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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.


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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

About those Cerebral Implants -- Accelerated Learning Versus Biotech. Or Not... -- AL, Bio, CPS, Mind, Noo, Soc

Someone on the Imagestream discussion group on Yahoo disputed the idea that a biotech augmentation would necessarily be as powerful as the intelligence-enhancing Image Streaming technique (reviewed here). I felt his remarks deserved a response...

Good points about the value of Image Streaming... Please note, the point of my site isn't to push a particular technology, but to help people become better informed about all aspects of human augmentation -- be it accelerated learning, gene therapy, creativity enhancement, germline engineering, mindtech devices, nootropic drugs and nutrients, and so forth. If there's a thesis behind Future Imperative, it's that the public needs to be informed of its options and of emerging technologies that may in fact change what it means to be human -- and change it far sooner than most people, even enthusiasts, believe possible.

As to your suggestion that Image Streaming might be cheaper and more efficient than any particular biotech enhancement, you may well be correct. But imagine the consequences if a modification such as the aforementioned protein dosing were bestowed upon a group of children who were also taught Image Streaming from an early age. And who also received powerful nootropic nutrients and drugs with no significant side effects. And who also made use of potent mindtech such as floatation tanks. And who were taught many specific ability and creativity-enhancing protocols, such as Borrowed Genius for skills, Beachhead for invention and Improvitaping for musical talent.

The point is that these breakthroughs are potentially so powerful they shouldn't be ignored. Whether or not a specific biotech measure turns its recipients into "superhumans," we can anticipate that augmentations will emerge capable of radically improving human intelligence. And that several of them will be able to work synergistically together, and with other enhancement resources.

Often we discuss each of these options in a vacuum in Western societies, assuming that the real question is just what our country chooses to pursue... or how the U.S. and the E.U. between them choose to react. Unfortunately, there are far more actors in the world capable of employing this research. Even ignoring the U.S., E.U. and G-7, you have South Korea, Taiwan, India, China, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. And a host of sizable corporations. And more than a few billionaires and near-billionaires. How long till one of them begins exploring these options? Or before I do? Or someone else on this list?

Remember, even an individual of relatively modest resources could develop this technology by using established augmentations to improve their intelligence and income, and reapplying those assets to acquiring yet further augmentations.

And despite the tendency of the human enhancement field to fragment into competing or self-consumed factions, someone will eventually recognize how many of these options exist, and that most can easily be combined. Poof! There goes the world as we know it. It was nice knowing ya.

Future Imperative


Blogger Brent Salmon said...

I just gotta say that Ralph, you're my new hero. Great rebuttal and I totally agree. I've had similar thoughts for years. I'd read some biofirm's research and hear them say "but this won't happen in humans for years because yatta yatta" only to do some more digging and find some other firm who already did the "yatta yatta". If more people communicated things might really get going, for good or bad.

October 27, 2005 11:28 PM  
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