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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.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Fending Off Dementia -- New Scientist Podcast -- Bio, Soc

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Imagine that staying mentally active could help fend off dementia. A 2005 New Scientist podcast goes into the details of research on this subject.

You know, though the benefits of conventional mental exercise doesn't always get the press (or the controversy) of human augmentation research (like genetic engineering), challenging mental activity seems to be extremely useful in maintaining your mental abilities as you age. Just as regular exercise is an obvious way to maintain your physical health. And a good diet seems to be a means of achieving both ends.

It's worth adding... this kind of "acceptable" human augmentation, using conventional means, helps point out just how blurry the line can be between mundane fitness and educational goals and dramatic human enhancement. How, really, do you make a clear distinction between the two if using accelerated learning methods like faster reading and Image Streaming, non-invasive technologies such as floatation/sensory deprivation tanks, and non-drug supplements such as vitamins, ginseng and ginkgo biloba can, in aggregate, help make you far, far smarter than you were before?

What happens if you don't stop at "okay" and make yourself "better than well?"

And how do we classify you (or celebrate you, or scorn you) if your methods fall outside of accepted definitions of human augmentation?

The point to remember is that not every life-or-death therapy or radical human transformation has to come from overt technological modification. A human can be dramatically modified -- made, in the view of some, "Not Human" -- without drugs, cybernetics, genetics or complete bodily recomposition. And in fact, we may end up with many humans who have strayed across that line before we know where we intend to draw it.

As Alice said in Wonderland, "Curioser and curioser."


Future Imperative

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