Amped by Dan H. Wilson is a futuristic book which poses very complex ethical dilemmas, such as implantation of superior brains into people dissatisfied with portions of the body they were born into. The implications for implantation of new body parts include legal, moral, and political aspects.
The character Owen Gray is shown as traveling to Oklahoma to seek out a group of persecuted ampeds. Owen initially believes that this group of “amplified” humans is planning a collective strategy to fight group discrimination by the society at large.
Wilson describes the formulation of a brain implant which includes an array of electrodes, a processor, and a maintenance port. Technologically, the existence of a central processor implies the need for managing down time and the mean time between failures of the mechanized human part. Down time could mean periods where the robotic portion of the human behaves irradically and endangers the public.
The author describes certain types of neural implants which kill seizures. These implants have a constructive functional aspect which benefits humanity. There are dysfunctional aspects as well. The presentation suggests that the creation of ampeds could result in crimes against humanity, as well as discrimination against the amps themselves.
For instance, there are medical ethical implications which arise for ideas expressed in Amped. An example would be whether or not new brain implants could result in humans with an abnormally high level of intelligence tainted with criminal or harmful tendencies.
In addition, the author refers to medical mistakes which could result in death hypothetically in instances where the biocapacitor fails and the patient dies prematurely. In other cases, there could be mob violence against implanted individuals due to a societal fear and hatred for the robot-like creations which result from the medical practice of implantation.
Amped is an important work which anticipates some of the most complex legal and medical ethics questions for an advanced technology already here. In some ways, Amped has an Orwellian parallel between a growing segregated amped group and the existence of the proletariat enunciated by Orwell.