[ExI] Taxonomy of Human Enhancement

natasha at natasha.cc natasha at natasha.cc
Tue Jan 17 16:46:49 UTC 2012

Hi John,

Yes, this is all true.  There is enormous material on this topic.

I am only looking for the phrase "human enhancement", not what it is.  
I am in this field and have been for many years.  BUT no one has  
clearly ascertained where the exact phrase originated in any reference  
that I can find anywhere.  Over the past week, I was able to locate  
two instances: one in AI at MIT and other other in gene therapy.

Unless you have a reference to something else, I am all set.

Many thanks,

Quoting John Tracy Cunningham <johntc at gmail.com>:

> I am almost certainly jumping the gun here.  I have done only a little
> research and given the matter some thought.  It seems to me, at least
> initially, that:
> Therapy is, as previously stated, the return to normal range of a
> capability in a particular human (I speak here of humans for ease of
> reference, but I think this can be applied elsewhere).
> Enhancement is the improvement of a capability in a particular human beyond
> the individual's normal range, up to and including the best or highest
> performance observed in the human species.
> Extension is the improvement of a capability in a particular human beyond
> the best or highest performance observed in the human species.
> Augmentation is the addition of a capability to a particular human, which
> that human did not previously possess.  There is the possibility of
> extension after augmentation.
> Am I somewhere in the ballpark?
> Thanks and regards
> John
> On Sat, Jan 14, 2012 at 6:41 PM, Natasha Vita-More <natasha at natasha.cc>wrote:
>> HI Mirco,
>> Thanks.  Actually, I thought I had said this clearly in my original email,
>> but I guess not.  I was looking for the historical use of the phrase
>> "humane
>> enhancement", not humans altering biology, which is ancient (we can go as
>> far back as the Alchemists).
>> Best,
>> Natasha
>> Natasha Vita-More
>> PhD Researcher, Univ. of Plymouth, UK
>> Chairman, Humanity+
>> Co-Editor, The Transhumanist Reader
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
>> [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Mirco
>> Romanato
>> Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:49 AM
>> To: ExI chat list
>> Subject: Re: [ExI] Taxonomy of Human Enhancement
>> Il 10/01/2012 15:15, Natasha Vita-More ha scritto:
>> > Putting varied pieces together, I have a pretty clear understanding
>> > now. It is a synthesis of preceding and subsequent social events and
>> > technological paradigmatic shifts that spawned cybernetics' HCI and
>> > BCI and biotechnology's gene therapy. Issues of therapy vs.
>> > enhancement arose.  The New York Times article and Science mag
>> > article in 1972 spawned a concern and bioethics became a theoretical
>> > business.
>> Don't know if it is fit to the request, but the "human enhancement" idea
>> is old.
>> I have not direct access to the original strips of 1940's Captain
>> America but the talk is about a super-soldier serum able to enhance the
>> subject abilities at the peak of human ability.
>> Probably the idea come from the then newly developed substances:
>> > http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/steroids.asp
>> >
>> > "The history of anabolic steroids can be traced back to as early as
>> > 1930's, before the term steroid was even used. In the 1930's, a team
>> > of scientists was able to create a synthetic form of testosterone (a
>> > male hormone) to help treat men who were unable to produce enough of
>> > the hormone for normal growth, development, and sexual functioning.
>> > Later, during World War II it was found that this artificial form of
>> > testosterone could be used to help malnourished soldiers gain weight
>> > and improve performance."
>> >
>> > http://www.resistance88.com/topics/sport/nazisteroids1.htm#.TxGU3_kmbTo
>> >
>> >  Medicinally, steroids obviously have a very legitimate purpose for
>> > being. Athletically, their profound effect on the performance and
>> > appearance of users can neither be ignored nor denied. However,
>> > steroids didn't start being utilized for non-medical reasons for
>> > about a decade after being created. In the 40s, Nazi doctors provided
>> > steroids to their soldiers in an effort to make them more aggressive.
>> > The Soviet Union followed suit in the 50s by giving them to their
>> > athletes to enhance performance and strength..
>> Mirco
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