A long-time reporter and editor at The Washington Post and Law Professor, Joel Garreau discussed the ethical and strategic implications of emerging technology, military applications, and human enhancement capabilities. Humanity is at a turning point--we're the first species to be on the verge of taking control of our own evolution, he commented. With forthcoming enhancements, we could literally change what it means to be human, he added.
Different types of technology-- genetic, robotic, information, and nanotech are converging and could lead to three different scenarios, he detailed. In the "heaven" scenario we conquer "pain, suffering, stupidity, ignorance, and even death," in the next 20-40 years. But in the "hell" scenario, the technology ends up in the hands of madmen or fools and destroys the human race. A third option "prevail" focuses more on people and their abilities to respond imaginatively and spontaneously to the new technologies.
Age reversal drugs may be coming on the market within the next 6 to 7 years, such as a drug that mimics reservatrol -- in fact, we may be the last generation that has to die, reported Garreau, who noted there could be ethical and policy dilemmas related to a population living much, much longer. We could evolve into two different species-- the humans who choose or can afford enhancements, and those that prefer to remain natural or don't have access to the technologies. He also shared his views that environmentalism has begun to take on the qualities of a faith-based religion.
Last hour guest, author Jean Sasson talked about her new book Growing up bin Laden, in which she interviewed Osama's first wife Najwa, and his fourth-born son Omar. They revealed details of how Osama made them live in very austere conditions such as without electricity. He would even take them to the desert without food and water, or make them sleep inside holes they dug out of the ground. They both believe he is still alive.
Geneticists have offered an explanation for the strange wrinkles of Shar-Pei dogs. They found a particular gene related to skin production, and mutations in that gene likely led to the distinctive look of the breed. More here.
Bumper music from Tuesday January 12, 2010