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Retro: Human Changing
Jamais Cascio, 26 Aug 05

A growing number of very smart people argue that we are on the edge of a massive transformation of what it means to be human. Three excellent books about this transformation came out in the past year, James Hughes' Citizen Cyborg, Ramez Naam's More Than Human, and journalist Joel Garreau's Radical Evolution. The three authors have varied but complementary ideas about what human augmentation might entail, and (much to my pleasure) all three agreed to a collective interview. Human Changing is the result of that interview, and it remains the longest article we've ever published. It's so long that it actually exceeded the maximum length for the software, so be sure to read the "part II" linked at the bottom of the article.

I think we're going to see that path with any enhancement and I think what freaks people out is the idea that it's going to be used by people who simply want to have advantage over their competitors. If you buy that path, then you're looking in the very near term at a potential division of the species between the Enhanced, the Naturals, and the Rest. The Enhanced are the people who have the interest and the money to embrace all of these enhancements. The Naturals are the ones who could do it if they wanted to, but they're like today's vegetarians or today's fundamentalists, and they eschew these enhancements for either aesthetic or political or religious reasons. The third group is the Rest and either for reasons of geography or money, they don't have access to these enhancements and they hate and envy the people who do. That division could get pretty exciting pretty fast in terms of conflict.
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