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WHY HUMANKIND ISN’T READY FOR THE BIONIC REVOLUTION

 

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In the coming decades — probably sooner than most people realize — the next great wave of technological change will hit us. Its impact will be similar in scope to the advent of computers, cell phones and the internet. But it won’t be our gadgets being transformed; it will be our bodies and minds.

This shift will cut even more deeply than the great industrial revolutions of the past. It will alter how we make a living, communicate and interact while giving us increasingly direct control over our physical and mental states. Sounds great, right? There’s just one problem: Humankind simply isn’t ready.

We should deliberately postpone radical forms of self-modification until society has had a chance to gauge the consequences and acclimate to them.

Through the use of pharmaceuticals, we are learning how to modulate our moods, boost our physical and mental performance and increase our longevity and vitality. With prostheses, skull caps, wearable headsets and other bioelectronic devices, we are not only healing the blind and the paralyzed but beginning to reconfigure our bodies, enhance our memories and generate entirely new ways of interacting with machines. Thanks to genetic interventions, we are neutralizing once “incurable” diseases and opening up the very real possibility of taking evolution into our own hands — and completely overhauling the human “platform.”

 

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