Monday, May 16, 2005

You say you want an evolution ...

    In 2003, President Bush signed a $3.7 billion bill to fund research at the molecular level that could lead to medical robots traveling the human bloodstream to fight cancer or fat cells.
unihumanThat excerpt from today's Washington Post piece, Inventing our Evolution (registration required), will likely upset all those familiar with the real 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which of course will lead to nothing of the kind as long as the act is administered by those who currently run the U.S. nanotech program.

Those who believe such "medical robots" to be firmly in the realm of science fiction would likely shake their heads at their own unsuccessful campaign to rid the media of these images. And those who believe in the feasibility of nanoscale robotics also disapprove of this language because it makes the general public believe a lie -- that the U.S. government is funding the popular, Drexlerian vision of nanotechnology.

And, besides, President Bush's conservative evangelical Christian beliefs would have prevented him from signing anything that smacked of "human enhancement." (Fellow Republican Bob Dole apparently had no such trepidations.)

I must have forgotten to mark World Transhumanist Day on my calendar because two major pieces ran on this theme. The other one, Human evolution at the crossroads, appeared on MSNBC, along with the picture above. Apparently, that's what we're all going to evolve into, larger eyes the result of "greater domestication."

I'm sorry, but the only thing I could think of when I saw that picture is that Mad Magazine was more accurate back in the early '70s in one of those images that has stuck with me since I was a kid. Mad assumed that the next step in human evolution would be to grow incredibly huge asses -- also due to "greater domestication."

In any case, as I've predicted for the past year or so, the stage is being set for the next political battle that will determine what you're allowed to do and what is verboten, if you're a scientist. And "nanotechnology" -- whatever that means, since it will mean different things to different people -- will stand front and center as both the problem and the solution. Everybody have your talking points in order?

Converging ideologies against human performance
Congress is thinking about thinking
Nano superhero is, appropriately, a golem

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