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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

Name:

The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Monday, March 14, 2005

"More Than Human," Intriguing Book (Excerpts) and Blog -- Bio, Cyber, Long, Noo, Psych, Soc, Rev, Tech, $$$

Ah, and another nifty link or three. Here's the homepage for More Than Human, a book about the technologies the author, Ramez Naam, claims will make it possible for us to make humans stronger, faster, smarter, longer-lived, etc.

http://www.morethanhuman.org/

This is probably my favorite quote (so far) on the site, "In 1999, researchers searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease genetically engineered a strain of mice that can learn things five times as quickly as their normal kin – super-intelligent mice." Think about it, "super-intelligent mice." And don't worry, superstrong mice also come up before you even finish the excerpts.

I am going to be terribly disappointed if humanity is replaced by a Master Race of white lab mice while still dithering over enhancement issues. =)

Seriously, here's the blog: http://www.morethanhuman.org/blog/

Here's a link to some excerpts from the book:

http://www.morethanhuman.org/contents

Judging from the outline of More Than Human (and the writing in these excerpts) Ramez Naam appears to be assembling a strong argument along the lines of Gregory Stock's Redesigning Humans -- that human enhancement is coming as a by-product of other scientific research, whether we consciously try to develop it or not.

Stock's powerful argument for the inevitability of human genetic enhancement deserves its own review. But Naam seems to have taken that argument and applied it to other medical research such as the brain implants used to restore lost sight and mobility -- research which could also be applied to developing bionic or cybernetic enhancements for ordinary, healthy human beings.

It looks like he has covered a number of major potential biotech enhancements... neural implants, mind-to-mind communications, smart drugs, longevity treatments, gene therapy, genetic engineering and improvements in how we reproduce "test tube babies" (over one million of whom have already been born). Naam also sets aside more than one chapter to discuss the social, economic and personal human impact these innovations will have.

Here's a link to the book itself on Amazon:



“More Than Human is excellent—passionate yet balanced, clearly written and rich with fascinating details. A wonderful overview of a topic that will dominate the twenty-first century.” —Greg Bear, author of Dead Lines and Darwin’s Children

The author also likes this review, which he says captures the essence of his arguments:

http://nusapiens.blogspot.com/2005/03/book-review-more-than-human.html

Given the "becoming superhuman" theme of the forum, I like to keep throwing out links to "what's out there." Sadly, a full review of his book will have to wait until I can get my hands on it. And I commonly use Amazon's free (that is, slowest) delivery. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying his site and blog, and look forward to dissecting his ideas on here once I've had a chance to read, re-read and furiously debate his book face-to-face.


Future Imperative

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