Re: New Book - "Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age"

From: Paul Fidika (
Date: Sun Mar 09 2003 - 12:36:00 MST

Damien Broderick wrote:

>Sic fi, semper fi, sick fic. What we need, of course, is sic fix.

Hehe, who would've thought someone could extrapolate so much on one little
typo? Good point though. ^_^

Samantha Atkins wrote:

>There is no reason global nanotechnology need be pernicious
>unless you intended the above to parse as "global nanotechnology
>war OR nuclear war". Personally I see no reason why genetically
>altered super-humans would be the next step. I can think of
>several positive next steps that do not require this and that
>leave us very much alive and happy. I think it more likely that
>humans would, depending on the steepness of takeoff, either be
>augmented by wearable/ubiquitous/implanted computers or
>uploaded. I think the genetic modification way is too pokey and
>will become increasingly irrelevant.

Yes, I meant that McKibben saying we're standing at a critical threshold is
false since we've already passed it, and only a massively global catastrophe
such as a nanowar, nuclear war, a massive meteor colliding with the Earth et
cetra, can stop it. No amount of legislature any country can pass, any book
someone may write, or any number of paranoid Luddites crying out for
attention while living in shacks in the forest sending poor secretaries
mail-bombs can stop it from happening, the best they can do is merely delay
it by a few years.

Maybe instead of using the term "genetically altered super-humans," I
should've said "biologically altered super-humans." I agree with you; humans
will be enhanced and augmented by technology to the point at which it is
questionable to call them humans anymore, but it is more likely this will
happen through uploading, or integrating nanocomputers into the human body
some how, not through merely rewriting the human genome (which is what I
meant originally; I should've worded it better). Does anyone on the list
(who has read the book or is more familiar with McKibben's arguments) know
if McKibben talks at all about uploading / human-machine computers, or just
biological engineering?

>>Perhaps his book should have been titled: "Caution: Staying Humane in an
>>Engineered Age"

>That I like.

Yeah, I had to give myself a pat on the back after that one :-)


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