Thursday, May 21, 2009

Homo Superior

In thinking about how humans might be improved through genetic engineering, I've been playing around with some ideas.

I feel that one of the major questions will be whether we even bother with the more advanced structural improvements on the human body, or if by that point cybernetics and uploading will be far enough along to make that irrelevant.

The first thing to do is probably fixing the various problems and design defects built into people. This ranges from the relatively simple removal of congenital defects on to more complex things, ranging from removing the appendix to having the urethra not go through the prostate gland to flipping the retina of the human eye. Then there's all the problems associated with our bipedalism, the arches in our feet, our knees and the curvature of our spine that could all be improved a great deal. Actually our ankles and wrists could be improved a great deal, that's a problem that goes back to when we first got out of the water. You could also view ageing as a defect that should be edited out.

There are also a number of cognitive aspects of humans that could easily be viewed as problems in need of editing out. This is a fairly interesting side of things, and the thought that prompted me to write this post. I've only studied the beginnings of cognitive neuroscience, and I should probably be consulting Pfau when writing this, but there are a number of mistakes common to human thinking and seemingly inefficient physical organizations of the brain. Why is the main vision processing center of the brain at the back of the head? I think it would be pretty interesting to see how the brain could be reorganized to minimize the length needed to transmit singles. They're getting pretty good at tracing axons with diffusion MRI. As far as improvements for mental processes, this page had a fairly good outline. How we'd go about fixing these basic illogical thought process, I'm not sure.

Further on, there's a good number of things that we could steal from other lifeforms that could greatly improve human life without going so far as to the point were we stop being recognizably human. I for one would love to have bird lungs, for example. Beyond that, you get to imaging doing whatever you'd want, and that's a bit beyond the scope of what I've been thinking about. I'm fairly attached to my human form.

Well, more to think on this later, for now, good night.

1 comment:

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