Future Tense

Human Enhancement for Everyone! Or No One?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

For the past month, the future-y blogosphere has been talking about how, exactly, we’ll know when transhumanism—human enhancement through technology, to put it briefly—has been achieved. In July, Kyle Munkittrick proposed on Discover’s Science Not Fiction blog that there are seven factors for attaining transhumanism, such as people preferring prosthetics to the limbs they were born with.

The discussion has taken a new turn now, with the New Atlantis’ Charles T. Rubin asking whether the entire theory of transhumanism may be headed for “quaint obscurity.” He notes that people are irritated with over-Photoshopped celebrities, “suspicious” of genetically modified foods, and Japan has not embraced elder-care robots the way some anticipated. Forbes’ Alex Knapp has piggy-backed on Rubin’s post, trying to bring some realism to the conversation: “I think that there is a very real unease with some aspects of genetic engineering and human modification that doesn’t get a lot of play among transhumanist advocates,” he writes.

Perhaps it’s splitting the baby, but there doesn’t seem to be as much conversation about whether transhumanism is an everyone-or-no-one equation. Not everyone with glasses has embraced LASIK, after all.

Read more on Discover’s Science Not Fiction, the New Atlantis’ Futurisms, and Forbes.