[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
> 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
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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