“Handed report cards on a batch of frozen embryos, parents can use the test results to try to choose the healthiest ones. The grades include risk estimates for diabetes, heart attacks, and five types of cancer.
According to flyers distributed by the company, it will also warn clients about any embryo predicted to become a person who is among the shortest 2% of the population, or who is in the lowest 2% in intelligence.”
“Many people have long speculated that there has to be a basic design principle from which intelligence originates and the brain evolves, like how the double helix of DNA and genetic codes are universal for every organism,” Dr. Tsien said.
“We present evidence that the brain may operate on an amazingly simple mathematical logic.”
When used with awareness and attention, our tools foster embodied cognition—they become extensions of our bodies or our minds. But if we stop paying attention, those tools can come to dominate our lives and we become “functional cyborgs,” or fyborgs, to use Alexander Chislenko’s evocative blend. We necessarily extend ourselves technologically with eyeglasses or canes or hearing aids, but we frequently go far beyond that to use our latest tools—particularly smartphones and similar devices—to mediate all or most of our experiences.
80 MILLION Americans have an IQ of 90 or below. What is your first gut reaction about those people when you hear that?
Throughout human history, the most valuable substance on Earth has been… the human brain. Even the dimmest of humans can be taught to do tasks that we still have trouble getting machines to do.
But that is changing rapidly. And just like jobs that require “muscle” (agriculture, manufacturing) have mostly disappeared, jobs that require structured thought (finance, law) are starting to disappear as well.
So that piece of wetware in your skull is going to be scrutinized further and further, as its economic value plummets and your worth as a cog in the GDP falls with it.
It seems more obvious every day that man and machine are quickly assimilating. The transparency that’s inherent in technology will eventually destroy privacy. Automation will eventually eliminate the need for human labor. There’s a short window of time between then and now. We need a master plan for how we’ll manage the disruption that goes along with it.
For the first time, researchers have developed a microscope capable of observing — and manipulating — neural activity in the brains of live animals at the scale of a single cell with millisecond precision. The device, which uses lasers to create holographic images within the brain, is envisioned as a “Rosetta Stone” to crack the code on how brains work.
Technology is moving faster than our ability to understand it, and there is no consensus on what is ethical. It isn’t just the lawmakers who are not well-informed, the originators of the technologies themselves don’t understand the full ramifications of what they are creating. They may take strong positions today based on their emotions and financial interests, but as they learn more, they too will change their views.