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More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement Paperback – August 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
He explains how these technologies can be helpful to society if embraced. The more compelling argument is how frightening they could be if restricted. He draws astute connections to the rise of already common technologies like reading or antibiotics. Even if you don't agree with everything he believes, his position is well argued, and insightful.
Most importantly, from a crowd screaming in panic about a changing world, Naam's perspective stands out as calm, optimistic, logical and caring.
That's the upside. What is also possible (although Naam does not dwell on this) is that with biological enhancement tools that are presently coming into discovery and use, we may transform ourselves into beings who will have satisfied their every desire, and with that satiation, have put an end to desire. The result may very well be the end of human evolution, biological or cultural. And following that, the end of the species that began as a big-brained walking ape six million years ago.
Or none of the above.
This is the exciting part. We have no idea where cultural evolution is going to take us. We have no idea whether we will develop the ability to stave off natural disasters (rogue comets; nearby supernovae; unstoppable pathogens) or overcome our propensity to self-destruction in the form of perpetual war or the poisoning of our environment. Yet, modern Luddites and social conservatives notwithstanding, we will indeed use the tools we develop to initially prevent and cure ailments and deficiencies, and ultimately to enhance our abilities to enjoy and to get the most out of life.
This is what this book is all about.Read more ›
Naam presents a wonderful and engaging survey of current, cutting-edge scientific research across various fields including medicine, genetics, biology, robotics, and computers. The central theme, of course, is that all of these endeavors involve improving the human body and/or mind.
Unfortunately, many oppose the idea of enhancing our minds and bettering our bodies. They argue that such desires are "unnatural" and go against what it means to be human. They further believe that decisions on the future technologies of bio-enhancement should be made by a select few. Naam convincingly argues that the desire to improve and enhance ourselves is in fact a central trait that defines our humanity. Indeed, nothing could be more "natural" than the interest in improving ones abilities, including the ability to have better, longer, and healthier lives. Naam also demonstrates how the governance of these issues by an elite cadre of political appointees is ultimately more harmful than allowing the billions of inviduals who will make use of these bio-enhancements to choose for themselves.
In sum, Naam writes clearly and with infectious excitement about topics that could easily be confused as science fiction. The great wonder however, as Naam is able to show us, is that these topics are very much science fact. We can not avoid what bio-enhancement will do to us as individuals and to our society. We should allow our enthusiasm and optimism to fully accept the inevitable changes that are coming, so that with full understanding we can properly integrate them into our lives.
Some readers may be put off by the directness with which he approaches issues which are very controversial, but these technologies are already in use and Naam makes a persuasive argument that, like it or not, the rest of them will be in regular use sooner or later.
While I am personally skeptical of the rose colored glasses through which Naam looks at the future, this book is an undeniably excellent introduction to our technological future and is an enjoyable read at that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Salient points about future and present technologies that are changing society. Successful in properly guiding mostly misinformed public opinion that may be created only by... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Schuster
Very thought-provoking look into bio-enhancements and what they mean for the future of mankind. Why the 3 stars, then? Read morePublished 10 months ago by Monty & Hobbes
Pretty good overview on human enhancements and the potential of future medicine as an elective augmentation rather than a pure therapy. Read morePublished 12 months ago by T J Runkles
Great material, but lots of editing errors and some clunky prose made it a bit challenging to complete. Still worthwhile.Published 15 months ago by HARI A RAO
Like this book so much. It is very helpful for people who start to learn about neuroscience. Many predictions are fascinating.Published 23 months ago by Qianyu Huang
Ramez Naam gives a good overview of some of the more amazing bio-enhancements that are right now being developed and explains them in simple language for the layperson. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Tim Holmes