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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.

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Making a Human Alien" -- A BBC Radio Program on Human Augmentation in Space

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This BBC radio broadcast discusses how humans could be made "superhuman" in order to optimize them for space travel.
Scientists are already working on new ways to keep humans alive for long periods, far from the Earth. Sue Nelson explores how in order to travel in space we will need to become human aliens.

This is an interesting piece, though it focuses more on the practical problems of sending unaugmented humans into space for long periods (a Mars mission, etc). It's interesting that there's not much discussion as to whether human augmentation is both possible and, even in the near-term, practical.

This segment is also a good reminder that there are many ways in which human beings might be optimized, including many potent augmentations that have nothing to do with enhancing human intelligence in any way. Realistically, we could easily end up with a great diversity of new human abilities as people are augmented for scientific research, athletic accomplishment, artistic creativity, deep-space exploration, combat missions and/or technological innovation.

This diversity is intriguing given that three of the most prominent subjects of human augmentation research are military personnel, athletes and astronauts.

I would argue that a degree of physical enhancement -- or at least, certain kinds of physical enhancement -- can clearly support the function of the biological brain. There is plenty of research, for example, indicating the benefits of cardio-vascular exercise on the brain. But even without these indirect intellectual benefits, the practical value of physical enhancements means we can anticipate a tremendous diversity in augmented humans -- barring some homogenizing force, such as a single, mandated set of biotech/cybernetic enhancements, or conversely, strict restrictions on what modifications people will be allowed to make use of.

But an intriguing prospect, either way.

Bio, Soc
Future Imperative

5 Comments:

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What a great site »

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