Our Posthuman Future. Ignorance an Option?
December 30th, 2004

Fred Hapgood reports in the December 15 issue of CIO magazine on transhumanism which might be described as ‘the technology of advanced individual enhancement’.

Sample transhumanist apps could include cell phone implants (which would allow virtual telepathy), memory backups and augmenters, thought recorders, reflex accelerators, collaborative consciousness (whiteboarding in the brain), and a very long list of thought-controlled actuators. Ultimately, the technology could extend to the uploading and downloading of entire minds in and out of host bodies, providing a self-consciousness that, theoretically, would have no definitive nor necessary end.

While some of these abilities are clearly quite far off, others are already attracting researchers. (see “Brain Gain“)

Right now, the only people thinking about transhumanism are futurists, ethicists (such as Fukuyama, 2002 Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution) and researchers. However, if and when we do advance into this technology, several management issues will also need attention.

Still, it’s not clear that boycotting neurotech will be a realistic option. When the people around you—competitors, colleagues, partners—can run Google searches in their brains during conversations; or read documents upside down on a desk 30 feet away; or remember exactly who said what, when and where; or coordinate meeting tactics telepathically; or work forever without sleep; or control every device on a production line with thought alone, your only probable alternative is to join them or retire. No corporation could ignore the competitive potential of a neurotech-enhanced workforce for long.

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