Ok, back to deep and meaningful posts. This time I will experiment with video and to begin I would like to point you to the video below and would like to follow it up with a bit of a commentary of my own.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Interesting stuff huh? Definitely a strong theme of transhumanism throughout that talk. However as much as I support what he is saying I can’t help but feel something is a little odd about this talk. The main reason I feel a little odd about it is that it is not very original. I’ve heard these things before, from a bunch of people who are currently busy hyping genomics. This group of people are all collaborators, including (importantly) Craig Venter. So my question is, why are these influential and somewhat famous figures doing flaunting these transhumanism ideals as inevitable futures? Perhaps more importantly, what do they have to gain from doing so.
One answer is that they are doing this to try and raise public acceptance of these technologies, by focusing on their positive elements. A commendable goal if it is theirs, but obviously motivated in no small way by their economic investments in these areas (the whole “focus on the future when in the flames” line just screams of “give us grant money”). But what do you think? I’d love to hear opinions on my speculation.
In any case, he has his factual evidence right although his speculation might be a bit far fetched at times. Times are changing and now is a good time to be going into this sort of business (at least thats what I’m hedging on). Things might not advance quite as quickly or in the manner Juan presents us, but it will certainly advance nonetheless – and at no small speed.
I do have one gripe though. The name “Homo Evolutis”. For a start it appears they have chosen this name with the goal of having it catch on. It doesn’t make sense to me though, it is not a logical name. For one thing “Evolutis” seems to imply that our entire species should be defined by our ability to work on evolution. As much as I like biology, this just isn’t a good representation (although it does seem awfully familiar to the Zerg (see previous blog)). But on a technical note, we should note that cybernetics and genetic modification/engineering are NOT forms of evolution. Evolution is a natural process, a process which we are now skipping through the use of technology. So not only is the name not appropriate, it is also pretty inaccurate.