More Than Human

Embracing the Promise of
Biological Enhancement

Ramez Naam
Institute for Ethics
and Emerging Technologies

7pm Thursday
November 19, 2015

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What if you could be smarter, stronger, and have a better memory just by taking a pill?
What if we could halt or even reverse the human aging process?



Institute for Ethics and
Emerging Technologies

Ramez Naam is a computer scientist and author.
He’s the H.G. Wells Award–winning author of
More Than Human: Embracing the Promise
of Biological Enhancement
. He’s also
the author of two science fiction novels,
Nexus and Crux — stories about a
nanotechnology that links minds
and the struggle to control it.

Ramez spent 13 years at Microsoft,
where he led teams working on e-mail,
Web browsing, Internet search, and
artificial intelligence.
His most recent nonfiction book, on accelerating innovation to overcome environmental
and natural resource challenges, is
The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas
on a Finite Planet.

He lives in Seattle.




What if we could alter our genes to cure Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?
What if we could communicate with each other simply by thinking about it?

These questions were once the stuff of science fiction. Today, advances in biotechnology have shown that they're plausible, even likely to be accomplished in the near future. In labs around the world, researchers looking for ways to help the sick and injured have stumbled onto techniques that enhance healthy animals--making them stronger, faster, smarter, and longer-lived--in some cases, even connecting their minds to robots and computers across the Internet.

Now science is on the verge of applying this knowledge to healthy men and women, allowing us to alter humanity in ways we'd previously only dreamed possible. The same research that could cure Alzheimer's is leading to drugs and genetic techniques that could boost human intelligence. The techniques being developed to stave off heart disease and cancer have the potential to slow or even reverse human aging. And brain implants that restore motion to the paralyzed and sight to the blind are already allowing a small set of patients to control robots and computers simply by thinking about it.

Not everyone welcomes this scientific progress. Cries of "against nature" arise from skeptics even as scientists break new ground at an astounding pace. Across the political spectrum, the debate roils: Should we embrace the power to alter our minds and bodies, or should we restrict it?

Distilling the most radical accomplishments being made in labs worldwide, including gene therapy, genetic engineering, stem cell research, life extension, brain-computer interfaces, and cloning, More Than Human offers an exciting tour of the impact biotechnology will have on our lives. Throughout this remarkable trip, author Ramez Naam shares an impassioned vision for the future with revealing insight into the ethical dilemmas posed by twenty-first-century science.

"A terrific survey of current work and future possibilities in gene therapy, neurotechnology and other fields." - Los Angeles Times

"Ramez Naam provides a reliable and informed cook's tour of the world we might choose if we decide that we should fast-forward evolution. I disagree with virtually all his enthusiasms, but I think he has made his case cogently and well."
- Bill McKibben, author Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

"More Than Human is one of those rare books that is both a delightful read and an important statement. No one interested in the future intersections of science, technology, and medicine can afford to miss this book."
- Steven Johnson, author of Mind Wide Open and Where Good Ideas Come From

"More Than Human is excellent - passionate yet balanced, clearly written and rich with fascinating details. A wonderful overview of a topic that will dominate the twenty-first century."
- Greg Bear, author of Dead Lines and Darwin's Children

"The future accelerates and change is upon us. The only question - asked cogently in More Than Human - is whether we can learn to ride the waves, or else be swept away. This book is a how-to guide for future-wave riders."
- David Brin, author of EXISTENCE and The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?

Winner of the 2005