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About a "Post-Human" Future & Human Biotechnology

Most observers acknowledge that human biotechnologies are likely to create serious challenges for individuals and society. Some people, however, deny or downplay their risks and challenges, and uncritically embrace the dramatic changes they believe human biotechnologies will bring. These enthusiasts tend to oppose public oversight, and to urge the unfettered commercial development of enhancement technologies.

For the past several years, a small but influential network of mainstream scientists, bioethicists, and others has been actively promoting the unfettered development of inheritable genetic modification (changing the genes passed on to future generations) and the expanded use of selection technologies such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Most of them acknowledge that these applications are likely to exacerbate existing inequalities and to create new forms of inequality. They often argue that such developments are inevitable.

"Transhumanists" are a marginal but vocal group of self-described futurists who promote human biotechnologies and other scientific advances as a means to "enhance" physical and cognitive abilities and "transcend" aspects of the human condition such as aging and dying. Their ideas are often seen as a replay of eugenics - the belief that science can and should be used to "breed" people with "superior" qualities.

Some transhumanists want to recast "eugenics" as a positive term, distinguishing their vision from past government-mandated eugenics policies. They are comfortable allowing market forces to shape these technologies and their social impact, arguing that government should have no role in developing, promoting, or regulating human biotechnologies.

Many transhumanists embrace libertarian social and political values, and some have attracted support in more mainstream libertarian circles.

Written evidence for the Genomics and Genome-Editing Inquiry of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee[cites CGS]by Edward Hockings and Lewis CoyneEthics and GeneticsJanuary 20th, 2017UK’s bioscience policy has been framed in terms of commercial value at the expense of substantive public consultation and broader deliberation.
The Promise and Peril of Emerging Reproductive Technologiesby Ekaterina PeshevaHarvard Medical SchoolJanuary 11th, 2017IVG, thus far successful only in mice, allows scientists to create embryos in a lab by reprogramming any type of adult cell to become a sperm or egg cell.
How Gene Editing Could Ruin Human Evolution[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jim KozubekTimeJanuary 9th, 2017There are no superior genes. Genes have a long and layered history, and they often have three or four unrelated functions, which balance against each other under selection.
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?by Philip BallThe Guardian January 8th, 2017A perfectly feasible 10-20% improvement in health via PGD, added to the comparable advantage that wealth already brings, could lead to a widening of the health gap between rich and poor, both within a society and between nations.
Rewriting the Code of Lifeby Michael SpecterNew YorkerJanuary 2nd, 2017Combining gene drive and CRISPR/Cas9 technologies, Kevin Esvelt is in an unusual position. There has never been a more powerful biological tool, or one with more potential to both improve the world and endanger it.
2016 Fear vs Hope: Gene Editing— Terrible turning point?by Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleJanuary 1st, 2017As the tools for gene editing rapidly advance, we approach our best chance to prevent the rise of a modern, uncontrolled and dangerously ill-considered techno-eugenics.
Should We Rewrite the Human Genome?by Alex HardingXconomyNovember 28th, 2016Critics worry that a synthetic human genome could be used in unethical ways. Unlike for clinical trials, there is no regulatory body for basic science research.
Obama’s Science Advisors Are Worried About Future CRISPR Terrorismby Daniel OberhausVICE MotherboardNovember 21st, 2016While the form biological threats will take in the future is uncertain, what is certain is that the United States is not at all prepared to deal with them.
DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes' in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseasesby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]November 16th, 2016The technique allows DNA changes that have not previously been possible, modifying the genes of non-dividing cells in a living animal.
CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first timeby David CyranoskiNature NewsNovember 15th, 2016A clinical trial in China used cells edited with CRISPR-Cas9 to treat a patient with lung cancer. Spectators anticipate a biomedical duel with US.
Synthetic human genome project releases its draft timelineby Ike SwelitzStat NewsOctober 28th, 2016HGP-Write rebrands itself suggesting broader visions to synthesize "all sorts of...genomes, not just humans," but issues of transparency loom.
Don’t Miss This: The Story of CRISPR Told in a Comicby Kayla TolentinoOctober 6th, 2016Illustrator Andy Warner helps to break down the complexities of the still unraveling CRISPR gene editing story in his recent piece "Bad Blood."
What’s the Longest Humans Can Live? 115 Years, New Study Saysby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesOctober 5th, 2016Despite improvements in modern life and medicine, researchers claim that humans have reached the upper limit of longevity.
With New Program, DARPA To Encourage Safety "Brakes" For Gene Editingby Alex LashXconomyOctober 5th, 2016The US military R&D agency has launched a funding program called "Safe Genes" to find "safety measures that don’t slow us down."
Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?by Eric NiilerSeekerSeptember 23rd, 2016"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"
Breaking Taboo, Swedish Scientist Seeks To Edit DNA Of Healthy Human Embryos[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRSeptember 22nd, 2016Using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos is a step toward attempts at producing genetically modified humans. It's not a step to be taken lightly.
Will Genetic Engineering Really Change Everything Forever? [Video Review]by Elliot HosmanSeptember 8th, 2016The hype surrounding CRISPR gene editing and a future of designer babies is on playback with a popular new video. Is its optimism justified? And who decides what’s inevitable?
Remembering Ruth Hubbardby Marcy DarnovskySeptember 8th, 2016Ruth Hubbard — biologist, feminist scholar, social justice advocate, and critic of what she termed “the gene myth” — has died.
Passing My Disability On to My Childrenby Sheila BlackThe New York TimesSeptember 7th, 2016Drawing on hew own experience, the author challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
The Perils of Planned Extinctionsby Claire Hope CummingsProject SyndicateSeptember 6th, 2016Instead of taking time to fully consider the ethical, ecological, and social issues of gene-drive technology, many are aggressively promoting its use in conservation.
Forget Ideology, Liberal Democracy’s Newest Threats Come From Technology and Bioscienceby John NaughtonThe GuardianAugust 28th, 2016Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, reviewed here, argues that "In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction."
Humans of the Future Could Be Much Faster Than Usain Bolt or Michael PhelpsSouth China Morning PostAugust 23rd, 2016We could be getting closer to the post-human era, where we modify our own genetics to the point that we're less recognisably "human" than ever before.
Gene Mapping May Not Be for Everyoneby Karen WeintraubUSA TodayAugust 22nd, 2016Genetic tests reveal variations in the genome that might not cause problems but could lead to unnecessary medical tests, anxiety and treatments.
Staying Ahead of Technology’s Curvesby Doug HillBoston GlobeAugust 21st, 2016Embracing disruptive technologies without trying to anticipate and prepare for their potential consequences is now, more than ever, a bad idea.
Hacking life: Scientists ‘recode’ DNA in step toward lab-made organismsby Sharon BegleySTATAugust 18th, 2016It may not be long before scientists assemble genomes of higher organisms, as George Church proposed to do for the human genome.
In the Fight for Our Genes, Could We Lose What Makes Us Human?by Ziyaad BhoratopenDemocracyAugust 17th, 2016When genetics become the next currency for corporations and governments we risk the commercialization and politicization of who we are on a level far deeper than our skin.
Diversity, disability and eugenics: An interview with Rob Sparrowby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeAugust 11th, 2016Philosophers and the medical profession have been way too swift to make judgments about other people’s quality of life. We're not as far from the bad old eugenics as many think.
To Err is Biotechnological: Reflections on Pew’s Human Enhancement Surveyby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 9th, 2016Biotechnologies aimed at human enhancement come with a guaranteed set of deficits, inadequacies, inconveniences, and risks.
What Ever Happened to Cloning?[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Kimberly LeonardUS News & World ReportAugust 4th, 2016Twenty years since Dolly, the field of cloning remains highly inefficient for animals and too unethical to attempt with humans.
Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People's Bloodby Jeff BercoviciInc.August 1st, 2016The controversial venture capitalist believes transfusions may hold the key to his dream of living forever.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
25 Scientists Just Made A $1 Billion Pitch To Build A Human Genome From Scratchby Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJune 2nd, 2016Drew Endy and Laurie Zoloth argue the project fails to ask a basic question: “Is developing capacities to synthesize human genomes a good idea?”
Scientists Announce HGP-Write, Project to Synthesize the Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJune 2nd, 2016Synthesizing a human genome "immediately raise[s] numerous ethical and philosophical red flags," NIH director Francis Collins said.
Scientists Say They Hope To Create A Human Genome In The Labciting CGS' Marcy Darnovskyby Rob SteinNPRJune 2nd, 2016"The worry is that we're going to be synthesizing entire optimized human genomes...to produce synthetic human beings that they see as improved models," said Marcy Darnovsky.
Public Interest Organization Comment on Synthetic Human Genome Project[Press statement]June 2nd, 2016Twenty-five scientists and corporate figures call for a ten-year project to construct a synthetic human genome from scratch.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #5: Creating Super-Peopleby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesMay 23rd, 2016Advocates of eugenics in the early twentieth century thought that careful mating would produce smarter, stronger, better people. What would these people look like? How would they behave? What kind of society would they form? Could making a better world be so simple?
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversyby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleMay 22nd, 2016A complete lack of transparency around a gathering to discuss synthetic human genomes triggers anger worldwide.
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
Comment - Closed Harvard Meeting on Human Genome Synthesis[Press statement]May 13th, 2016A new low for scientific accountability, the semi-secret meeting looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification.
An Even Stranger Presidential Candidateby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2016Zoltan Istvan is running for president. I mean, for vice-president. I mean, from death and aging.
Public Opposes Human Germline “Enhancement” by Overwhelming Majorityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2016New polls confirm that the public remains opposed to "enhancement" and is still not convinced about other proposed genetic interventions.
Dead could be brought 'back to life' in groundbreaking projectby Sarah KnaptonThe Telegraph [UK]May 3rd, 2016A US biotech firm received permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients for a stem cell treatment.
GMOs 2.0: Reengineering Life, from Plants to PeopleWebcast - April 14, 2016 An online discussion about the new generation of genetic modification techniques, and the social issues they raise.
‘Minimal’ cell raises stakes in race to harness synthetic lifeby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMarch 24th, 2016Craig Venter’s latest creation comes as CRISPR gene-editing methods provide alternative ways to tinker with life’s building blocks.
Scientists develop new human stem cells with half a genomeby Bill BerkrotReutersMarch 16th, 2016Stem cells derived from a human egg are the first human cells known to be capable of division with just one copy of the parent cell's genome.
Altering human embryos giving rise to designer babies [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]March 14th, 2016Tall, olive skin, brown hair, and blue eyes, these aren't descriptions found in an online dating profile. They are choices to those who are sperm shopping. CCTV America's Shraysi Tandon reports on the recent advancements in reproduction and fertility technologies.
CRISPR Eugenics in The X Filesby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.
Cryonics Taken Apartby Pete ShanksMarch 10th, 2016Corey Pein has written an exposé of Alcor, the cryonics company he describes as "technophilic necromancers."
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
Researchers claim to have made artificial mouse sperm in a dishby David CyranoskiNature NewsFebruary 25th, 2016A study describes 12-month old mice born from eggs fertilized with artificial spermatids, but some are not convinced by the report.
Debating UK approval of gene editing in human embryos
[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Larry MantleAirTalk, KPCCFebruary 1st, 2016The decision by Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority marks the first time a country's national regulator has approved the technique.
Why Morphological Freedom Is a Fantasy: Your Body Isn't Just Your Own[cites CGS]by Sarah SloatInverseJanuary 21st, 2016Transhumanists claim complete freedom to modify their bodies, but that absolutist stance could endanger future generations.
Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015At the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, philosopher John Harris engaged in tired and absurd attempts to justify engineering future humans.
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
Debate begins over ethics of genetic editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeDecember 5th, 2015Varying degrees of caution emerged at the Summit on Human Gene Editing.
Le génie génétique face au risque eugéniste[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Corine LesnesLe MondeNovember 30th, 2015"Nous voulons être sûrs que la technologie soit utilisée pour traiter les maladies et non pour créer des surhommes."
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions: This controversial new research could have some serious, long-term societal implications. [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Better Babiesby Nathaniel ComfortAeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.
Would you edit your unborn child’s genes so they were successful?by Mairi LevittThe GuardianNovember 3rd, 2015A parent’s desire to do the best for their child could create problems.
Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked QuestionsShould we as a society condone the genetic modification of future human beings? Here we take on some common questions about gene editing the human germline.
Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015A recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a thing?
Handheld DNA reader revolutionary and democratising, say scientistsby Ian SampleThe GuardianOctober 15th, 2015The $1,000 device is not designed to read human genomes, but it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.
A Tale of Do-It-Yourself Gene Therapyby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 14th, 2015An American biotech CEO of BioViva claims she is the first to undergo gene therapy to reverse aging, participating in an experiment that intentionally avoided approval processes.
Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?by Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 13th, 2015Nature surveys the legal landscape of 12 countries with well-funded biological research and finds variety of bans on human genome editing in research or reproduction.
Feminists, get ready: pregnancy and abortion are about to be disruptedby Eleanor RobertsonThe GuardianOctober 12th, 2015A clinical trial of uterine transplants will begin soon in the UK. Are artificial wombs on the horizon?
Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist[quotes Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Cameron ScottHealthlineSeptember 29th, 2015CRISPR is so cheap and easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos before we have time to decide if we should.
GM embryos 'essential', says reportby James GallagherBBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.
Why there’s an urgent need for a moratorium on gene editingby Vivek WadhwaWashington PostSeptember 8th, 2015Changing human DNA creates a frightening ethical grey zone; no one is prepared for an era when editing DNA is as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document.
Biotech Imagination: Whose Future is this?by Jessica CussinsSeptember 8th, 2015A feature in PLOS Biology highlights insider predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics with unanimous optimism. But whose future is this?
Calls for IVF laws to be changed to take advantage of gene editing technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentSeptember 2nd, 2015A statement by medical research funders in the UK suggests that benefits of modifying the human germ-line could outweigh the ethical objections.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
Ex Machina: Of Screens and Peopleby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 3rd, 2015The image on the poster isn’t what it seems. Ava, with her lights and transparent body, looks like the AI of the future, but she can also be read as an image of the present: a life threaded with information technology.
Sympathetic Sci-Fiby Joshua RothmanNew YorkerJuly 14th, 2015The new sci-fi series "Sense8" fantasizes about human "enhancement" via broadening empathy and social connection.
Talking About the Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.
Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say “No”by Center for Genetics and SocietyCrossing the threshold into inheritable human genetic alterations has long been considered dangerously unacceptable for both safety and social reasons.
The Pentagon’s Gamble on Brain Implants, Bionic Limbs and Combat Exoskeletons by Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 10th, 2015DARPA is making a big push into biological research — but some scientists question whether its high-risk approach can work.
Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future, we should rule out considering what we might learn from works of literature and film, as well as those aspects of myth, policy and history they don’t like.
US Science Academies Take on Human-Genome Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNatureMay 18th, 2015The academies will hold an international summit this autumn, and establish a working group to develop a consensus statement.
Francis Collins on CRISPR: "Designer Babies Make Great Hollywood — And Bad Science"by Julia BelluzVoxMay 18th, 2015There's a strong consensus that is a line we should not cross.
National Academies Will Meet to Guide 'Gene Editing' Researchby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 18th, 2015The landmark conference will gather researchers and other experts. One observer warns, "This is an ethical, social and human issue, not a technological issue. I don't think the scientists are the right people to be addressing it."
Overcoming Bias: Why Not?by Ari N. SchulmanThe New AtlantisMay 7th, 2015Some of the most prominent of the "new rationalists" are also spokesmen of transhumanism.
DIY Bio-Engineering: Disrupting Democracyby Colleen CordesBiopolitical Times guest contributorMay 1st, 2015The Do-It-Yourself synthetic biology movement (or, DIY synbio) is not advocating "citizen science," let alone "democratizing science." It's not about science or democracy.
A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2015Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.
Public interest group condemns human germline modification efforts, supports research moratorium, calls for US prohibition[Press Statement]March 19th, 2015We're at a watershed moment in determining whether human genetic technologies will be used in the public interest and for the common good, or in ways that are dangerous and socially pernicious.
Les Vertiges Du Transhumanisme[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Corine LesnesLe MondeFebruary 12th, 2015"They're selling us technology as if it were a total blessing, but the result could well be that what we take for high-tech marvels are in fact the instrument of power exercised by a few over the rest of us."
Privacy is dead, Harvard professors tell Davos forumAgence France PresseJanuary 22nd, 2015"We are at the dawn of the age of genetic McCarthyism," said one Harvard researcher.
Bad Boy Scientism by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2015Austen Heinz of Cambrian Genomics has been spouting provocative opinions to get attention. And it seems to be working, from his point of view.
Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankindby Rory Cellan-JonesBBCDecember 2nd, 2014Hawking says the primitive forms of AI developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
The Vagina Bio-Hack That Wasn’t: How Two “Startup Bros” Twisted and Took Credit for a Young Woman’s Companyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 25th, 2014When news broke last week that two male CEOs wanted to make women’s vaginas smell like peaches, there was a well-deserved backlash. Now, it turns out the project they announced wasn’t even theirs, and they got it all wrong.
FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancementby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesNovember 12th, 2014The documentary produced and directed by Regan Brashear is receiving a new round of well-deserved positive attention around the world.
Cambrian Genomics CEO: We’re Going to Design Every Human on a Computer and Make Your Poop Smell Like Bananasby Chris O'BrienVenture BeatOctober 29th, 2014Austen Heinz: His vision for the future will either thrill you or leave you fearing for the future of humanity. There’s not really any room in the middle.
Life is Randomby Cailin O’ConnorSlateSeptember 11th, 2014Biologists now realize that “nature vs. nurture” misses the importance of noise.
"3-Person IVF" Debated in UK Parliamentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2014The debate in Britain over combining eggs or embryos to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease received a public airing, though no firm conclusion, in the House of Commons on September 1st.
Britain will be considered a 'rogue state' if it creates GM people, MP warnsPress AssociationSeptember 1st, 2014Allowing mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent the birth of children with incurable diseases could lead to people being created for 'harvesting their parts'
Using Light Technique, Scientists Find Dimmer Switch for Memories in Miceby Pam BelluckThe New York TimesAugust 27th, 2014Using a technique in which light is used to switch neurons on and off, neuroscientists appear to have unlocked some secrets about how the brain attaches emotions to memories and how those emotions can be adjusted.
Is Moral Bioehancement Even Possible?by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 20th, 2014A new article criticizes the debate on moral bioenhancement as misguided and founded on gratuitous assumptions.
Truly Human Enhancement by Nicholas Agar and Humanity Enhanced by Russell Blackford – Reviewsby Steven RoseThe GuardianJune 19th, 2014When does therapy become enhancement? Designer babies, smart drugs and the ethics of becoming superhuman.
On the New Alphabet of Lifeby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 6th, 2014On metaphors, stories, and synthetic nucleotides: rewriting the code of life.
Stephen Hawking: 'Transcendence Looks at the Implications of Artificial Intelligence - But are we Taking AI Seriously Enough?'by Stephen Hawking, Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, Frank WilczekThe IndependentMay 1st, 2014Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks, says a group of leading scientists.
Transcendence: See it for its Cultural Relevance, Not its Plot Lineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.
Geneticist Cynthia Kenyon is Heading to Googleby Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleApril 20th, 2014Google's mysterious health venture dedicated to extending human life has quietly lured an acclaimed biochemistry and biophysics professor away from UC San Francisco.
How Long Is Immortality?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014A Russian millionaire created a big splash less than a year ago when he sponsored a conference at the Lincoln Center about mind uploading and immortality, but seems to have fallen off the media radar, at least in the U.S.
We May Already Know How we Will Cure Death—But Should we?by Christopher MimsQuartzMarch 29th, 2014A pair of advocates—they do legitimate research too, but their ardor is so intense, it’s hard to call them scientists—believe that they will, within their lifetimes, make ours the first generation of humans to live forever.
Are the Robots about to Rise? Google's New Director of Engineering Thinks So…by Carole CadwalladrThe GuardianFebruary 22nd, 2014Ray Kurzweil popularised the Teminator-like moment he called the 'singularity', when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth.
Google's Kurzweil Says the Machines will Think for Themselves by 2040, and oh — We'll be Immortalby Jon XavierSilicon Valley Business JournalFebruary 10th, 2014Kurzweil is trying to bring about technological singularity — creating a true artificial intelligence smart enough to improve its own source code. He is also involved in one of Google's side projects, Calico, whose goal is ending aging.
Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?by Seth Stephens-DavidowitzNew York TimesJanuary 18th, 2014Google searches suggest that American parents are far more likely to want their boys smart and their girls skinny. Among those looking for information on sex selection, there is about a 10 percent preference for boys.
New Ways to Engineer the Germlineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
Techno-Libertarians and The Circleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013The new novel by Dave Eggers is a provocative romp and a missed opportunity that does, however, raise a lot of very interesting questions about Silicon Valley culture.
Building Better Humansby Zaineb MohammedEast Bay ExpressDecember 4th, 2013A new documentary looks at the impacts of human enhancement technologies. "I totally get the temptation," says the filmmaker. "But what are we fixing? Who is the problem?"
What Huxley Knewby J. P. HarpigniesLetter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.
You Can't Predict Destiny by Designing Your Baby's Genomeby Megan Allyse and Marsha MichieThe Wall Street JournalNovember 8th, 2013New genetic and reproductive techniques will only reveal that human life is too multifaceted to be reduced to a mathematical formula.
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsNovember 7th, 2013The public symposium Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, held on November 1 at San Francisco State University, provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the history and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
Are Roboticists Ignoring the Consequences?by Judith LevineSeven DaysNovember 6th, 2013Thanks to innovations such as “low-cost sensors” and “new algorithms,” robots are starting to look like us, move like us and react like us. And if the worshippers of technology have their way, they will replace us.
Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?by Ferris JabrScientific AmericanOctober 28th, 2013An era of market-based eugenics would exterminate any lingering notions of meritocracy. But that could never happen this side of the silver screen, right?
A Former IVF Baby on "Three-Parent IVF"by Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 24th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement raises one of the thorniest questions humanity will ever face: are we willing to genetically modify future generations of humans?
23andMe's Designer Baby Patentby Dov FoxHuffington PostOctober 4th, 2013Even if 23andMe doesn't bring its donor selection technique to market, a patent award sends the message that this is an invention whose development should be protected and promoted.
Google vs. Death? Really?by Pete ShanksHuffington PostOctober 3rd, 2013It's common for techies to be infatuated with transhumanism and other far-out ideas, but "solving death" seems like a real stretch.
Center for Genetics and Society Calls on 23andMe to Disavow “Designer Babies”: Controversial New Patent Raises Critical Questions [Press statement]October 2nd, 201323andMe's new patent is an irresponsible step that amounts to shopping for designer donors in an effort to produce designer babies.
On Designer Babiesby Sheldon KrimskyTufts Medicine, Summer 2013It is unimaginable that any humane society would permit a human trial of genetic modification where the potential risks so outweigh the social benefits.
At the End of the Slippery Slope: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogyby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2013Atwood says her trilogy "invents nothing we haven’t already invented or started to invent" — suggesting that though her work is fiction and not a tract, she also intends to do far more than entertain.
Google vs Death? Really?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2013Google just announced a new company, Calico, that will focus on aging and associated diseases. Former Genentech CEO Art Levinson will be in charge, but so far it has no other employees and no clear business plan.
FDA to Hold Public Meeting about a Form of Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 12th, 2013Next month, for the first time in its history, the FDA will hold a public meeting about techniques that would result in human germline modification. Do you want a say?
Edge of the Map: An Experiment in Science and in Theaterby Alice WexlerUCLA Center for the Study of WomenAugust 6th, 2013A group of Harvard students created a theater piece called Edge of the Map, a collage based on real-life and invented scenarios involving ethical and social dilemmas in genetics.
The Devil in Mr. Nelson: Cryonics and Nightmare Comediesby Grant Shoffstall, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 25th, 2013The upcoming film Freezing People is Easy will chronicle the saga of Robert Nelson, co-founder of the long-defunct Cryonics Society of California. Will it also shed light on the social history of cryonics and the scandals associated with it?
'Designer Babies': The Ultimate Privileged Elite?by Heather LongGuardianJuly 9th, 2013A US baby born via IVF and genetically screened could open the door to wealthy parents selecting for ideal traits in their kids.
Watch and Listen: Two Conversations about the Dangers of Genetically Modified Humans Biopolical TimesJune 12th, 2013At a live event and in a radio interview, developmental biologist Stuart Newman discusses what's wrong with proposals for inheritable human genetic modification.
Predicting the IQ of Future Peopleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2013The resignation of Jason Richwine from the Heritage Foundation raised the profile of racist views about IQ. Expect new publicity soon for genetic claims about intelligence.
Book Review: Transhumanist Dreams and Dystopian Nightmaresby John GallowayBioNewsMarch 11th, 2013Some say we should use genetic science not simply to ameliorate the human predicament but to transcend it. Of course this raises the issue of what 'best' means and, in any event, who decides.
Meet the New Eugenics, Same as the Old Eugenicsby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2013According to a new wave of eugenic advocacy, “we” have a “moral obligation” to enhance future generations.
Exaggerations and Misrepresentations Have No Place in Science Policy Debatesby Jeremy GruberCouncil for Responsible GeneticsFebruary 15th, 2013A recent debate on whether we should prohibit genetically engineered babies wound up focusing on mitochondrial replacement techniques.
Neanderthal Cloning Comments Spark Controversy in Scientific Community[Quotes CGS's Pete Shanks]by Jason KoeblerUS NewsJanuary 25th, 2013The suggestion that scientists would need a "cohort" of Neanderthals is "irresponsible speculation."
Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?by Philip Bethge and Johann GrolleDer SpiegelJanuary 18th, 2013The English translation of the interview in which George Church of Harvard University explains how genetic technology and synthetic biology might permit the creation of a Neanderthal-like clone that could be gestated by a woman.
"Adventurous Female Human" Needed to Give Birth to NeandertalGenome WebJanuary 17th, 2013Harvard's George Church on recreating Neandertals, engineering humans to live to 120, making people resistant to viruses, and exchanging DNA with other species.
Could Human Enhancement Turn Soldiers Into Weapons That Violate International Law? Yesby Patrick LinThe AtlanticJanuary 4th, 2013New technologies reveal ambiguities and hidden assumptions in international humanitarian law.
Genes, Cells and Brains by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose - Reviewby Steven PooleThe Guardian (UK)December 19th, 2012A fascinating, lucid and angry book; a strong exposé of the hype surrounding genetics and neuroscience.
By Hiring Kurzweil, Google Just Killed the SingularityThank God. by John PavlusMIT Technology ReviewDecember 17th, 2012Google announced a jaw-dropping hire: Ray Kurzweil as a Director of Engineering. If he wants to put his ideas into action there, he’ll have no choice but to get real about them.
Anatomy of a Webpage: A Peek into a Possible Genetic Futureby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 11th, 2012A biotech start-up wants to use a "proprietary algorithm" to provide information about hypothetical children.
Of Monsters and Menby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesNovember 29th, 2012The Amazing Spider-Man’s focus on genetic modification is more than incidental.
Mitochondria Replacement Would Forever Alter the Human Germline. Do You Want a Say? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 15th, 2012The Center for Genetics and Society has sent a letter strongly recommending against changing the United Kingdom law that – like those in dozens of other countries – prohibits procedures that would alter the genes we pass on to our children.
Clones and Cloud Atlasby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2012Of the many characters in Cloud Atlas that explore what it means to be human, the most eloquent is a genetically engineered clone.
The Eugenic Impulseby Nathaniel ComfortThe Chronicle of Higher EducationNovember 12th, 2012Medical geneticists are working on weeding out disease, but what counts as disease is murky and the slide from prevention to enhancement loses friction fast.
Concern Over 'Souped Up' Human Raceby Michelle RobertsBBC NewsNovember 8th, 2012Four professional bodies in the UK warn that there is an "immediate need" for debate around the potential harms of human enhancement technologies.
British Academics Say Technological Enhancements to Employees Raise Ethical Questionsby Raphael SatterWashington PostNovember 7th, 2012Attention needs to be focused on the consequences of technology which may one day allow — or compel — humans to work better, longer and harder.
Un-Mainstreaming Human Enhancementby Charles T. RubinThe New AtlantisNovember 7th, 2012Human enhancements may be hard to resist, but so are many things we avoid because the consequences are much worse than the reward.
Advocating Human Germline Interventionsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2012Scientists in Oregon have published a paper that explicitly challenges the legal and procedural system that forbids genetic experiments on future generations, but most reports miss the full implications of the announcement.
Geneticists Breach Ethical Taboo By Changing Genes Across Generations[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPROctober 24th, 2012Geneticists reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Bill McKibben on Real Time With Bill Maherby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesOctober 18th, 2012Bill McKibben discusses the radical implications of climate change and the troubling proposal made by some to "alter [human] behavior and physiology" to deal with these changes.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Germline Engineeringby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2012Japanese researchers have created mice by using sperm and eggs grown from induced pluripotent stem cells, a development that could bring human germline engineering much closer.
New Director's Experience a Plus for MSU, but his Controversial Views Concern Someby Matthew MillerLansing State JournalOctober 6th, 2012The newly appointed vice president of research at Michigan State University holds controversial views about genes and intelligence.
Weird Science: The Promise and Peril of Synthetic Biologyby Jeff ConantEarth Island Journal, Autumn 2012A wave of gene therapies, pharmaceuticals, genetically engineered crops, and manufactured biofuels have transformed science, medicine, industry, and quite possibly, global ecology.
Bioethicist Pushes Us Toward Our Eugenic Dutyby Anna Hamilton, Biopolitical Times Guest ContributorSeptember 6th, 2012A professor of ethics takes his campaign for "breeding better babies" to the Reader's Digest.
Transhumanist Web Series Likely to Disappoint Transhumanistsby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 6th, 2012A new web-based digital series looks at a transhumanist future with an eye to social justice and finds it frightening.
Undetectable Stem Cell Treatment Could be the Wave of the Performance-Enhancement Futureby Eric AdelsonYahoo NewsAugust 24th, 2012Sports science is on the precipice of a potentially new era of performance enhancement: stem cell therapy, which could soon make testosterone injections as ancient as the typewriter.
As Prices for Prenatal Genome Sequencing Tests Fall, Researchers Worry About Consequences for Families in a Real-Life 'Gattaca' by Makini BriceMedical DailyAugust 13th, 2012Genome sequencing of fetuses would drastically increase the volume and scope of prenatal data, but its meaning would be unclear.
Ethics Schmethics Says Ethicistby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2012The approach of the Olympics sparks the usual flood of pro-enhancement articles, notably an interview with Julian Savulescu.
Let's Get Real on Synthetic Biology by Claire Marris and Nikolas RoseNewScientist.comJune 11th, 2012As the race to build life from scratch pushes on, hyperbole drowns out nuanced discussion. We need more wide-ranging dialogue.
A New Technique for Human Genetic Modification?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2012Chinese scientists have developed a new way to reproduce genetically modified mice, and are already speculating about human applications.
Discussing Transhumanism on Al-Jazeeraby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2012Al Jazeera, the global TV and multimedia news organization, recently featured a discussion of transhumanism.
A Burst of Useful (Not Utilitarian) Bloggingby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 22nd, 2012Bioethicists' articles about the permissibility of infanticide and a pill for racism have been drawing a buzz of outrage.
Writing Your Baby’s Synthetic Genome: Genetic Engineering for the Facebook Generationby Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesMarch 22nd, 2012A growing chorus of synthetic biology advocates is promoting using the new tools for "enhancing" future generations.
Bioengineer Humans to Tackle Climate Change, Say Philosophersby Leo HickmanGuardianMarch 14th, 2012The authors of a controversial recommendation say their critics have misunderstood the nature of philosophical inquiry.
Unnatural Selection: Is Evolving Reproductive Technology Ushering in a New Age of Eugenics? [Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Carolyn AbrahamThe Globe and MailJanuary 7th, 2012Modern day assisted reproduction offers a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their children.
Scientists Grow Sperm in Laboratory Dish The TelegraphJanuary 2nd, 2012Scientists have made a major breakthrough that could soon see human sperm grown in the laboratory.
Larry King: I Want To Be FrozenNo Topic Off Limits At 'Dinner With The Kings' by Katie McLaughlinCNNDecember 2nd, 2011On a Larry King Special, "Dinner with the Kings," Larry King announced his plans to be frozen when he dies.
Dystopian "In Time" and Inequalities in Our Timeby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesDecember 1st, 2011The dystopian future of Andrew Niccol's new film, In Time, resonates with current inequalities.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Healthiest One of All?by Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesNovember 16th, 2011High-tech "consumer health" gadgets - from a bathroom mirror that measures your health stats to an iPhone app for diagnosing your symptoms - are ineffective techno-fixes for wider social problems.
Oregon Health & Science University wins breakthrough stem-cell patent; ethics of cloning debatedby Nick BudnickThe OregonianNovember 2nd, 2011Over the long-term, observers say, it could lead to the genetic engineering of human beings. But OHSU's announcement yesterday focused on short-term health gains.
Immortality in Our Lifetime? Selection Bias and Collective Delusionby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 8th, 201168% of respondents believe either that they'll live for hundreds of years, that they'll be resurrected after being frozen, or that their minds will be uploaded to a computer.
Living to 100 and Beyondby Sonia ArrisonThe Wall Street JournalAugust 27th, 2011Scientists are on the brink of radically expanding the span of a healthy life. Author Sonia Arrison on the latest advances—and what they mean for human existence.
How to Hack a Genomeby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 20th, 2011Synthetic biology seems to have taken a major step forward, with the publication of a technique for making multiple alterations to a living genome.
The Serious Intent Behind a Ridiculous Ideaby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 7th, 2011More publicity for the Seasteading Institute elicits laughs, but functions as propaganda to normalize extreme ideas.
Exoskeleton Helps UCB Student Walk for Graduation: Disability Justice or Cyborg Fantasy?by Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2011A new invention for paraplegics allows a UCB grad to walk to accept his diploma, but the device comes with disability clichés and transhumanist potential.
Dreams of the Weekby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2011Several recent announcements and studies appear to presage renewed interest in manipulating the biology that is thought to control longevity and especially our children's happiness and intelligence.
3-Month Pregnancies for Hire: A Pure Fantasy? by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 24th, 2011Tze Chun’s short film Silver Sling depicts a grim future for commercial surrogacy, and reflects on a grim present.
New film depicts a genetically engineered, anti-gay future by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 17th, 2011Nisha Ganatra’s Beholder depicts a future in which children are genetically designed and homosexuality is screened out of the population.
Pushing the Bioethics Envelope to Serve Neo-Eugenic Purposesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 24th, 2011Prominent British-based bioethicists seem to be changing the terms of debate, in favor of eugenic interventions.
Isn't It Time to Focus on the Real Future?by Jillian Theil and Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 16th, 2011Time magazine features a glowing story about Ray Kurzweil, of Singularity fame. But does the hoopla around Kurzweil's tomorrow distract from the important problems of today?
Remember the Raelians? They're back, pushing GM crops by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesJanuary 31st, 2011The pro-cloning cult is lending its support to a UK government push for genetically modified food.
The Rise and Decline of Military Human Enhancementby Michael Burnam-FinkScience ProgressJanuary 7th, 2011We are in, at best, a lull in military investments in human enhancement research. That is why now is a good time to start asking hard questions about how—and indeed if—we should proceed along this course.
No More Guatemalasby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 21st, 2010What lessons should be drawn from the recent revelation of horrific abuses of Guatemalans by medical experimenters during the 1940s?
Role-playing transhumanism: Not just a gameby Doug PetOctober 7th, 2010“Deus Ex”: A transhumanist-themed video game series presenting a balanced picture of the human enhancement issue? Nope.
The Genetic Gist of JIMby Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesOctober 7th, 2010A new independent film with a timeless message.
The futures that don't need us, that didn't happen, and that we should avoidby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesAugust 11th, 2010Two similar recent publications echo Bill Joy's "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us."
Marketing Transhumanism: A New Retail-friendly Faceby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesJuly 7th, 2010At the recent H+ summit, self-help guru Robert Tercek made a case for bundling transhumanism into a “friendly-faced” and easy-to-consume package.
The Risks and Rewards of Synthetic Biology[Commentary]by Nancy GibbsTIMEJune 28th, 2010We need careful oversight, but we haven't proven very good at this. The crossroads of science and politics is a dodgy place.
A Singular Kind of Eugenicsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 16th, 2010Modern techno-utopianism, discussed in a recent feature on Singularity University, has worryingly eugenic overtones.
Merely Human? That's So Yesterdayby Ashlee VanceNew York TimesJune 11th, 2010Some of Silicon Valley’s smartest and wealthiest people believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world’s ills, while also allowing people to seize control of the evolutionary process.
How Far Would You Go? Public Interest Collaborative Announces First-Ever Web Series for Parents on Technologies that Could Alter Human NatureMother’s Day launch to spark grassroots discussions about new reproductive and genetic technologiesMay 5th, 2010A new website and series of short videos on the complex challenges of new reproductive and genetic technologies.
BioConversations: Taking the Biotech Discussion Public by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2010Introducing the first web series for parents about technologies that could alter human nature.
"Moral Questions of an Altogether Different Kind" [PDF]Progressive Politics in the Biotech Ageby Marcy DarnovskyHarvard Law and Policy ReviewFebruary 23rd, 2010Human genetic, reproductive and biomedical technologies are taking us into uncharted moral and political waters.
Return of the GenRich?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2009There has been a brief flurry of discussion about future separate species of humans.
Strange New World[Book Review]by Jeanette WintersonThe New York TimesSeptember 20th, 2009Margaret Atwood's new novel, "The Year of the Flood," takes place in the same bioengineered world as her 2003 work of speculative fiction, "Oryx and Crake."
Michael Sandel on genetics, morality, and a new politics of the common goodby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2009"It is tempting to think that bioengineering our children and ourselves for success in a competitive society is an exercise of freedom. But changing our nature to fit the world, rather than the other way around, is actually the deepest form of disempowerment."
Transhumanists as Nihilists, Continuedby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 2nd, 2009Why do transhumanists advocate for technologies and policies that even they apparently admit will likely lead to such a dark future?
Capitalism 1, Transhumanism 0by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 31st, 2009Singularity University's first students have revealed the projects for which they are seeking capital, and they backed away from transhumanist or singularitarian ideas.
Transhumanist libertarian: Still against democracyby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesAugust 26th, 2009Permeating libertarian Ron Bailey's response to CGS's Marcy Darnovsky is a disturbing hostility to democracy.
Normal, or Better Than Normal - at a High Costby Marcy DarnovskyPsychology Today blogsJune 3rd, 2009Normal at Any Cost: Tall Girls, Short Boys and the Medical Industry's Quest to Manipulate Height is a gripping account of efforts over the past 50 years to "fix" children's height with hormones and other drugs.
Normal at Any Cost: A Cautionary Taleby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2009"Short stature is a multibillion-dollar business that is still growing like a weed."
Libertarians Diss Democracyby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 14th, 2009Transhumanists put their disdain for democracy in writing.
A crash course in emerging technologiesby David GellesFinancial TimesApril 24th, 2009Through a combination of techno-optimism, wide-eyed idealism and belief in the perfectibility of human beings, Singularity ­University is an institution meant to legitimize extreme thinking.
Immortality 2.0: A Silicon Valley insider looks at California's Transhumanist movement[Cites CGS's Richard Hayes]by David GellesThe FuturistJanuary 1st, 2009A look at the thoughts, history, and current condition of transhumanist advocacy.
Nature Makes Newsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 11th, 2008Nature has published a Commentary that advocates the use of "cognitive-enhancing drugs."
Appleyard on H+by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2008Brian Appleyard weighs in on "risible" transhumanists.
H+ ≈ Humanity+ ≈ Humanity Plus ≈ WTA ≈ Extropy (etc.)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 20th, 2008The relaunch of the World Transhumanist Association, now Humanity Plus, stumbles on, with the launch of H+ Magazine.
Neo-con logic: Designer babies for all by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 10th, 2008A neo-conservative pundit endorses inheritable genetic enhancement.
A Literal Reductionist?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 31st, 2008Michael Rae believes calorie restriction will increase his lifespan.
Putting Makeup on a Pigby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2008It seems that advocates of using emerging technologies to create a new type of human have realized that "transhuman" doesn't go over well.
The Modified Man[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes]by Carl T. HallCaliforniaJuly 3rd, 2008Genetically souped-up athletes? Not a good idea, for reasons that go the heart of sports and beyond, says CGS's Richard Hayes.
UK Scientists to Combine Human, Animal Embryos[Interviews CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CNN Headline NewsMay 21st, 2008CNN's Glenn Beck on cybrids.
Designing Babies [MP3]by Marcy Darnovsky, Ronald Green, and Neal ConanTalk of the NationApril 15th, 2008Marcy Darnovsky discusses genetic selection and modification with libertarian bioethicist Ronald Green on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation.
Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks.by Richard HayesWashington PostApril 15th, 2008New human genetic technologies have real potential to help prevent or cure many terrible diseases. But if misapplied, they would exacerbate existing inequalities and reinforce existing modes of discrimination. If more widely abused, they could undermine the foundations of civil and human rights. In the worst case, they could undermine our experience of being part of a single human community with a common human future.
Immortality breakthrough! Read all about it!by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 14th, 2008A transhumanist shares the secrets of "longevity escape velocity."
Are We Headed for a Sci-Fi Dystopia? by Marcy DarnovskyAlterNetMarch 22nd, 2008Those in Gen X and Gen Y who ponder the prospect of a repro-genetic dystopia think of Gattaca. Last week's release of a collector's edition of the 1997 film unavoidably prompts us to measure ourselves against its "not-too-distant future" of genetic castes and DNA-based discrimination. Has our world become more like Gattaca than it was a decade ago?
Genomes of the Rich and Famousby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2008Genomics’ growing convergence with information technology may lead to the genetic "exploitation" of society's elite.
Gene Map Becomes a Luxury Itemby Amy HarmonNew York TimesMarch 4th, 2008As the cost of genome sequencing goes from stratospheric to merely very expensive, it is piquing the interest of a new clientele.
Making Waves, Practicing Wisdomby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesJanuary 21st, 2008A new memoir by Charlie Halpern includes an eloquent call for bringing "wisdom of a high order" to the challenges of the new human biotechnologies.
Transhumanists as Nihilistsby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 16th, 2008The World Transhumanist Association's survey of its members surprised me with what amounts to, at the very least, an acknowledgment of the limitations of the organization's philosophy.
Watson as wake-up call: When genetics endorses a new eugenicsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007Though neither media nor blogosphere have noted it so far, Watson and a small but disturbing number of other prominent figures are actively promoting a renewed program of eugenics - this time using 21st-century reproductive and genetic technologies.
Nobel Notions and the Uses of Geneticsby Marcy DarnovskyAlternetOctober 19th, 2007It's Nobel Prize season, and Nobel scientists are very much in the news. James Watson is currently embroiled in controversy after making a series of blatantly racist remarks. But related views espoused by one of this year's laureates have gone unnoticed.
Enhancing the speciesby Anjana AhujaThe Times (UK)October 10th, 2007Philosopher John Harris argues that we have a moral and ethical duty to improve the human race by biologically enhancing our children.
And Behind This Door...by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesAugust 27th, 2007"Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years," is the title of a recent widely published Associated Press article, and the message of the scientists interviewed therein.
Is He for Real? Are You?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 20th, 2007Nick Bostrom's specialty is coming up with ludicrous premises and then explicating the inferences that can logically be derived from them in pedantic detail.
Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 yearsby Seth BorensteinSeattle Post-IntelligencerAugust 19th, 2007Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.
Japan scientists devise "womb" for IVF eggsby Tan Ee LynReutersJuly 27th, 2007Scientists in Japan have created a "womb" for incubating artificially fertilised eggs in their earliest days, helping them grow nearly as fast as they would in the uterus,
Beam Me Up!by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJuly 26th, 2007Today, actor William Shatner gives a keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the World Transhumanist Association. Will he remind his technophilic audience that, in the Star Trek canon, the development of human genetic engineering on Earth led to a globally-devastating conflict, the Eugenics Wars?
Technology Tail Wags the Ethical Dogby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2007Are the technophiles and utilitarians becoming more brazen in their assertion that "There is no alternative?"
Our Biopolitical Future: Four Scenarios [PDF]World WatchFebruary 28th, 2007CGS Executive Director Richard Hayes's essay is the cover story of the March/April issue of World Watch magazine. The four scenarios, which cover the years between 2007 and 2021, are Libertarian Transhumanism Triumphs, One Family, One Future, A Techno-Eugenic Arms Race, and For the Common Good.
Not So Strange Bedfellowsby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2007Would Milton Friedman be a transhumanist? The Economist - the magazine of record for free marketeers - suggests that he might.
Interview with Marcy Darnovskyby Enola AirdThe Motherhood ProjectDecember 31st, 2006The Motherhood Project interviews CGS's Associate Executive Director on a wide range of human biotechnology issues.
Richard Dawkins: Breed humans like cows, horses and dogs?by Richard HayesBiopolitical TimesNovember 24th, 2006Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins suggests that we entertain the possibility of breeding human beings as we do cows, horses and dogs.
Book reviews: Stem cells, enhancement and cloningGenetic CrossroadsAugust 4th, 2006Genetic Crossroads reviews Stem Cell Wars (Eve Herold), Challenging Nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life (Lee M. Silver), and After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning (Ian Wilmut and Roger Highfield)
Transhumanism: Yearning to transcend biologyby Cathy YoungBoston GlobeJuly 10th, 2006"With everything else that's happening in the world today, debates about whether humanity should embrace as yet nonexistent technologies that could enhance our physical and intellectual abilities and someday make us "more than human" may seem frivolous."
Transhumanists Declare the “Right” to be Super-HumanGenetic CrossroadsJune 29th, 2006A group that advocates using genetic and other technologies to transform human beings into “posthumans” with new and expanded abilities held a conference May 26-28 titled “Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights.” The event was organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies at Stanford Law School.
Among the TranshumanistsCyborgs, self-mutilators, and the future of our raceby William SaletanSlateJune 4th, 2006William Saletan reports on the Transhumanist conference, "Human Enhancement Technologies," at Stanford University.
Is there a human right to be superhuman?by Brian AlexanderMSNBCJune 1st, 2006"Transhumanism is being taken seriously by an increasing number of scholars."
Smarter than thou? Stanford conference ponders a brave new world with machines more powerful than their creators[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes]by Tom AbateSan Francisco ChronicleMay 12th, 2006"Although little known outside technological circles, transhumanism inspires intense opposition from ethical watchdog groups that dispute the notion that such technological tweaking would represent progress."
There is no stop button in the race for human re-engineeringby Madeleine BuntingThe GuardianJanuary 30th, 2006"There's no stop button available. Much of the research that could be ultimately used for human enhancement is urgently needed to counter such neuro-degenerative diseases as Alzheimer's. "
Sports and gene "doping"Genetic CrossroadsSeptember 29th, 2005On the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU public radio in Washington, D.C., the Center's Osagie Obasogie joined former all-star baseball player Jose Canseco, World Anti-Doping Agency Chair Richard Pound, and other sports doping experts to talk about genetic enhancement of athletes and its implications for the sports industry and society.
Scientists guilty of 'hyping' benefits of gene researchThe Independent (UK)September 5th, 2005"The leading fertility scientist Lord Winston has hit out at senior scientists, including two Nobel laureates, for making exaggerated claims about the supposed benefits of scientific research, warning they could trigger a public backlash."
UN human cloning vote stalls yet againby Maggie McKeeNew ScientistOctober 25th, 2004"The United Nations has failed once again to reach a conclusion on a global ban on human cloning following two days of impassioned testimony from member nations."
Discussing the ethics of altering human genesby Charles BurressSan Francisco ChronicleSeptember 30th, 2004At an event sponsored by the UC Berkeley Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and author Bill McKibben spoke to an overflow crowd about the challenges of the new human genetic technologies and California's Prop 71.
Genetically modified athelete - does it run true?by Pratap RavindranThe Hindu Business LineAugust 10th, 2004Genetically modified athletes might be a boon to India's ambitions in biotechnology.
Posthuman Enough?by Richard B. NorgaardBioScienceMarch 30th, 2004Will we say "enough" and set up the controls necessary to prevent the transformation of a portion of the human population into superpeople?
Selective Scienceby Richard HayesTomPaine.comFebruary 12th, 2004
Should We Improve Our Genome?by Nicholas WadeThe New York TimesNovember 11th, 2003
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND CLONINGGenetic CrossroadsOctober 2nd, 2003
TRANSHUMANISM RELOADEDby Stacy RobisonGenetic CrossroadsJuly 11th, 2003
James Watson Wants to Build a Better Humanby Ralph BraveAlterNet.orgMay 28th, 2003Did you have a nice DNA Day? And how was your Human Genome Month? If you missed those Congressionally-designated celebrations last month due to minor distractions, like a war or being laid off from your job, don't worry: The media missed the real story anyway.
Too Clever Too Fast Too Happyby Bill McKibbenThe GuardianMay 3rd, 2003But what if, instead of crudely cheating with hypodermics, we began literally to programme children before they were born to become great athletes?... And as we move into the new world of genetic engineering, we won't simply lose races, we'll lose racing : we'll lose the possibility of the test, the challenge, the celebration that athletics represents.
Designer Genesby Bill McKibbenOrionApril 30th, 2003Once you accept the idea that our bodies are essentially plastic, and that it's okay to manipulate that plastic, there's no reason to think that consumers would balk because "genes" were involved instead of, say, "toxins." Especially since genetic engineering would not promote your own vanity, but instead be sold as a boon to your child. The vision of genetic engineers is to do to humans what we have already done to salmon and wheat, pine trees and tomatoes.
Watson's Worldby Susan LindeeScienceApril 18th, 2003
Keep Us Human: If We're Truly Smart, We'll Refuse to Foolishly Tamper with Our DNAby Bill McKibbenLos Angeles TimesApril 14th, 2003
Human Biotechnology: Responding to Emerging Dangerous New Human Geneticsby Jesse ReynoldsZ MagazineMarch 31st, 2003
“Do We Want Science to Reinvent Human Aging?”by Bill McKibben and Gregory StockTranscript of live debateMarch 27th, 2003
The Threshold Challenge of the New Human Genetic TechnologiesMarch 1st, 2003We are fast approaching arguably the most consequential technological threshold in all of human history: the ability to alter the genes we pass to our children.
The Weapons of Mass CreationAre we ready for genetically enhanced 'designer people'? If so, who will make the titanic decisions involved?by Caroline S. WagnerLos Angleles TimesFebruary 13th, 2003
A Threat to Our Coherent Human Futureby Bill McKibbenWashington PostJanuary 5th, 2003
Excerpts from Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age by Bill McKibbenNovember 30th, 2002
Humanity 2.0by Carl ElliottWilson QuarterlyNovember 30th, 2002
"Designer Baby" Advocate Gregory Stock Gives Keynote at Biotechnology Investment ConferenceGenetic CrossroadsOctober 25th, 2002
New York Times Reviews Gregory Stock's Redesigning HumansGenetic CrossroadsSeptember 18th, 2002
Deoxyribonucleic Acid Tripby Gina Maranto New York TimesAugust 28th, 2002
The Science and Politics of Genetically Modified Humansby Richard HayesWorldwatchJuly 1st, 2002Will new genetic technologies be carefully controlled for their benefits—or will they inadvertently destroy civil society? Say hello to the post-human ideology.
The Genome as CommonsThrough all the trials and tribulations of human history what binds us in the end is our common humanityby Tom Athanasiou and Marcy DarnovskyWorldWatchJuly 1st, 2002Perhaps we must put the human genome itself on this endangered commons list, and note that if this genetic commons too is lost to partition and privatization, if it too becomes the privilege of the affluent, then none of us on either side of the divide can be sure of retaining the "humanity" we like to think we've achieved.
The New Eugenicsby Michael DorseyWorld WatchJune 30th, 2002
Inside the Very Strange World of Billionaire John Sperlingby Melanie WarnerFortuneApril 29th, 2002
Key Quotes from Advocates of Species-Altering TechnologiesMarch 31st, 2002Key Quotes from Advocates of Species-Altering Technologies
Human Cloning Advocate Pushes Fertility Clinics to OK Sex SelectionGenetic CrossroadsOctober 3rd, 2001
EVENTS AND RESOURCESGenetic CrossroadsAugust 18th, 2001
What Cloning Has Wroughtby Gia Fenoglio National Journal MagazineAugust 4th, 2001
"Next Step for Science" and "Shaping Things to Come"Genetic CrossroadsMay 16th, 2001
Flood of Responses to Watson's Genetic DeterminismGenetic CrossroadsJanuary 7th, 2001
New Comments on Human Genetic Modification by Noted Figures: James Watson, Daniel Wikler, Gregory StockGenetic CrossroadsDecember 7th, 2000
Scientists, Activists, and Biotech Execs Debate Human Genetic Modification at State of the World ForumGenetic CrossroadsOctober 16th, 2000
News Stories about Tinkering with DNA Miss the Big PictureGlowing Rabbit Shows We're Creeping Toward Redesigning Human Lifeby Tom Abate San Francisco ChronicleSeptember 25th, 2000
"Human Genetics Calendar 2000 to 2040" by Corporate Futurist Joseph CoatesGenetic CrossroadsAugust 4th, 2000
Lee Silver on "Type I" and "Type II" enhancementsGenetic CrossroadsAugust 4th, 2000
RECENT EVENTGenetic CrossroadsJune 12th, 2000
ALERT: California Human Cloning Advisory Committee meets in San Francisco on Monday, May 15Genetic CrossroadsMay 10th, 2000
"Enhancing the Human" symposium with Gregory Stock, Peter Sloterdijk, Daniel Kevles, Paul Billings, Gregory Benford; UCLA, May 21Genetic CrossroadsMay 10th, 2000
"The Operable Human," Peter Sloterdijk, Harvard University, May 19 Genetic CrossroadsMay 10th, 2000
Designing Baby: Scientists on Verge of Manipulating Human DNAby Daniel Q. HaneyAssociated PressMay 5th, 2000
Conference on "Extended Life / Eternal Life"Genetic CrossroadsApril 16th, 2000
New book by Gregory Stock and John Campbell promotes human germline engineeringGenetic CrossroadsApril 16th, 2000
More media attention to advocates of techno-eugenicsGenetic CrossroadsApril 16th, 2000
Atlantic Monthly article on corporate-university tiesGenetic CrossroadsApril 16th, 2000
Wired Magazine: Prestigious researchers at Extropy Institute conferenceGenetic CrossroadsFebruary 28th, 2000
New Scientist: "The Last Taboo"Genetic CrossroadsFebruary 4th, 2000
Lord Robert Winston: "Genetically Modified Babies Inevitable"Genetic CrossroadsFebruary 4th, 2000
Charles Murray: "Deeper into the Brain"Genetic CrossroadsFebruary 4th, 2000
OTHER NEWS AND POINTERSGenetic CrossroadsDecember 26th, 1999
The New Eugenics: The Case Against Genetically Modified Humansby Marcy DarnovskyDifferent Takes (Spring 2000)
Time magazine provides forum for designer baby advocatesGenetic CrossroadsNovember 21st, 1999
Bioethicist Arthur Caplan predicts designer babiesGenetic CrossroadsNovember 21st, 1999
Lester Thurow advocates genetic enhancementGenetic CrossroadsNovember 21st, 1999
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