Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Most Dangerous Idea on Earth?

By Stephen Cave and Friederike von Tiesenhausen Cave
Financial Times

It is easy to see how you could be tempted. It might start with genetically screening your children for a lower risk of a hereditary cancer. Or perhaps with a pill that promised to keep your memory fresh and clear into old age.

But what if, while you were having your future children engineered to be cancer-free, you were offered the chance to make them musically gifted? Or, if instead of taking a memory-enhancing pill, you were offered a neural implant that would instantly make you fluent in all the world’s languages? Or cleverer by half? Wouldn’t it be difficult to say no? And what if you were offered a whole new body - one that would never decay or grow old?

A growing number of people believe these will be the fruits of the revolutions in biotechnology expected this century. And they consider it every individual’s right to take advantage of these changes. They think it will soon be within our reach to become something more than human - healthier, stronger, cleverer. All we have to do is live long enough to be around when science makes these advances. If we are, then we may just live forever.


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