
    Er from http://www.csonline.net/bpaddock/nurofone/neuroph1.htm [Broken] about the neurophone. It's not about direct neural connection but it is about picking up electromagnetic fields, what five senses LoLz?

    Is this whack or what? They even had people saying they could talk with dolphins. Then there's sound and light machines and biofeedback devices lol. Wait, maybe that's why I don't think smart pills are really absurd. What's more absurd, meditation or a smart making machine? Wouldn't it be funny if ritalin was an introductory drug.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  15. Jul 22, 2003 #14
    Re: Smart Pills

    Make it a lifetime supply, at the rate we are going elections might as well be a thing of past.
  16. Dec 14, 2003 #15


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    I think a smart pill is definatly a good idea[

    Actually as to how it would work i have a scientific AMerican article(About 3 pgs long) that sohws how they might work

    BUt why is it such a great idea?

    Beyond helping you rember your friends birthday, it could be used to make people live happier, more productive lives

    For instace, imagine learning how to read and write by 2nd grade
    (War and Peace?)Calculus by 6th grade? Certainly possible, and
    why not? I wouldnt have any problem with it

    Of course theres always the smart divide. Those who have acces to smart pills will have an advantage over those who do not.

    But f we did have people who were in fact "Super smart", they would probably figure out a way to provide them to the rest of the world, and even if they did not, it wouldnt nccessarily "hurt" those who didnt have it

    Soryy if this is a little run on but its 2 Am and im tired

    Also i heard about Electromagnets to counteract tiredness
  17. Jan 26, 2005 #16
    WHAT??? How can a 'smart pill' possibly work? If encyclopedias are not crammed into the pill, then how can it possibly work? The only thing that I can think of is helping the brain to absorb more information and retain it. But that does not instantly make you smarter, only new information that you learn will be retained. Other than this, I have no idea how it can possibly work.
  18. Jan 29, 2005 #17
    Alright.... That just doesn't make sense. Many things can theoretically improve your memory, reaction time, compreheandability, but to have an actual pill that will, 100% surly, raise one's "intelligence" is a prospect that can not be reached as of now. We simply don't know exactly what chemicals can give someone a higher intelligence. The applications for intelligence are far too large to even be correctly analysed. Scoring well on a test, and being a great hop scotch player are two different types of intelligence.

    If I was offered "the smart pill" I wouldn't buy it. More than likely it is pure cocaine. Which when taken, increases reaction time and memory, so one could say that cocaine increases intelligence.
    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
  19. Jan 29, 2005 #18
    Quantum, you should probebly tell people what you believe the definition of intelligence is, because we are getting alot of different opinions on what exactly intelligence is. :approve:

    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
  20. Feb 16, 2005 #19
    it takes a great deal of intelligence to explain what intelligence is. i personally dont think it has anything to do with tests, but creativity. Creativity would, in the end, yield physical manifestations if someone was creatively a genius-thus skipping completely any mathematical requirements for construction.
  21. Mar 17, 2005 #20


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    The real question for me is 1) Does it improve "common sense" and 2) Do you understand things better (as opposed to learning things faster).
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