Transhumanism: Securing the Post-Human Future
Transhumanism: If securing an enterprise seems tricky today, imagine installing firewalls in a few thousand employees' prefrontal lobes.
By Fred Hapgood
January 01, 2005 — CSO — Last fall, the editors of a leading public policy magazine, Foreign Policy, asked eight prominent intellectuals to identify the single idea currently posing the greatest threat to humanity. Most of the suggestions were old demons: various economic myths, the idea that you can fight "a war on evil," Americaphobia and so on. Only Francis Fukuyama, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, came up with a new candidate: transhumanism.
Transhumanism might be described as the technology of advanced individual enhancement. While it includes physical modifications (diamondoid teeth, self-styling hair, autocleaning ears, nanotube bones, lipid metabolizers, polymer muscles), most of the interest in the technology focuses on the integration of brains and computers
While some of these abilities are clearly quite far off, others are already attracting researchers (see "Making the Head Case," Page 52), and none are known (at the moment at least) to be impossible. Fukuyama obviously felt the technology is close enough at hand to write a book on it, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, the thrust of which is that society should give the idea a miss. His main concern was that transhumanism would place an impossible burden on the idea of equal rights, since it would multiply the number of ways of being human well past our powers of tolerance. (If we have all this trouble with skin color, just wait until some people have wings, augmented memory and reflex accelerators.)Ignorance Is No OptionStill, it's not clear that boycotting neurotech will be a realistic option. When the people around you