For whatever reason (possibly the media equivalent of a tent pole -- http://gbatemp.net/threads/limitless-tv.388750/ ) there were a bunch of articles on the matter and I read them, nothing I especially feel like linking. A discussion on the concept is a different matter entirely though. Anyway nootropics is a term used to describe drugs that enhance your mind in some way (it will probably align well with the types of intelligence http://skyview.vansd.org/lschmidt/Projects/The Nine Types of Intelligence.htm though most will focus on Logical-Mathematical Intelligence and aspects of recall), there is some debate as to what counts as what, what they have to do, whether they can be chemically addictive and still count (most would opt for no chemical addiction but it does not seem to be universal) but for the purposes of this topic we will go with "substances that enhance neural function". All things are chemicals but I want some real stuff for this -- no placebos, no glorified sugar water, no hippy bullshit (it might have started life as a plant and that is very possible), proper double blind stuff that looks cool under a MRI (or whatever can see the actual function) and all that jazz. Though neurochemistry is fascinating for me the more interesting discussion comes from the ethics side of things. I found it quite shocking that some universities were contemplating drug testing of students ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/hea...curb-students-Ritalin-use-academics-says.html ). For some the obvious parallel would be sports and doping there. I am not sure it tracks myself. Though to go too much further into that you would have to consider why testing might be done in sports -- high level sports have long since evolved into a genetic lottery but the side effects of drugs was rather distressing and that formed the basis for a lot of it, logical dissonance of concussion syndromes not withstanding. Though long term studies are rather thin on the ground the short term and what few long term things there are do not point to overwhelming negatives, though the lack of long term studies and studies varying with ages (neurological development carries on well into your 20s -- see also why car crashes drop after 25 or so as most stop thinking they are immortal and in many ways never stops, teenage years is even worse on the potential changes/harms front) does leave me hesitant to make any real calls there. Back on topic the principle difference for me is academia is a rather more open ended affair (best* academic** is a rather less useful distinction than fastest runner of a given type of race). Years ago there was discussion of what might happen should in utero screening for various types of learning disorders come to pass -- many noting the high incidence rates of such people within certain fields, if the screenings led to terminations then there might be fewer people for that. that is a somewhat different topic though. Some have argued that using them is not inherently unethical but you should state that you are using them to your work colleagues. I disagree, quite strongly in fact, but it is something that has been said. I would not fire an otherwise non impaired enhancement drug user, and probably the same for a not so enhancement drug user if they did not show up impaired (give or take health insurance implications). Whether I would "mandate"*** the taking of such things would require further consideration, mainly on the health side of things. *"but but my grade curve"... fight me now. Alternatively cook up a means to test people better. **I should also say something about tests that you can pass and forget everything 5 minutes later/after that part of the exam is done. ***laws tend to frown upon mandating things like this, however this is why we find creative HR people (and perhaps feed them creative enhancement drugs). Legally speaking it varies with substance. UK laws are odd and tend to be something like import for personal use is fine, selling is less fine and a lot of things are prescription drugs elsewhere in the world. Probably the most well known would be ritalin (a drug most commonly prescribed for add/adhd, whatever that might be as the definition seems to get wider by the year), adderall (similar story) and modafinil (traditionally treats narcolepsy, the one where you fall asleep randomly). Some go further and go in for drugs aimed at people with very serious degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and other similarly serious conditions. If we could spare a general debate on drugs for this thread that would be nice. What might be interesting though is a debate as to what the law might think about it -- drug laws are an odd mix of some science (arguably not enough), some scary stuff and some legacy puritanical nonsense stuff. Recently the UK saw an odd twist where "legal highs" got blanket banned which raised serious concerns among those in the medical, legal and ethics fields (previously only specific substances could be banned, as I can tweak a non functional group, or even a functional group, and get ahead of the legal curve it was seen as a never ending race, however functionally most that know the science would have argued that is the only way it could be, sucks to be the law maker) -- with the chemical specific stuff they at least had the tissue thin veneer of banning harmful substances, now it is pretty much "we do not like you having fun, or, to utilise the parlance of the kids, getting fucked up". Being a rather different result does this change where nootropics/smart drugs come in? I will out myself as a completely boring bastard at this point and note that I have never done anything like this and don't even do caffeine (seriously, it keeps me awake for ages and largely non functional within that and I open my eyes and find myself ready to go). Boredom aside (and I cast it aside to do interesting things) I never really have a problem with focus or calmness so I tend not even to go the other way. With that said when I can have robot arms that work better than my meat ones then I am having them and by similar token then when I can have cool drugs that work on the computer that powers it all (at least before I become an/some facet of an AI) then I am not seeing the difference. That is some background and my thoughts though. What are the thoughts of others?