The other day, a good friend of mine sent me a link to an article in the LA Times entitled, You're not good enough! Human evolution is now being engineered. Choose to enhance yourself or face inferiority, by Joel Garreau of the Washington Post. Mr Garreau is the author of a newly published book, "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human" At first, I thought the whole thing was a joke.
Let me offer an amusing tidbit from the article:
In the next few years, your child will come home from school in tears. He'll say, once again, that he is unable to compete with the children who are brighter, better behaved and physically more capable than he is because their parents have bought them technological enhancements and you have not. What will you do?
In the next few years?! I don't think so!
Anyone who thinks that we'll begin seeing "enhanced" or "augmented" humans in the next few years, scientist or otherwise, needs to begin practicing what I like to call "reality-based thinking." Several years back, as we were on the verge of finally mapping the human genome, the same cry went out... "We are going to enhance human life, wipe out disease, cure cancer, give everyone built-in antennae for better digital television reception!" Okay, not that last thing, but everything else definitely.
So, what have you heard SINCE we finished mapping our DNA? Very little, right?
That's because, when we were done, we wound up with more questions than answers. We mapped the human genome and we learned, basically, that we don't know a hell of a lot more than we thought we didn't know. If that makes any sense. You could almost hear the cry of scientists and politicians everywhere as they raised a collective "D'OH!" regarding what they had learned.