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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.

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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.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Augmentation: Is the Train Leaving the Station? -- AL, Bio, CPS, Plan, Soc

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Given how fast augmentation techniques have been surfacing in recent years, the question arises: How long before we have augmentation methods too powerful to ignore? And for that matter, how long before we have neo-humans who are in many ways definitively superior to the previous model -- that is to say, the rest of us?

Personally, as a human-enhancement enthusiast, it has been surprising to see progress in this field consistently outracing even my expectations. Especially considering that no large organization or wealthy entity seems to be pushing such research. Indeed, given the position of the President's Council on Bio-Ethics, it would seem that the present attitude of the U.S. government is relatively hostile to the field. Yet progress is continuing regardless, and a number of breakthroughs enabling the creation of "superhumans" using existing technology may already be possible.

So far on this blog, I've either discussed or linked to significant new discoveries with the potential to create people who are "more than human." There's been the techniques for doubling muscle mass and amplifying cardio-vascular endurance through genetic manipulation -- already in use in animals, and which experts speculated could well be in use in our next Olympics, if they weren't already a part of the last one.

When injecting rats with the gene for IGF-1 and then having them exercise results in a doubling of their muscle mass (and when merely being injected and not exercising increases muscle size and strength by 15% to 30%), it becomes clear that only a relative handful of such modifications would be necessary for a genetically human "sub-species" to pull away from the rest of us in terms of performance. Particularly if they started at an elevated baseline of abilities.

And of course, there's been the various bio-energy manipulations described here, here, here and here. And the accelerated learning and creativity boosting techniques described here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, among others. Some of my previous articles, such as this one and this one, have surveyed the rate at which science has been making strides in biologically enhancing human beings. Obviously, there's no shortage of enhancement methods, even for those of us not yet (or perhaps never) biologically, pharmacologically or cybernetically augmented. Which raises the very basic question -- how long before someone realizes that any effective methods for significant human improvement could be synergistically combined, thus leading to ever more radically evolved beings? And that a relatively simple program could take a relatively small number of such people -- a few hundred to a few thousand or tens of thousands -- and with a fairly small budget (within the reach of many companies, not to mention nations) develop a host of "posthumans" to serve that organization's interests...?

Not a grandiose leap of the imagination if the people in said program included many of the leaders and thinkers of such a group, particularly people who would have reason to expect to see great improvements in their personal compensation in exchange for substantial improvements in the quality of their work and thought. And who might be personally, ideologically and/or philosophically devoted to the group and its goals.

Along these lines, here's my response to one query about potential augmented humans:

"As to the exceptional individuals I mentioned, that was technically one of the relatively fictional parts of the post (unlike, say, the two computers engaged in automated biotech research). But you're right to ask about them, because in fact both were based on human capabilities that have been developed not through genetic engineering, but through regular practice of particular disciplines.

"I'll save a more detailed discussion for another blog post, but to summarize, the guy with the unusually well-developed capillaries is based on simple techniques by Dr. Win Wenger for increasing healthy circulation to your brain. He's the easier of the two to create through simple, daily exercises -- especially given several years of work.

"The girl with the superior limbic access/learning skills is based on a number of accelerated learning techniques, including a number of hypnosis methods developed (and never written down) by Dr. Milton Erickson, Dr. Raikov, and others. She'd be more difficult to develop -- in particular the kind of automatic access to her superlearning gifts that I describe -- but given the research and an intensive project to create one or more such people, hardly impossible.

"One key point of this article was that there are a number of ways to develop a superhuman (or "superentity"). Also implied, I think, is the point that many of the methods available could be used to enhance each other -- a genetically augmented person using accelerated learning and mindtech to leverage their assets and then turning around to improve a computer system that researches biotech options.

"You quickly end up with a snowball effect here. Or a "Singularity." =)"

Future Imperative

10 Comments:

Blogger Brent Salmon said...

In your paragraph quoted here: "And of course, there's been the various bio-energy manipulations described here, here, here and here. And the accelerated learning and creativity boosting techniques described" The first of the "here" links, leads to an article on artificial diamond. How does that pertain to bio energy manipulations?

August 01, 2005 2:02 AM  
Blogger Ralph Cerchione said...

Hi, Brent, and thanks for pointing that out. The error has been corrected. Apparently when I clicked copy on one of my links, it copied the wrong one. And once you've put the hyperlink into your draft, you can't really check it until you print the article. (Assuming you even anticipate such a freak error...)

I, of course, hope that everyone searched the entire site and the Web for relevant bio-energy articles that could fill that space. But then I'm an optimist. =)

August 02, 2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger Brent Salmon said...

Ah cool. It occurs to me that my comment sounded a little smart-alecky at the end. Heh, not intended. Love the Blog BTW.

August 03, 2005 6:01 AM  
Blogger cylon said...

Your subconscious mind is a powerful force. It can be an un-defeatable ally or a dangerous foe! It is a powerful force of nature that can be harnessed and made to work for us or it can be a wild beast that runs riot with our lives.
How powerful is 'powerful'?

Take the first Atomic Bomb - it could lay waste to an entire city in seconds. Or the gravitational pull of the Sun which stops our tiny planet from hurtling into space. Imagine the power of a black hole - that region of spacetime from which nothing can escape not even light travelling at 186 thousand miles a second. The Universe is full of powerful forces. Yet, all these wondrous things pale into insignificance when compared to the power of the subconscious mind.

The subconscious part of your mind is that part which regulates your heartbeat, lungs, digestive system and everything else in your body. It directs the inner workings of your body and such things as (what biologists call) 'machines' - tiny living cells that are composed of motors, drive-shafts and propellers - seriously!!! There is mounting evidence that the cells in our bodies have memory and that our very DNA is coded with memories of our ancestors. As well as having full control of all these functions and more your subconscious also retains all the thoughts, experiences and emotions you have ever felt. It regulates the most complicated mechanism in the unknown Universe - your body - and it can calculate the trajectory of multiple moving objects while supplying you with the words necessary to debate an issue while controlling a complex task of activities such as driving a car!
These tasks alone show how powerful the subconscious mind is. But it is much more powerful than that!

The truth is: No-one knows the limits of the subconscious mind's power!

Tell yourself that you will wake up at 6 a.m. and chances are you will awake. Go to a crowed party and through a mass of voices you will hear someone at the other side of the room mention your name! Set a problem aside and miraculously, out of nowhere, the answer comes while you are involved in another task. It recreates situations in your life that correspond to your beliefs. Time and time again you find yourself in the same situations, with similar partners, in almost identical jobs. Like a wheel your subconscious mind creates situations that bring your life back to the same spot.
Likewise it can totally transform your life - even overnight! It can bring you new situations, life experiences, luxuries and even people.

However, it is like a na�ve child or a better analogy is that of a computer. It believes everything that you tell it. Your conscious mind is the gatekeeper. Anything you think with complete faith is immediately past to the subconscious mind - which it then takes as literal fact. There will be no arguments because it has no discriminating capabilities.
Although your subconscious mind is more powerful than you can possibly imagine it is a mere servant. It is at your disposal. YOU are in charge. It acts just like a computer and like every computer it needs software to run. So if you do not program it then someone else will! You are constantly being bombarded with software programs for the mind every minute of everyday. Buy this product and you will look slim, drive this car and you will seem sexy, drink this potion and you will feel more vibrant about life. You are told what to buy and when to buy it, when you are too young to do a thing and when you are too old. You are told what is possible and what is not. Snap out of it!
Take back your control over mind and body. You were born with the most powerful computer system known to man - a bio-computer that regulates a sophisticated, highly flexible, changeable, self repairing vehicle. You are amazing, a true miracle. If you bought a new top of the range diesel Mercedes would you let Joe or Sue down the road fill it up with petrol?
Begin to think for yourself. Who told you that you could not achieve your dreams? Do you believe it? Who told you that you were too fat, too skinny, too stupid, too smart, too young or too old?

Does it matter?

No! Because you are and always have been in total control. Change your thinking and you will change your subconscious beliefs. Change your subconscious beliefs and you will change your life. personal development

October 17, 2006 4:07 AM  
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