Choosing to Die? Arguments on Assisted Suicide, Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and Philosophers
The Way We Live and Die Is Changing
Technology is changing the way that people die. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform the assisted suicide process. AI is already being used in medicine to help doctors and patients make decisions.
The world in which we live and how we die are changing. With the advancements in technology, we can now do things that were previously not possible.
Machines can be programmed to know what we need when needed and help us care for ourselves. We can now create healthcare robots that can respond to our emotional needs. Artificial Intelligence will also change the way we die.
I recently wrote a piece called: “Choosing When and How to Die: Struggling With the Complexities of This Decision in My Close Family.” in which I discussed my terrible family circumstances at the time. Sadly my uncle passed away.
Since I previously addressed it in that article, I’ll mention euthanasia briefly in this one.
Current medical practice for assisted suicide is restricted to a relatively small number of countries. In Switzerland and Germany, physicians can assist the death of terminally ill patients who self-administer a lethal dose of medication. After careful consultation with their patients, Belgium allows doctors to administer the drug directly. Luxembourg allows it too.
Could Assisted Suicide Be Made Legal Worldwide?
A recent article titled “The welcome spread of assisted dying” by The Economist asks;
“With assisted suicide already legal in some places and on the rise elsewhere, could we see a global approach to the issue?”
The arguments for and against assisted suicide are a common debate that has been going on for decades. And now that the movement of legalizing assisted suicide is spreading, it begs the question: “Could we see a global approach to this issue?”
The article goes on to say:
“If so, that would be good news for those who fear the potential risks of a more widespread authorisation for doctor-assisted dying — and not risks to life and limb. This month Belgium’s constitutional court ruled in favour of extending the country’s euthanasia law to terminally ill children, in certain circumstances. Who knows where this might end? Might people ask their doctors to help them die because they are feeling down or have broken up with their partner?”
Arguments Against Assisted Suicide
There is a lot of controversy on the issue of assisted suicide. Religion, ethics, and legalities are all factors that contribute to these debates.
Many people are against assisted suicide because they believe it is immoral. They think the act is wrong because it deprives someone of their right to live, which they feel is a fundamental human right.
Others are against assisted suicide because they believe there is no control over how the individual dies or who takes them to death.
Legal concerns have also been raised for this topic as many people believe there need to be clear guidelines for who can legally take part in assisted suicide.
One last concern brought up by people against assisted suicide is that some individuals might change their minds about wanting to die before they get the opportunity to do so.
Arguments For Assisted Suicide
Suicide rates have been on the rise. Every year about 800,000 people from all over the world commit suicide. That’s one person every 40 seconds. Some of these suicides could have been prevented if they had access to medication services. Doctors are performing research to assess the effectiveness of assisted suicide to help prevent suicides.
Those in favor of assisted suicide believe that it is a humane way to end a person’s life. They also feel that it is the individual’s right to choose how and when they die.
Another argument favoring assisted suicide is it would relieve unbearable pain and suffering.
Many people feel that physician-assisted suicide should be an available choice for terminally ill patients in great pain and who have no hope for recovery.
The Future of Assisted Suicide
Technology is advancing at an exponential rate. This is especially true when it comes to the medical field.
New technologies are being developed that have sparked interest in this topic, particularly around the idea of assisted suicide. Two main technological issues are driving this forward: 3D printing and robot doctors.
We may soon use 3D printers to create models of each patient’s body so they can test their equipment before using it on a human subject. They could also use these models for training purposes or print skin grafts or replacement organs. This has enormous implications for physician-assisted suicide.
3D printing is a process that can create three-dimensional objects from a digital model. This technology is being used more and more in the medical field to create prosthetic body parts and organs.
Many people believe that 3D printing will eventually play a role in assisted suicide. They think it will be possible to print out a human body that is identical to the person requesting assisted suicide so they can perform a “test.”
Robot doctors are machines being developed to assist doctors in surgery and other medical procedures. There is a lot of debate about whether or not robot doctors should be allowed to perform assisted suicide. However, many people believe that robot doctors will eventually take over this task completely.
Difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia
Suicide is the act of deliberately killing oneself.
Assisted suicide is when a person is aided by someone else in committing suicide; also, the act of helping a person in committing suicide.
Euthanasia is an action that either intentionally or unintentionally brings about a merciful end to another’s life; also, the state of being put to death with mercy.
Euthanasia is generally regarded as an intentional act that produces the death of someone who can, in theory, live. Assisted suicide, on the other hand, results in another person helping “to cause” death.
What Do the Philosophers Say?
Philosophers have also weighed in on the debate of assisted suicide. There is an enormous disagreement, and many philosophers have argued for and against it.
Four major philosophers make up this argument.
Immanuel Kant believed people that committed suicide perpetrated a crime against God and reason by destroying their ego. The second principle he espoused was to do one’s duty and never regard anything as an end in itself, even oneself. He believed it would be immoral for doctors to perform euthanasia because they would be disregarding their duty by killing another person out of sympathy or pity.
John Stuart Mill agreed with Immanuel Kant about not performing euthanasia because he felt like it did not respect the individual’s dignity and liberty. He also believed that people should control how others treat them, making physician-assisted suicide a wrong choice.
Roberto Unger takes a more practical perspective and believes that people should choose how they die as long as it does not cause harm to others. He also feels that it is vital for people to have autonomy over their lives, including the right to end them when they see fit.
On the other side of the debate is Arthur Schopenhauer, who believes that euthanasia should be available to anyone who wants it. He feels that life is full of suffering and that euthanasia is the compassionate thing to do.
One argument for assisted suicide is that we should not paternalistically impose our values on others because we cannot know what is best for them.
Others argue that it’s wrong to take away life as punishment or as a means to protect those who cannot decide for themselves. They say that those who want to die should be allowed to do so without interference from other people, and if they don’t want to die, they shouldn’t be forced to do so either.
In a world where technology changes everything, assisted suicide has been no exception. Advancements in artificial intelligence have the potential to transform this process for both physicians and patients alike.
AI can help doctors make decisions faster without compromising the quality of care or personal judgment. It also allows them to spend more time with those who need it most — people diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
AI can be used not only by medical professionals but also by terminally ill patients themselves when it comes time for self-administering that lethal dose of medication.
What’s your view on assisted suicide? Do you think there should be restrictions? If so, which? Are there any other considerations you can think of about how assisted suicide might change our future? Please leave your comments!
This article was first published on Medium.com