Sunday, December 26, 2010

Human morphology-changing technologies

To date, most technology has been human-created. It can be grouped into two categories, technologies that are not likely to have an immediate direct impact on human morphology, and those that might.

Technologies that would likely not change human morphology
There could be the rapid advent of significantly more dramatic technologies than have been experienced to date. While these new technologies could change some aspects of life, human biological drives could remain unchanged, and therefore the structure and dynamics of human societal organization, interaction, and goal pursuit could also remain unchanged. Some examples of these advances could include the realization of molecular nanotechnology, quantum computing, cold fusion, and immortality. Even with several of these revolutionary technologies implemented, the seemingly different world would not actually be structurally different if humanity is still ordered around the same familiar biologically-driven goals.

Technologies that might change human morphology
The other group of technologies is those which could possibly have a near-term impact on the structure and form of what it means to be human, for example, cognitive augmentation, genomic therapies, and synthetic biology. The area with the greatest possible change is improving human mental capability. There have been several significant advances in a variety of neurology-related fields in the last few years that if ultimately realized, could potentially alter human morphology. Even the resolution of all mental pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, stroke rehabilitation, and addiction would constitute morphological change at a basic level. Augmenting cognition and deliberately managing biophysical states would constitute morphological change at other levels.

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