Augmentation: Is the Train Leaving the Station?

From: Ralph Cerchione (
Date: Sun Jul 17 2005 - 22:10:23 MDT

Hello, all. I originally posted this article yesterday on my blog at

Unfortunately, all of the links were stripped out of this copy when I put it
in this email, but that's life. You can check out the above link if you want
to examine those points, or you can go to if you want to survey my blog as a

Comments are welcome.


Given how fast augmentation techniques have been surfacing in recent years,
the question arises: How long before we have augmentation methods too
powerful to ignore? And for that matter, how long before we have neo-humans
who are in many ways definitively superior to the previous model -- that is
to say, the rest of us?

Personally, as a human-enhancement enthusiast, it has been surprising to see
progress in this field consistently outracing even my expectations.
Especially considering that no large organization or wealthy entity seems to
be pushing such research. Indeed, given the position of the President's
Council on Bio-Ethics, it would seem that the present attitude of the U.S.
government is relatively hostile to the field. Yet progress is continuing
regardless, and a number of breakthroughs enabling the creation of
"superhumans" using existing technology may already be possible.

So far on this blog, I've either discussed or linked to significant new
discoveries with the potential to create people who are "more than human."
There's been the techniques for doubling muscle mass and amplifying
cardio-vascular endurance through genetic manipulation -- already in use in
animals, and which experts speculated could well be in use in our next
Olympics, if they weren't already a part of the last one.

When injecting rats with the gene for IGF-1 and then having them exercise
results in a doubling of their muscle mass (and when merely being injected
and not exercising increases muscle size and strength by 15% to 30%), it
becomes clear that only a relative handful of such modifications would be
necessary for a genetically human "sub-species" to pull away from the rest
of us in terms of performance. Particularly if they started at an elevated
baseline of abilities.

And of course, there's been the various bio-energy manipulations described
here, here, here and here. And the accelerated learning and creativity
boosting techniques described here, here, here, here, here, here, here,
here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, among others. Some of my
previous articles, such as this one and this one, have surveyed the rate at
which science has been making strides in biologically enhancing human
beings. Obviously, there's no shortage of enhancement methods, even for
those of us not yet (or perhaps never) biologically, pharmacologically or
cybernetically augmented. Which raises the very basic question -- how long
before someone realizes that any effective methods for significant human
improvement could be synergistically combined, thus leading to ever more
radically evolved beings? And that a relatively simple program could take a
relatively small number of such people -- a few hundred to a few thousand or
tens of thousands -- and with a fairly small budget (within the reach of
many companies, not to mention nations) develop a host of "posthumans" to
serve that organization's interests...?

Not a grandiose leap of the imagination if the people in said program
included many of the leaders and thinkers of such a group, particularly
people who would have reason to expect to see great improvements in their
personal compensation in exchange for substantial improvements in the
quality of their work and thought. And who might be personally,
ideologically and/or philosophically devoted to the group and its goals.

Along these lines, here's my response to one query about potential augmented

"As to the exceptional individuals I mentioned, that was technically one of
the relatively fictional parts of the post (unlike, say, the two computers
engaged in automated biotech research). But you're right to ask about them,
because in fact both were based on human capabilities that have been
developed not through genetic engineering, but through regular practice of
particular disciplines.

"I'll save a more detailed discussion for another blog post, but to
summarize, the guy with the unusually well-developed capillaries is based on
simple techniques by Dr. Win Wenger for increasing healthy circulation to
your brain. He's the easier of the two to create through simple, daily
exercises -- especially given several years of work.

"The girl with the superior limbic access/learning skills is based on a
number of accelerated learning techniques, including a number of hypnosis
methods developed (and never written down) by Dr. Milton Erickson, Dr.
Raikov, and others. She'd be more difficult to develop -- in particular the
kind of automatic access to her superlearning gifts that I describe -- but
given the research and an intensive project to create one or more such
people, hardly impossible.

"One key point of this article was that there are a number of ways to
develop a superhuman (or "superentity"). Also implied, I think, is the point
that many of the methods available could be used to enhance each other -- a
genetically augmented person using accelerated learning and mindtech to
leverage their assets and then turning around to improve a computer system
that researches biotech options.

"You quickly end up with a snowball effect here. Or a "Singularity." =)"

Future Imperative -- A broad look at human enhancement, from gene therapy to
accelerated learning, from neural implants to smart drugs, from posthuman
evolution to the wildest flights of human imagination.

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