Futurist: Christopher Dewdney
Affiliation: Cultural studies professor at York University and a fellow of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto
Base: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"None of us is naturally human anymore. Increasingly, we use technology to run our bodies more efficiently. As a result, we have entered the transition period between the human and the posthuman: Call it the transhuman era. The goal of transhumanism is to surpass our current biological limitations, whether they be life span, physical beauty, or the capabilities of our brain."
"The human species has always been a work in progress, but technology is changing the game of evolution. Never before have we been able to reach into our genetic structure and rearrange our molecular basis. As technology and life converge, human beings will become more artificial at the same time that machines become more and more lifelike. And one day, technology will become so sophisticated, we won't be able to differentiate between the two."
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"In the future, biological lines will be defined by economics: those who can afford to manipulate their DNA and those who can't. Little intimations of this already exist. People have started to move beyond their natural specifications, becoming more than human. Take the singer Michael Jackson, for example. He is a kind of pioneer of the transhuman era. He has asked, Why not? Why can't I be who I want to be? Inevitably, this divide will lead to a new class of beings who, because of their biotechnological advancements, will actually look and act like a different human species. The result will be profound inequality. Will we be able to stretch our definition of democracy to include people who clearly are better than we are?"
A version of this article appeared in the December 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.