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Does Ethical Judgment Determine the Decision to Become a Cyborg?

Influence of Ethical Judgment on the Cyborg Market

Abstract

Today, technological implants to increase innate human capabilities are already available on the market. Cyborgs, understood as healthy people who decide to integrate their bodies with insideable technology, are no longer science fiction, but fact. The cyborg market will be a huge new business with important consequences for both industry and society. More specifically, cyborg technologies are a unique product, with a potentially critical impact on the future of humanity. In light of the potential transformations involved in the creation of “superhuman” cyborgs, ethics must be a cornerstone of cyborg marketing decisions. Businesses need to take ethics into account, not only to ensure they behave ethically, as always, but also because ethics will be an important factor in buyers’ decisions in the emerging cyborg market. This is because the decision to become a cyborg is determined, among many other factors, by ethical judgment. Our research focuses on how the dimensions of the Composite Multidimensional Ethics Scale (Composite MES) influence an individual’s decision to become a cyborg. To test our hypotheses, we surveyed a total of 1563 higher-education students in seven different countries. The results of the survey show that ethical judgment will be a keystone in individual cyborgization. Specifically, ethical dimensions explained 48% of the intention to use cyborg technologies. The ethical analysis showed that not all MES dimensions have the same influence on the ethical judgment regarding this decision. Egoism was the most influential dimension, while contractualism was the least. These findings have important implications for both academia and business.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the bridge Grants for research projects awarded by the University of La Rioja (2017 call), subsidized by Banco Santander (reference: APPI17/05) and the Bocam research group at the University of La Rioja.

Funding

This study was funded by Universidad de La Rioja and Fundación Banco Santander (Grant Number APPI17/05).

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Correspondence to Mario Arias-Oliva.

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Jorge Pelegrín-Borondo has received research grants from Universidad de La Rioja and Fundación Banco de Santander. Mario Arias-Oliva, Kiyoshi Murata, and Mar Souto-Romero declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Pelegrín-Borondo, J., Arias-Oliva, M., Murata, K. et al. Does Ethical Judgment Determine the Decision to Become a Cyborg?. J Bus Ethics 161, 5–17 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3970-7

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Keywords

  • Cyborgs
  • Ethical judgment
  • Consumer decisions