[extropy-chat] Re: HACCP as a tool to Integrate/Synchronize Disruptive Technologies

Lifespan Pharma/Morris Johnson CTO megao at sasktel.net
Sun Jan 15 15:48:35 UTC 2006

Lifespan Pharma/Morris Johnson CTO wrote:

> Some thoughts about novel ways to deploy "next generation"   HACCP 
> high level management systems.
> One can deploy HACCP protocols  to integrate and synchronize and 
> optimize disruptive technologies
> Was reading a piece in "CIO Insight"  -RFID article  while watching 
> Star Trek Enterprise- episode about "temporal management"  with 
> consideration
> of - food/nutriceutical/drug security-bioterrorism-agroterrorism  
> HACCP applications article.
> HACCP  for disruptive technology  tools:
> RFID - transactional tool
> HACCP for Humans - lifespan/healthspan  sentience optimization tool
> Carnivore/Internet  et. al.- information and security managment tools
> GPS/GIS- logistical management tool
> Bio-Cyber-Nano  HACCP- biomechanical  management tool
Think Tanks like Exi  and Futuretag can work to deploy HACCP protocols 
as a Singularity Managment Tool and do so as a commercial venture.

It is my opinion that the gravitational eddys of the singularity have 
been upon us since perhaps 1995 when the functional seamless global  
began to displace  all other mediums of connectivity and facilitated 
real-time  access to knowledge of a broad spectrum of  technological
change events while similtaneously   corroding conventional barriers to  
social interaction .

An thus, such broad discussion as that below becomes a daily coffee row 
instead of being sequestered in some obscure clique of techies.


Shall we enhance?

Transhumanism says we're a species in flux

By Elaine Jarvik <http://deseretnews.com/dn/staff/card/1,1228,82,00.html>
Deseret Morning News
      Stupidity and sadness, cancer and bad golf scores. In the world 
according to transhumanism, these and other human frailties will 
eventually go the way of scurvy. Also on the horizon: immortality.
Jessica Berry, Deseret Morning News
      The possibilities are either tantalizing or terrifying, depending 
on your point of view. Transhumanists embrace a future in which everyone 
has the right to live a life beyond current biological limitations. 
Their detractors argue that all these radical enhancements will make us 
less human.
      That depends on what you mean by "human," say transhumanists, 
whose very name suggests a species in flux.
      As the World Transhumanist Association notes on its Web site, 
transhumanism is based on the premise that "the human species in its 
current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a 
comparatively early phase." Eventually, say transhumanists, we may 
indeed become "posthuman" -- such an amalgamation of nanotechnology and 
neuropharmaceuticals, so changed by our interface with microchips and 
nanorobots, so much smarter, happier and healthier, that we hardly would 
be recognizable to early 21st century eyes.
      It's science fiction based on science fact, a trajectory that 
begins with emerging technologies like cyberkinetic chips and gene 
therapy, says James Hughes, president of the World Transhumanist 
Association and author of "Citizen Cyborg." Actually, says Hughes, that 
trajectory began as soon as our Paleolithic ancestors started taking 
care of everyone who was toothless, a point at which we first 
transcended natural selection, he says. We have relied on technologies 
of one sort or another for millennia -- from eye glasses to antibiotics 
-- to continually make ourselves better than we naturally are.
      But where do we draw the line? Or should we draw a line at all?
      How smart should we be allowed to be? How tall? How happy? If we 
can make depressed people less depressed, should we make happy people 
more happy? If we can make our children healthier and smarter, if we can 
eliminate much of the suffering in the world through technology, do we 
have a moral responsibility to do so? Or do we have a moral 
responsibility to speak out against it?
      These questions and hundreds of others will face humanity in the 
decades to come. There will likely come a time in the not-so-distant 
future when we will look back on simpler issues -- steroid use by 
baseball players, for example -- with a certain nostalgia for simpler times.
      Jeremy Jones, a University of Utah senior majoring in philosophy, 
is writing his honors thesis on the fuzzy distinction between treatment 
and enhancement. A treatment, for example, would be a drug to help 
Alzheimer's patients improve their failing memories. "Of course we would 
say 'Let's let Grandpa use it, to bring him back so he can be a 
functioning part of society,' " Jones says.
      But what if the same drug could help a college student, as Jones 
says, "catch an edge"? At what point is the drug the mental equivalent 
of muscle-building steroids? "These conditions exist on a continuum," he 
says. "That's why it's so hard to draw the line."
      The same dilemma will exist when we figure out how to give people 
a genetic tweak so they won't ever get dementia," says "Citizen Cyborg" 
author Hughes. On the one hand, it's a medical therapy. On the other, 
it's a way of fiddling with the natural aging process.
      "Bio-Luddites" is what Hughes calls people who want to ban the 
technologies and drugs that would help humans live beyond their current 
potential. "There are people who are mobilizing to ban these 
technologies; we would do well not to underestimate them," says Hughes, 
who also teaches health policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
      "Bioconservatives are very attached to four score and six, and the 
IQ, as definitions of what it means to be human," he says. "But what it 
means to be human is to push all those boundaries." Just look how far 
we've come from our agricultural ancestors, who "were flea-bitten and 
had short lives," he adds.
      Critics of pushing boundaries come from both the political right 
and left, he says, pointing to conservatives such as Francis Fukuyama of 
the President's Council on Bioethics (which in 2003 published a critical 
report called "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of 
Happiness") and liberal activists such as Jeremy Rifkin, president of 
the Foundation on Economic Trends.
      The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's R. Albert Mohler Jr. 
is another vocal opponent of radical enhancements. It's one thing, he 
says, to try to give a person with bad eyesight 20/20 vision, and it's 
another to try to create humans whose eyesight is superhuman. The 
latter, he says, uses science "to redefine the species."
      "From a Christian worldview perspective," he says, "there are two 
problems with this. First, you have the normative definition of what it 
means to be a human being made in the image of God." To try to exceed 
normal human capacities, he says, "is to open, quite literally, a 
Pandora's Box of moral problems."
      The second problem, Mohler says, is the transhumanist desire to 
prolong life beyond normal aging. "The tranhumanists increasingly see 
death as an oddity that is to be overcome. Christians certainly do not 
embrace death as a good in itself, but we understand that death is a 
part of what it means to be human, and that, indeed, the effort to 
forever forestall death is itself an act of defiance that will be both 
unworkable and morally suspect."
      Richard Sherlock takes a different view. Sherlock is a philosophy 
professor at Utah State University, one of only several Utah members of 
the World Transhumanist Association -- and also a practicing member of 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
      "We ought to be able to look at the future as an opportunity, not 
a threat," says Sherlock, who is also a board member of the Journal of 
Evolution and Technology. "I don't think you can say God has said 'this, 
but no more.' All these technologies are ways in which we become more 
like our Creator," he adds. In fact, he says, the idea of a continually 
advancing human "fits better within a Mormon context that sees humanity 
as a developing structure, aspiring to be more like God."
      Not that technology doesn't present potential challenges, he says. 
But "we can't put our head in the sand and hope they go away. They need 
careful thought in light of the moral and religious traditions of the 
      "The really important question that transhumanists themselves 
worry about," he adds, "is how to make the future equitable."
      What happens, for example, if the rich have access to nanorobots 
that can rid the body of cancer cells, but the poor don't? What happens 
if only developed countries can provide their citizens, or maybe just 
their wealthiest citizens, the latest in gene therapy? Hughes calls the 
solution "democratic transhumanism."
      "Our agenda is not just 'rahrah technology,' " he says, "but the 
creation of a society that is egalitarian in the use of those technologies."
      But even in that best of all worlds, the potential dilemmas are 
staggering. Take the case of Parker Jensen -- the Utah boy whose parents 
were charged with kidnapping when they refused to let their son undergo 
chemotherapy -- and think about what happens if a hospital decides that 
an unborn baby must undergo genetic engineering so he won't ever get 
cancer in the first place.
      What happens when parents decide they want their children to be 
genetically altered to be tall? Will shortness become a disability when 
buildings and furniture and cars all are redesigned for the burgeoning 
population of tall people? Will governments decide that tallness is not 
in the community's best interest, since tall people take up more room? 
Will tallness no longer be an asset, anyway, if everyone is the same height?
      And these are the easy questions. What about the scenario Hughes 
presents in "Citizen Cyborg": the fictitious case of a woman named Grace?
      The hypothetical Grace has an auto accident that destroys the 
right half of her brain, at which time her remaining brain is suffused 
with nanoelectrodes hooked up to a computer that has the same power as 
the human brain. At the same time, a bath of neural growth factors and 
cloned neural stem cells stimulate her remaining brain cells to grow new 
connections to the brain prosthesis. As time goes by, the brain 
prosthesis assumes an increasing role in Grace's head.
      In her 80s, though, Grace is diagnosed with an incurable form of 
neurological deterioration, which makes her organic brain slowly shut 
down. No problem, though, since Grace's computer self has kept her 
mentally sharp, and has preserved her memories, emotions and personality 
via computer-- a process known as uploading. As her organic brain 
deteriorates, Grace asks to have her computer self removed from her 
dying body and attached to the World Wide Web, or whatever the Web has 
morphed into by then. She builds herself a virtual body "with virtual 
simulations of neurochemistry, hormonal ebbs and flows, and a sense of 
embodiment," writes Hughes. "She edits her body image back to a vigorous 
20-year-old, and jacks up her self-confidence and becomes a successful 
politician campaigning for cheaper electricity and cyborg rights."
      Is Grace still human? "So long as we continue to talk with her and 
we feel the presence of another mind with which we can empathize, we are 
compelled to grant her the rights and responsibilities of membership in 
society regardless of whether she is still 'human,' " says Hughes.
      And what about machine minds that aren't uploads of human brains? 
Do they have rights? And what about creatures that are part animal, part 
      "There is no intrinsic value in being human, just as there is no 
intrinsic value in being a rock, a frog or a posthuman," say the 
founding documents of the World Transhumanist Association. "The value 
resides in who we are as individuals and what we do with our lives."
      "Bio-Luddites," Hughes argues, "advocate human-racism." Instead he 
focuses on what he calls "personhood."
      All of which makes U. student Jones understand people who say 
"Whoa!" to technological progress. But the good news, he says, is that 
"we're not there yet . . . . We have a little bit of time to figure it 
out." We shouldn't try to institutionalize restrictions on enhancement 
technologies yet, he says, "or try to create a society that doesn't stop 
to think about the ethics. We can't let the capitalist market rule or 
the conservative drive to restrict everything." The solution, likely, is 
somewhere in the middle.
      "We just don't know now what it is."

E-mail: jarvik at desnews.com <mailto:jarvik at desnews.com>
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