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Unfiltered takes part in the UK’s first human enhancement conference

Unfiltered’s Dr Jonny Rees appeared at the House of Lords alongside some of the most influential figures in business, medicine and science during the UK’s first ever conference on human enhancement and performance medicine

In the summer of 1854, London found itself in the grip of a cholera outbreak. Dr John Snow, a British physician now widely regarded as the father of modern epidemiology, rejected popular theories of the day and suggested that the disease was spreading through water, not air. He even identified a Soho water pump as the source of the epidemic that claimed over 600 lives.

His calls for sanitation reform initially faced stiff opposition from the political establishment over potential costs and perceived threats to property rights.

Snow knew his ideas could enhance the health and longevity of ordinary British citizens and his persistence paid off, paving the way for the Public Health Acts – laws that led to significant improvements in urban sanitation, living conditions, and public health standards.

Echoes of Snow’s pioneering spirit could be felt on Tuesday at the UK’s first-ever conference on human enhancement, held at the House of Lords. The organisers, drawing inspiration from Snow’s legacy, aimed to engage a Westminster audience more open to groundbreaking ideas.

Unfiltered was the only media outlet to have a representative participating as a delegate at the event. Our contributing editor, Dr Jonny Rees, who holds a PhD in law and biomedical ethics, with a focus on human enhancement, took part in debates and discussions throughout the day. 

The event was hosted by Lord Stone of Blackheath and organised by Aron Ping D’Souza, the founder and president of the Enhanced Games, a sporting competition that aims to challenge the Olympics and allows athletes to use performance enhancing substances. 

“Medical science should be so much more than curing catastrophic disease,” said D’Souza. “Science and technology can enable healthy individuals to be stronger, younger and more productive for longer. The Conference on Human Enhancement is the first high-level meeting in support of performance enhancements and anti-aging technology.”

D’Souza wants to use the event to help secure the UK’s position as a world leader in performance medicine. “Britain led the world in the internet in the 1990s, and AI in the early 2000s,” he said. “However, the UK lost out on all the economic growth due to short-sighted policies and the inability to retain talent. One only needs to look at Denmark and the contribution of Ozempic to the country’s GDP to know that performance medicine and anti-ageing technology will be the greatest economic drivers of the 21st Century.”

Speaking in support of the event, Christian Angermayer, head of the Apeiron Investment Group and an early-stage backer of The Enhanced Games said, “We are entering a golden age of human enhancement, where individuals will seek to greatly improve their functional capabilities – at physical, cognitive and emotional levels.”

He linked the work being done in Westminster with the objectives of a sporting event that aims to revolutionise the way athletes compete. “The Enhanced Games represents a new model of sports, one that openly celebrates scientific innovation,” he said. “Its core mission centres on building a platform that not only improves safety and fairness of competition, but also stimulates scientific breakthroughs and nurtures human advancement.”

Topics of discussion at the conference included the exploration of transhumanism and engineered enhancements, the potential to extend longevity and healthspan and what it would take to create a ‘super athlete’.

“The mood was very optimistic, and the fact the House of Lords hosted a conference on this subject is something of a success in itself, and may well represent an inflection point,” said Dr Rees. “I don’t think even a couple of years ago it would or could have happened.” 

“When a group of people like that, with influence, intelligence and resource get together with the aim of changing the narrative and disrupting the status quo, they very often succeed. It really felt like enough of the right people are committed to a step change.” 

D’Souza and Angermayer are ambitious men. They have designs on disrupting the international sporting landscape and they want to redefine the limits of human health and life expectancy. As Dr Snow could have told them, radical thinkers will always encounter opposition from those seeking to maintain the status quo. But maybe the human enhancement project isn’t as outlandish as it first appears. “Enhancement doesn’t always mean the ‘extreme’,” said Angermayer. “For many it will simply be the opportunity to live a longer, healthier, and happier life. And who would say no to that?”

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