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.
updated: 19 Aug 2005