20
Oct
08

Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future

Francis Fukuyama
Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnical Revolution
Area: Digital Media

•    No end of history unless end of science
•    Biotechnology threats:
o    Tom Wolfe: “Sorry, but your soul just died
o    Longer life and reduced mental capacity
o    Freedom from depression with freedom from creativity and spirit
•    Three scenarios
o    Advances in neuropharmacology = human behavior more plastic
o    Stem-cell research = increased life expectancies/regeneration
o    Optimize reproduction
•    Use power of state to regulate biotechnology
•    Globalization ensures the advancement of biotechnology
o    Any country that tries to limit/place ethical constraints on scientific communities will ultimately be punished
•    “While everyone has been busy staking out ethical positions pro/con various technologies, almost no one has been looking concretely at what kinds of institutions would be needed to allow societies to control the pace and scope of technological development”
•    More regulation, but not something that should be called for lightly
•    Fukuyama believes that biotechnology should not/cannot be controlled
o    Who decides control of new biotechnologies?
•    Watson: make mothers the regulators
•    “Even if we decide that technology should be legitimately controlled, we face the problem of whether it can be.”
•    Raising costs for access to “objectionable” sites will automatically regulate/control
7: “The most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a ‘posthuman’ stage of history.  This is important, I will argue, because human nature exists, is a meaningful concept, and has provided a stable continuity to our experience as a species.  It is, conjointly with religion, what defines out most basic values.  Human nature shapes and constrains the possible kinds of political regimes, so a technology powerful enough to reshape what we are will have possibly malign consequences for liberal democracy and the nature of politics itself.”

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