New technologies to ‘reinvent and upgrade’ the human species are causing widespread alarm around the globe.
Scientists have perfected a number of ways to create a race of ‘supermen’ – humans with enhanced eyesight to see in the dark; with their genetic clocks altered to live longer; using drugs that dramatically reduce the need for sleep; and bearing tiny embedded devices that help them remember everything. We can even make people smarter.
But… should we?
Human rights groups, politicians, the media and academics are locked in an intense debate about the ethics of these sciences and technologies. The fear is of creating an entirely new dimension of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’
“We’re talking about two-tier humanity. A small group of ‘super-humans’ – and the rest of us. This is akin to the nightmare of Nazi supremacy,” says Andrew Tsitsakis, leader of the OneHumanity activist group.
On the other side, scientists are pointing to the benefits. “Enhanced humans are still just humans. They can simply perform better and faster,” says genetic pioneer Dr Alan Cheng. “This means we can tackle mankind’s problems more effectively and rapidly.”
Both sides of the argument have merit. But the problem is that scientists in countries like North Korea and even China, where public opinion matters less, are already creating ranks of super-workers.
“We no longer have time for comfortable ethical debates,” says radical futurist Enoch Callaghan. “This is a market reality and we had better all learn how to manage it. Superhumans are the face of tomorrow – and just think of the business opportunities!”