Gizmag has an interview with some professors who specialize in analysing possible Transhuman enhancement and in particular the ethics of it. They posit scenarios under the assumption that things are equal now in terms of intelligence and lifespan.
Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, tells Gizmag that it will be important for people to consider what they are getting themselves into and what exactly they want to achieve.
Steve Fuller is the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.
Fuller agrees that such unintended consequences are the main consideration required when thinking about enhancement. “If, say, your memory is successfully enhanced, consider how else this might change your way of living and your relationship with people.” Warwick reiterates this point by asking, “With superintelligence, what would the enhanced folk do with the stupid unenhanced?”
Currently many of the “superintelligent” are those without brain damage. Currently the environment and health make people stupider. Those without damage have enhanced intelligence by comparison
48% of children in India are stunted. Diseases can leave brain damage when they do not kill. This reduces IQ points by 11-20 on average across the country. This makes India more poor. Providing improved public health to prevent malaria and other diseases that cause brain damage and providing needed micronutrients. If this happens over the next 5-10 years then 50% of their children would not have the stunting and brain damage problems. This could be a 20 point (1.5 standard deviation boost) to half of 60% of the worlds children. So 20 point boost to 45 million every year.
However, 30-35% of the worlds population (in Africa and Asia, but also in lower percentages in South America) had stunting and other brain damage.
About 8.5 percent of U.S. non-incarcerated adults have a history of TBI, and about 2 percent of the greater population is currently suffering from some sort of disability because of their injury. In prisons, however, approximately 60 percent of adults have had at least one TBI—and even higher prevalence has been reported in some systems.
What do current smarter people do with stupid people ? Try to avoid the 7-10% of them who cause trouble with crime ? Pay more taxes for the higher rates of unemployment and other societal issues
Shifting IQ by 20 points should drastically lower crime, poverty, unemployment and other social ills in the next generation
If we can change genes, then we have the technology to change them back as well
Andy Miah, director of the Creative Futures Institute at the University of the West of Scotland, has spent much of his career looking at the potential for human enhancement and what it might mean for us. Speaking to Gizmag, he explains that enhancement is not a new phenomenon, but that, increasingly, we have important decisions that will have to be made.
Society also has to consider the potential consequences for future generations of modifying humans today. “If we find out how to remove a specific gene to cure a disease, we may find that in 200 years time that gene is hugely important for another reason,” Miah explains.
NBF – If we can change or remove genes then we can change them back or add them back.
The Academics worry about the societal cost of longevity
There is Longevity dividend where longer and healthier lives makes for a stronger economy. Where is the country in the world today that has a short life expectancy but a stronger economy ? Life expectancy increased over the last 100-200 years. This made the economy better in the countries where that happened.
The differences within different levels of society and ethnicities in the same country and between countries is already decades.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.