Bioethics In the Deus Ex Series

The Deus Ex series of videogames raises many interesting questions and serves as an introduction for many young gamers to the concepts of Nanotechnology and Bio-Ethics. It especially raises the questions of whether voluntary human augmentation is acceptable and whether or when enhancement of human capabilities with mechanical devices ever becomes a matter for moral and ethical consideration rather than a practical question of ability.

In the series, the protagonists have been variously augmented with nanotechnological or cybernetic modifications (see:Human_Cybernetic_Enhancement) which have given them a variety of superhuman kinetic and sensory abilities. JC Denton (protagonist of Deus Ex) wears sunglasses even in the dark because his augmented vision automatically adjusts for any level of brightness, while Adam Jensen (Protagonist of Deus Ex: Human Revolution) has sunglasses whose lenses physically retract into the sides of his eye sockets. As any casual reader can guess, these examples are far from the most imperative or ground-breaking of the augmentations which these two fictional characters possess. These examples serve to illustrate the distinction between the two - while JC Denton's nanotechnological augmentations have fundamentally changed his body, there is no visible evidence of any such changes. Adam Jensen on the other hand has had his body substantially replaced with cybernetic prostheses, to such a degree that only parts of his torso and his head appear to remain human in a traditional sense. JC's transformation was voluntary as part of his employment, while Adam's is undertaken without his consent as a way of saving him after he receives life-threatening injuries. As you can see, the circumstances of each of these medical interventions may have some ethical relevance as well. The greatest question posed by the human modification technologies displayed in each of these games is whether there is some point at which we cease to be human given a sufficient level of modification or mechanical replacement of our bodies.

Deus Ex: The Conspiracy

Deus Ex: The Invisible War

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

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