Wednesday, January 15, 2020
A Summary of Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau Essay
Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau has chapters on two scenarios of the future of humans. Both Heaven and Hell Scenarios have Ã¢â¬Å"The CurveÃ¢â¬ involved, but the dangers of the GRIN technologies make the Hell Scenario more likely. Rise of technology will lead to the downfall of humanity due to Bioengineered Disease Agents/Weapons. Supporting ideas for this topic are: threat of humans creating dangerous weapons such as pox with cobra venom, biotechnology such as the Australian mouse pox incident being dangerous, and the rise of technology may enhance a plague and kill more people than a natural plague. Garreau is worried about humans being changed so much we wonÃ¢â¬â¢t be able to tell who is who. Also, we might end up missing Ã¢â¬Å"typical human characteristics.Ã¢â¬ To Garreau, human nature is Ã¢â¬Å"the sum of the behavior and characteristics that are typical of the human species, arising from genetic rather than environmental factors (Garreau, 159).Ã¢â¬ A couple early warning signs weÃ¢â¬â¢re entering The Hell Scenario are: Ã¢â¬Å"Almost unimaginably bad things are happening, destroying large chunks of the human race or the biosphere, at an accelerating pace, and technologies continue to accelerate as individual nations, continents, tribes or movements jockey for position in a hostile world (Garreau, 184).Ã¢â¬ Chapter four mentions the GRIN technologies. Gregory Stock is the G, nanotechnology is the N, and computer intelligence is the I. Gregory Stock is the director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at the School of Medicine of the University of California at Los Angeles. According to Garreau, Stock thinks humans will transcend because of genetic engineering and not because of computers which is what Kurzweil thinks. There are two kinds of nanotechnology. The first Ã¢â¬Å"reduces big things to sizes so astonishingly little that their behavior changes dramatically (Garreau, 118).Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Promising godlike powers, immortality and unimaginable wealth (Garreau, 118)Ã¢â¬ is the second kind. One example of the first kind of nanotechnology is the Ã¢â¬Å"buckyballÃ¢â¬ which is nicknamed in Buckminster FullerÃ¢â¬â¢s honor. Its properties are: Ã¢â¬Å"60 times the strength of steel, the weight of plastic, the electrical conductivity of silicon, the heat conductivity o f diamond and the size and perfection of DNA (Garreau, 119).Ã¢â¬ The second kind of nanotechnology starts with Eric Dexler. With his book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, he discusses his ideas. Growing objects such as a car, or a TV will be possible with nanotechnology. Computer intelligence has two meanings: weak and strong. ThereÃ¢â¬â¢s a man name Ray Kurzweil, also known as Ã¢â¬Å"the restless genius,Ã¢â¬ in the movie Transcendent Man. He said, Ã¢â¬Å"technology feeds on itself and gets faster and faster. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s gonna continue and in about forty years the basic changes are going to be so astonishingly quick that you wonÃ¢â¬â¢t be able to follow it unless you enhance your own intelligence with the technology weÃ¢â¬â¢ve created.Ã¢â¬ According to Garreau, KurzweilÃ¢â¬â¢s thinking of the weakness of humans was affected by his and his wifeÃ¢â¬â¢s family being destroyed by the Holocaust and his dad suffering from a heart attack and dying at age 58. KurzweilÃ¢â¬â¢s view of human nature is humans, unlike reptiles, are capable of higher functions such as love, art, culture and technology. He Ã¢â¬Å"can seeÃ¢â¬ the hell and prevail scenarios and mentions avoiding dangerous technologies such as nanotechnology is unrealistic. He said, Ã¢â¬Å"Most technology will be nanotechnology in the 2 020s. You would have to relinquish all of technology.Ã¢â¬ Kurzweil calls Ã¢â¬Å"The Curve of exponentially increasing technology (Garreau)Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"The Law of Accelerating Returns.Ã¢â¬ He thinks humans donÃ¢â¬â¢t have control of the force (the Curve) and itÃ¢â¬â¢s a Ã¢â¬Å"pattern of life (Garreau).Ã¢â¬ Surviving Progress mentioned a term called Ã¢â¬Å"Progress trap.Ã¢â¬ According to the video a progress trap was created Ã¢â¬Å"to define human behavior that seem to provide benefits in the short term, but ultimately leads to disaster because theyÃ¢â¬â¢re unsustainable.Ã¢â¬ An example that was provided was our ancestors hunting mammoths. Hunters who discovered how to kill two mammoths made progress. Driving a herd over a cliff was discovered which led to making too much progress. Also, this progress trap could be related to the Curve. The movie stated, Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ We think progress is more of the sameÃ¢â¬ ¦ Like we should make our machines better and make more machines.Ã¢â¬ Technology is rising due to humans trying to make progress which ended up being too much. According to the movie, we are essentially the same people as those stone age people, culture has become completely detached from natural evolution, and our knowledge and technology (ability to do good or harm) has grown out of proportion. After, he went to the topic Ã¢â¬Å"the mortal threat from the development of self-replicating man-made anything (Garreau, 145),Ã¢â¬ but he found information which lead him to believe biotech is a greater threat. Francis Fukuyama is Ã¢â¬Å"one of AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s most thoughtful and challenging public intellectuals (Garreau, 155).Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"He defines human nature as Ã¢â¬Å"the sum of the behavior and characteristics that are typical of the human species, arising from genetic rather than environmental factors (Garreau, 159).Ã¢â¬ Also, Fukuyama said, Ã¢â¬Å"The thing IÃ¢â¬â¢m worried the most about is the attempt to modify on a large scale some basic characteristics of human behavior in ways that will make us scarcely recognizable (Garreau, 159).Ã¢â¬ Different versions of hell are mentioned in Radical Evolution. Ã¢â¬Å"For Francis Fukuyama the lowest ring of hell will be reserved for those who, through biotechnology, dream of leaving behind human nature (Garreau, 155).Ã¢â¬ GarreauÃ¢â¬â¢s conclusion from his studies is there will be three different types of humans: The Enhanced, The Naturals, and The Rest. The Enhanced are people who use GRIN technologies, The Naturals are humans that have an opportunity to become Enhanced but choose not to, and The Rest are people who donÃ¢â¬â¢t have a choice of becoming Enhanced. Questions are asked which are: Ã¢â¬Å"If a person has a test-tube baby, is she an Enhanced?Ã¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"If a person has a Viagra prescription, is he an Enhanced?Ã¢â¬ Garreau wants to use The Shakespeare Test to answer the question: Ã¢â¬Å"How will you someday tell, looking at an Enhanced, if she genuinely represents a transformation of the species-comparable to the difference between Neanderthals and tod ayÃ¢â¬â¢s humans?Ã¢â¬ Bill Joy is Ã¢â¬Å"the Edison of the Internet.Ã¢â¬ Joy stated, Ã¢â¬Å"Ethical humans, not robots, dominated this future, and I took RoddenberryÃ¢â¬â¢s dream as part of my own (Garreau, 141).Ã¢â¬ After Joy hearing a debate between Kurzweil and John Searle on the Heaven Scenario, Joy thought of a hell scenario. Both scenarios have The Curve. Although Joy thought of the idea he doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t have a book of The Hell Scenario. At first Joy focused on the topic of Ã¢â¬Å"overcoming peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s denial (Garreau, 145),Ã¢â¬ but to him it seems itÃ¢â¬â¢s already a topic that had a lot of discussion. After, he went to the topic Ã¢â¬Å"the mortal threat from the development of self-replicating man-made anything (Garreau, 145),Ã¢â¬ but he found information which lead him to believe biotech is a greater threat. When Saddam Hussein was in power Iraq was working to mix pox and cobra venom with the knowledge of fowlpox with venom extract kills more chickens. Another piece of information is the incident with Australian mouse pox. This virus can kill every mouse it infects. Since smallpox is a close relative, it could be genetically modified to be as fatal. In a description by Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher Lucretius a quote says, Ã¢â¬Å"A flame, like flame in furnaces, would blaze/Within the stomach (Garreau, 148).Ã¢â¬ These make up The Hell Scenario. First, Pox with cobra venom was almost made after the second Gulf War, but in the process of itÃ¢â¬â¢s making, the invention was ruined due to bombings. When Saddam Hussein was in power Iraq was working to mix pox and cobra venom with the knowledge of fowlpox with venom extract kills more chickens. After hearing this, Ã¢â¬Å"JoyÃ¢â¬â¢s alarm is underlined by the fact that such a weapon in the hands of someone like Saddam Hussein was a serious worry (Garreau, 146).Ã¢â¬ Second, is the incident with Australian mouse pox. This virus can kill every mouse it infects. Since smallpox is a close relative, it could be genetically modified to be as fatal. In Australia, mice were everywhere and scientists tried to find a way to control them. According to Garreau, Ã¢â¬Å"Toward this end, two Canberra researchers, Ron Jackson and Ian Ramshwo, in late 2000 were trying to create a new mouse contraceptive. Instead, they created a monster. They added one gene to a mouse pox virus, and this new virus turned out to be 100 percent fatal.Ã¢â¬ Next, A modern plague will be more dangerous than a plague in the past. In a description by Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher Lucretius a quote says, Ã¢â¬Å"Recurrent spasms of vomiting would rack alway their thews and members, breaking down with sheer exhaustion men already spentÃ¢â¬ ¦ the inward parts of men, in truth, would blaze unto the very bones; A flame, like flame in furnaces, would blaze within the stomach (Garreau, 148).Ã¢â¬ This shows the symptoms of the plague of Athens. With that in mind, imagine what a plague enhanced by todayÃ¢â¬â¢s/future generationÃ¢â¬â¢s technology can do. How many people would die? The Inauguration Poem Ã¢â¬Å"One TodayÃ¢â¬ says, Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ ¦ digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands as worn as my fatherÃ¢â¬â¢s cutting sugarcane so my brother and I could have books and shoes.Ã¢â¬ Will we need to work once we reach a point where technology is so advance machines can do the work for us? If that happens humans wonÃ¢â¬â¢t need to work hard or even work at all because machines will be the product of humanÃ¢â¬â¢s past work. In conclusion, possibilities of dangerous weapons, fear from the Australian mouse pox incident, and the high level of threat of a modern plague all make up The Hell Scenario. With these imperfections of humanity itÃ¢â¬â¢s unlikely man kind will follow the Heaven Scenario. Instead man kind will dive into the Hell Scenario because thatÃ¢â¬â¢s a closer match to how things will go with imperfect humans. Works Cited Garreau, Joel. Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our BodiesÃ¢â¬â and What It Means to Be Human. New York: Doubleday, 2005. Print. Ggrefeder. Ã¢â¬Å"Hd Movie Transcendent Man Part 1/7.Ã¢â¬ YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Feb. 2013. Joy, Bill. Ã¢â¬Å"Bill Joy: What IÃ¢â¬â¢m Worried About, What IÃ¢â¬â¢m Excited about.Ã¢â¬ TED: Ideas worth Spreading. TED, 2008. Web. 05 Feb. 2013. Ã¢â¬Å"KurzweilAI | Accelerating Intelligence.Ã¢â¬ KurzweilAI Ray Kurzweil Bio Comments. N.p., 2011. Web. 05 Feb. 2013. Surviving Progress. Dir. Mathieu Roy. Perf. Stephen Hawking, David Suzuki, Jane Goodall. 2011. Netflix. Wade, Nicholas. Ã¢â¬Å"From Ã¢â¬ËEnd of HistoryÃ¢â¬â¢ Author, a Look at the Beginning and Middle.Ã¢â¬ The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Mar. 2011. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.