Reporter and editor at the Washington Post, Joel Garreau talked about how we are engineering the next stage for human evolution through genetics, robotics, and nanotechnologies. There is an increasing emphasis on interfacing the mind with machines, he noted, citing recent experiments with a "telekinetic" monkey at Bell Labs as an example. The primate, whose brain was wired to a machine, was taught to control aspects of a video game by using just the thoughts in her head.
The military's DARPA is particularly interested in these mind-machine convergences said Garreau, and they've been experimenting with increasing the endurance and capacities of soldiers. For instance, it may be possible for a soldier to remain active for up to a week without sleep. Also on the horizon are "memory pills" to be aimed initially at "Baby Boomers banishing their senior moments," said Garreau. The drug companies already have these pharmaceutical products in Stage 2 Clinical Trials, he added.
This evolving future could become our heaven or our hell, Garreau forecast. On the plus side you have advancements like life extension and the ability to grow new limbs, but on the down side, genetic and other types of experimentation might go awry and in a worst case scenario lead to species extinction. He also talked about societal conflicts that may arise over "enhanced" children, and the disparities between kids who are given technological boosters and those who remain "as is."
Haunted New Orleans
First hour guest, tour guide Angel Rivero discussed hauntings and voodoo in New Orleans (Rivero was recently evacuated from there after the storm). The Superdome is allegedly cursed as it was built over a beautiful cemetery and the goal line for the Saints is where the front gate once was, she said. And at the Morgue Bar & Lounge, which was at one time New Orleans' first integrated mortuary, there have been numerous reports of a little girl, believed to have died of yellow fever, haunting the women's restroom.