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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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Human Brain Probably Still Evolving... -- Bio

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It's discoveries like these that make you wonder... Apparently scientists have found on the one hand that the human race may have in fact experienced a critical change to its genetics just before the explosion of language and discovery that gave rise to civilization, and they have also just recently discovered that deleting a key gene from certain species increases their lifespans by roughly six-fold.

Some people have argued that human beings already so fined tuned and so advanced in their abilities that no biological means of human augmentation is possible. In other words, if a just one or a handful of genes could be altered to create a markedly superior human, evolution, with so many trial-and-error mutations available to it, would have already found these options and granted them to humanity as a whole (or at least a rapidly spreading minority of humans that would mingle its genes with the rest of us).

Needless to say, such arguments ignore the fact that humanity's environment has changed dramatically over the last several thousand years and particularly in the last several centuries. Hence, some skills and capacities, such as advanced mathematical abilities, may not have been as heavily favored for survival as they are now. And some abilities are, of course, a net positive for the group to have -- such as high general intelligence, and most intellectual skills -- but if the jobs and opportunities made available to people with those useful gifts offer low wages and few prospects, then those talents may be artificially supressed.

Much as I am willing to admit that some advantages, such as enhanced muscular development, may have potential drawbacks, the point remains that potent genetic advantages clearly seem to be possible for us, and in the not-too-distant future. Even if cybernetics or artificial intelligence ultimately take the lead in the study of "human" augmentation, biotech is a very promising augmentation route in the meantime.

Just remember, whichever field manages to create dramatically better-than-human intelligence will be able to amplify the effectiveness of augmentation researchers in all fields, and thus will likely become the tipping point for whatever technology or technologies ultimately transform the human condition at its most fundamental level.


Future Imperative

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