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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 725)...

    I've been hearing a lot of discussion lately regarding transhumanism, gene therapy, using nanobots to clean people's arteries and eat cancer cells. I'm aware of the DARPA project to create "superhumans" in the military. Primarily, all of this talk seems to be geared toward the idea of prolonging individual lives...fighting human degeneration. Many authors who are products of mother culture debate whether the applications of these technologies will create a utopia or a dystopia. It seems that the ramifications of this technological "paradigm shift" on our population crisis are pretty obvious...but I assume that there are other factors (maybe even positive global factors) that I am not considering. I'm curious as to your opinion regarding all of this technology. Furthermore, I’m wondering if maybe you could go over some pros and cons for these technologies as well as the technologies that are products of Biomimicry.

    ...and the response:

    Obviously any new technologies that serve to prolong human life would would tend hasten our population growth, which already threatens the future of the human race. Realistically speaking, however, these technologies are being pursued by people who expect to make money from them, which means that they're likely to be primarily available only to the rich. Certainly governments are not going to support a general expansion of an elderly population, which would put further strains on budgets for social services (and increase unemployment among the young).

    The DARPA project basically just involves providing ordinary soldiers with armored, motorized exoskeletons for use in urban warfare (where armored vehicles are less effective)–just a normal improvement on existing technology, which I can't see as any threat to the human race.

    The science of biomimicry, which uses an ecological standard to judge the "rightness" of our innovations, appears to be one designed to work to our benefit.

    According to an article on The World Transhumanist Association web site, "Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have." This is certainly a lofty goal, and it seems to me a harmless occupation for those who still imagine that an endless future is assured for us.

    On the whole, I think it's premature to get too exercised over any these matters. There are much more critical issues to be concerned about.


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