A Changing World: Posthuman

THE STORY SO FAR
We’re trying to improve the accuracy of our perceptions about the world – not only to better understand how the world has changed, but how it might change in the future.

• We’ve seen how the population has grown, by 2 billion in the last 40 years alone, and will continue to grow – to roughly 9 billion by 2030, and 11 billion by the end of the century.

• In spite of growing population, health and wealth has increased worldwide. Life span has increased. Illiteracy and inequality have decreased.

• We’ve also seen that religious affiliation is decreasing, with more and more people leaning on technology for socialization, meaning, a sense of purpose, and even coping.

• What else is changing?

Juan Enriquez: is a futurist who thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society. He was the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and has published widely on topics from the technical to the sociological. He is the former CEO of Mexico City’s Urban Development Corporation and former chief of staff for Mexico’s secretary of state. In his TED Book Homo Evolutis (written with Steve Gullens), Enriquez explores the far reaches of human change, and asks: Are we done evolving?

…right behind the financial crisis there’s a second and bigger wave that we need to talk about. That wave is much larger, much more powerful, and that’s of course the wave of technology.
-Juan Enriquez


• First things first, why did Juan Enriquez begin by talking about the economy?
• Considering the self-feeding pace of technological development, is it all just too much too fast?
• What future problems might come from the engineering of microbes, tissue, and robots?
• Can our social and economic systems handle this rate of change?
• Or will we see a dramatic increase in cultural lag? (The time it takes for a culture to ‘catch up’ to innovation, causing social problems and conflicts.)
• Who will gain the most, be the first to ‘evolve’?
• Will we see a greater divide between the rich and poor?
• Why might the wealthy already be evolving differently than the poor?
• Will only the wealthy evolve into this new species of hominid – and the poor will… what?
woman
• Remember this woman from Hans Rosling’s population documentary?
• Will she have the same access to all of the coming advances in technology as you or I?
• Will she and/or her children have greater opportunity because of these advances?

FINAL THOUGHTS
Ian Goldin: is an economist and development visionary. He is the director of the 21st Century School at Oxford. Through his research and collaboration he is creating powerful new, cross-disciplinary means of envisioning future global problems.

We need to understand that the governance structure in the world is fossilized. It cannot begin to cope with the challenges that this will bring. We have to develop a new way of managing the planet, collectively, through collective wisdom. -Ian Goldin

Optional Homework: Please watch Hank Green’s highly entertaining 10 minute explanation of Epigenetics on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp1bZEUgqVI

Keep the conversation going! Please leave additional thoughts and comments below.

4 Comments on “A Changing World: Posthuman

  1. Hi everyone,
    I just wanted to thank you for letting me participate in your discussion today. I really enjoyed what all of you had to say and will use your insight to further my research on post-humanity. If you would like more information about posthumanity and risk assessments, you can visit Nick Bostrom’s website at http://www.nickbostrom.com/

    Thank you, Conner

  2. Thank you all for such a fun discussion today of so many different topics. 🙂
    Following my son Conner’s visit to our class, I wanted to give you the links to ServiceNation and AmeriCorps. I think ServiceNation does an excellent job of presenting the problems faced by young people today, and proposing solutions. Please share (widely) the idea of a service year with friends and family!
    ServiceNation – http://www.servicenation.org/
    AmeriCorps – http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

    Also, a correction – Each branch of AmeriCorps varies, but it appears that only AmeriCorps NCCC, and FEMA Corps have an age limit of 18-24. All other branches (VISTA, State and National, and SeniorCorps) have no upper age limit that I can find.

  3. Sorry I missed this time because of some form revisiting sickness. My immune system must have caught on some, because it was less this visit.

    Liked the part about how big the banks leverage is. More reasons to go back to separating banks from financial houses. I know, it will be over the bodies of the Circle R Ranch.

    Most people do not know that our government expected our national debt to be PAID by 2012 when Clinton left. http://glennschool.osu.edu/faculty/faculty_flv/LifeAfterDebt.pdfhttp://glennschool.osu.edu/faculty/faculty_flv/LifeAfterDebt.pdf

    But, Circle B Ranch took that away with tax cut, undeclared wars, full price drugs, incompetent cowboy heads, and “his people”, aided by the media of the connected.
    PS, I could find there were no Iraq WMDs or attack before out attack, so some did not want to. Only a cultural change with the kids coming along could solve the cowboy problem.

  4. I have confidence that, if we do not evolve faster than our challenges, our challenges will evolve us. Remember how we lost dinosaurs and we gained birds and then finally us?

    We humans are good at evolving bacteria to better killers in us, and our food. We might have tried to stun bacteria to train our immune system to take over. Might have done that with our food. My best guess that it would have been better for humanity than for immoral money making drug companies.

    Another example is to just look at how fast humans evolved so many dog breeds from wolves. And, I saw how quickly the Russians made bushier dogs from foxes in a few years. I just wonder whether it will be trauma, or us, or both, that will evolve us.

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