from the Failures-of-vision dept.
Mr_Farlops writes "The New York Times examines Dr. Francis Fukuyama's new book, Our Posthuman Future ("A Dim View of a `Posthuman Future' ", by Nicholas Wade, 2 April 2002). Some may recall Fukuyama as the author of The End of History and the Last Man. In this new book he exchanges the optimism of that earlier work for a pessimistic view of the future of biotechnology. It is his view that science is rapidly aquiring the tools to fundamentally redefine what human nature is. He wonders, while acknowledging the evil that Napoleon and Caesar did, what we may lose if advanced neurotherapy simply edits that type of personality out of society. Of course nanodotters are already very familiar with this line of thinking, what with Joy, Weizenbaum, Sales, Kaczynski and others but, it might be worthwhile to read and comment on the article."
According to the article, Fukuyama fears that "Major increases in human longevity could also be disruptive . . . because 'life extension will wreak havoc with most existing age-graded hierarchies,' postponing social change in countries with aging dictators and thwarting innovation in others." The article also notes "[Fukuyamaís] views are not academic; he has an official voice on such matters as a member of the White House's Council on Bioethics" So is Leon Kass, who doesnít like the idea of human cloning, either (see Nanodot post from 31 August 2001.)