New technologies are changing what we can consider real.
Slate, 22 February 2013
The engineers designing our planet and working on Human 2.0 are doing a lot of highly technical things with real tissues and materials and circuits and material cycles and built things. They are constrained by physical laws, less so by existing infrastructures, by economics, and by a whole suite of plans, roadmaps, and design objectives. But out of an unimaginable and vast universe of potential choices, the Earth 2.0 and Human 2.0 line will arise—and they will reflect the dreams, the archetypes, the conflicts, the cultures, the science fiction, the hopes, of humanity. The engineers and their networks and firms and technology systems and research institutions are the working Star Trek planet, and they will give you what you ask for. This is beyond the common lament of “playing God” of the anti-biotech campaigners, however, for what is being designed is everything—from the Earth itself to the designer herself. And it is your fantasies, your fiction, your hates and fears, your loves that guide the design, and the building, and the new truths.
Phi Beta Iota: Engineers mean well, but they are not deeply steeped in ethics or true cost economics or even whole systems thinking. They can do cause and effect at a superficial level, but fall short at the meta-system level, and they are really really bad at anticipating unintended consequences and third order effects. This is a promising perspective fraught with great danger.
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