Comment on The Human Condition in the future

alok subbarao Thu, Apr 15, 2010
It's very true that a lot of my post depends on how "right" society gets genetic engineering. Can we get around the practical and legal hurdles? Not for a while, I think. I think in 2030 we will have the power to genetically modify ourselves, but the legal obstacles will keep it as a scientific endeavor only. However, a few decades after that, many of the legal obstacles/ ethical arguments against it will have shifted, and the pace of technology will probably remove many of the practical hurdles. I would bet that GM starts with our soldiers - governments will all want to have their own ubermensch, which scares me but realistically I think that would be the first place it happens on humans. Athletes and criminals, I would think, would be the next to modify themselves, whether or not at the time it is deemed right or ethical. It's sort of the same thing plaguing, for example, professional baseball right now: when all of your teammates and competition are juicing themself up on steroids, how do you compete without changing yourself? (answer: you can't) I forgot, scientists will be keeping pace with them too. Right now we have psychostimulants like amphetamines, methylphenidate, and we are developing new, less-harmful (hopefully) ones like modafinil. A stepping stone to GM in my opinion is nootropics... in a decades time, how would a normal academic compete with his fellow scientist, mentally jucied on nootropics? clearly, i'm beginning to digress... maybe i should create another post about athletes and scientists by themselves.
Also luke-tudor, you are right in that "cybernetic" humans will have the same genes and therefore be the same species. But our definition of 'species' has continually changed over time, and I think it will have to change again to accomodate a bunch of Terminators running around (i say that tongue-in-cheek).