What methods should be explored for the betterment of Man?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by JBeukema, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    So, there are a variety of technologies that might be explored. Genetic modification might be limited to removing mutations known to cause serious medical problems. It might be extended to purposefully implanting mutations and alleles with beneficial effects into the children of those who choose to participate. We could look into, at some point, modifying man in more drastic methods to engineer our own form, be it by incorporating the DNA of other species or seeking to find a way to custom engineer ourselves using computers intent on decoding DNA. Should there be restrictions against 'aesthetic changes'?

    We might look into cybernetics. The could be limited to repairing damaged bodies or extended to improving those who choose to participate (and can afford it, as costs will be prohibitive early on, in all probability).


    What technologies and medicines should be explored and what limitations should be set in place?
     
  2. N4mddissent
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    N4mddissent Active Member

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    All of them. If we can agree on a definition of betterment. ;)
     
  3. G.T.
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    I'd look at this: We live now longer than ever, because of scientific advancement; BUT maybe we COULD be living to 120+ if we weren't negating much of that progress with the poisonous artificial foods that are made available to us.

    But, then we'd have to debate the freedom aspects of "making" people eat a perfectly healthy diet. It's for their own good, and chances are they probably couldn't do-so unless forced, as evidenced by persons and their ability to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

    I think if we started from scratch, so to speak, had a little bit of population control via temporary caps on the amount you can reproduce(thus extending our resources and not needing "growth hormones" and such); we can better man-kind.

    But this limits freedom, and that's the crux. I don't know the answer to this except to raise a generation that's not accustomed to these amazing tasting things, thus not knowing what they're missing.




    Then, if we're alive to 120, we have that much more time, knowledge and experience to further enhance mankind.
     
  4. N4mddissent
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    N4mddissent Active Member

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    I guess the solution is to allow us to do anything to ourselves but have science find a way to fix it. lol
     
  5. JBeukema
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    The goal is not merely the prolonging of life, but the prolonging of the most enjoyable parts of one's life. Surely, five years added onto your life are worth more if the 'middle' of your life in lengthened than ten or fifteen years barely alive in a hospital bed, yes? By the same reasoning, to do such a thing as you hint at would be counterintuitive, as it would be a tyranny that robbed people of one of the most basic freedoms and pleasures in life.
     
  6. JBeukema
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    Let us discuss that definition, then. Perhaps we should assemble a list of objectives we would like to see achieved and how we might measure success.

    I propose::
    -Identify hereditary genetic mutations that contribute to disease, including but not limited to
    ----Haemophilia
    ----Huntington's Disease
    ----Tay-Sachs
    -----Neurofibromatosis
    ----Muscular dystrohy
    ----et al

    -Identification, replication, and the distribution for optional inclusion of genetic mutations with significant discernible medical value and the potential to better the human condition, including but not limited to
    the delta ccr5 mutation responsible for HIV resistance, following further study of its role and any possible side effects


    -The study of medical treatments, genetic, chemical, neurological, and other, that might ease known medical conditions, including but not limited to searching for ways to improve the human ability to heal from injury and marrying electromechanical prosthetics to the neurological system to restore use of lost or damaged limbs, and slowing the rate of post-maturity senescence (aging) and body 'decay'.
     
  7. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Just off the top of meh head:

    1. Genetics, since it's my specialty. I don't think I need to elaborate much. Just note, it is very difficult to make genetic modifications stick in an adult organism.

    2. Cybernetics. My University has developed cybernetic implants that allow the deaf to hear...sight, prosthetics, and organ enhancement will be next. Not to mention the eventual "brain jack," the ultimate mind-machine interface.

    3. Organ replacment therapy, with lab-grown organs. We're almost there, give the technology another 10-15 years, and organ donation will be a thing of the past.

    4. Anti-aging pharmacology. We've largely identified the biochemical processes that cause cellular aging and depredation of DNA...it is only a matter of time until we can reverse or halt them.

    5. Chemical enhancement of the human body. Already, many of my peers/colleagues use drugs such as Provigil...which allows you to perform dramatically beyond your normal intellectual capability for 36 hours at a time.

    It may not be long before employers require their employees to take cognitive enhancers...

    6. Genetically Modified Food. How? Factory-farming, although we need it to produce enough food for the world, produces crops with few nutrients. GMOs can change that, turning simple staples, such as rice, into extremely nutritious food.

    7. Use of nano-bots to treat illness. Already, scientists are developing miniature robots that swim through your arteries, detecting and eliminating blood clots as they form. Keep a couple of them swimming through your bloodstream at all times, and your chance of heart attack goes way down.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  8. JBeukema
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    Clarify. I was speaking of of modifying the individual germ cell prior to fertilized or of modifying the sequence of the fertilized egg, whichever (or any other) shows itse3lf to be the most successful in the future.

    Some time ago, I read of a paraplegic with an implant in his brain that allowed him to open the blinds and control the TV in his house. I expect this technology will developed and accepted by the masses more quickly than genetics.

    My only objection to these practices is the needless killing of fetuses as a primary source for stem cells. I await the results of studies on the how the differences of between stem cells and reprogrammed cells will effect such studies. Hopefully, reprogrammed cells from adult donors will be able to provide the cells needed to put these technologies into widespread use.

    I expect those who cannot afford it at first to accuse those who can of an 'unfair advantage'
    I expect laws to be passedto prevent that, although the requirements of the job might cause it to become a de facto requirement.


    This will, of course, become weaponless. I fear that science cannot cure the most horrible cause of human ailments: the metaphysical human heart' and the very nature of humanity.
     
  9. G.T.
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    What's counter-intuitive is eating for pleasure at the detriment of our health. And that pleasure would not be missed if we could raise a generation who doesn't experience "artificial" flavors, at all; but only real & natural foods.

    I don't promote this idea, it's just an idea.
     
  10. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    "Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences." Lewis Mumford



    So in the end how do we live in peace, is peace our goal, everyone's goal, does sharing matter, is the solution in technology, or in the way we live? So many questions, another topic I find fascinating and have read a great deal on. Bostrom is the technologist, or should I say he is the rare thinker who know his time is limited. Mumford's books are excellent, I read most long ago. Postman brings the human back into the picture and Stoll is one funny dude. I love his energy. I'll have to think a bit more about the question.


    "Suppose we get many little things right and make some progress. What use, if we are marching in the wrong direction? Or wasting our resources on projects of small utility while pivotal tasks are left undone? What if we are profoundly mistaken about what matters most?" Nick Bostrom

    Nick Bostrom's Home Page

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Human-Enhancement-Julian-Savulescu/dp/0199299722/]Amazon.com: Human Enhancement: Julian Savulescu, Nick Bostrom: Books[/ame]


    "But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, "How did it all begin?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." To the question, "How will it all end?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. Moreover, the science-god has no answer to the question, "Why are we here?" and, to the question, "What moral instructions do you give us?", the science-god maintains silence." Neil Postman


    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Technopoly-Surrender-Technology-Neil-Postman/dp/0679745408/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247742521&sr=1-11]Amazon.com: Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology: Neil Postman: Books[/ame]


    "We have created an industrial order geared to automatism, where feeble-mindedness, native or acquired, is necessary for docile productivity in the factory; and where a pervasive neurosis is the final gift of the meaningless life that issues forth at the other end." Lewis Mumford

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Technics-Civilization-Lewis-Mumford/dp/015688254X/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247742575&sr=1-9]Amazon.com: Technics & Civilization: Lewis Mumford: Books[/ame]


    "Rather than bringing me closer to others, the time that I spend online isolates me from the most important people in my life, my family, my friends, my neighbourhood, my community." Clifford Stoll

    This is brilliant. Clifford Stoll on ... everything | Video on TED.com


    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Snake-Oil-Thoughts-Information/dp/0385419945/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247742649&sr=1-2]Amazon.com: Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway: Clifford Stoll: Books[/ame]



    "There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory." Neil Postman
     

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