More Than Human – THINKING AHEAD – CIO Magazine Dec 15,2004

From the Dec 15, 2004 CIO magazine – More Than Human. The article presents a basic overview of Transhumanism, but its main focus is on the potential benefits and challenges to managers.

Transhumanism—the practice of enhancing people through technology—sounds like science fiction. But when it arrives (and it will), it will create unique problems for CIOs…

From a purely capitalist point of view, one virtue of transhumanism is that it incorporates both body and mind into the continuous upgrade cycle that characterizes contemporary consumption patterns. Once a given modification—such as a cortical display—is successfully invented, newer and better ones will crop up on the market every year, boasting lower power requirements, higher resolution, hyperspectral sensitivity, longer mean time between failures, richer recording, sharing and backup features, and so on…

When brains can interact with hard disks, remembering will become the equivalent of copying. Presumably, intellectual property producers will react with the usual mix of policies, some generous, some not. Some producers will want you to pay every time you remember something; others will allow you to keep content in consciousness for as long as you like but levy an extra charge for moving it into long-term memory; still others will want to erase their content entirely as rights expire, essentially inducing a contractually limited form of amnesia…

Peter Cassidy, secretary-general of The Anti-Phishing Working Group, is one of the few analysts thinking about neurosecurity. He says that a key problem is that the brain appears to consider itself a trusted environment. When brain region A gets a file request from region B, it typically hands over the data automatically, without asking for ID or imposing more than the most minimal plausibility check. It is true that with age and experience our brains do gradually build up a short blacklist of forbidden instructions, often involving particular commands originating from the hypothalamus or adrenal glands (for example, “bet the house on red,” or “pick a fight with that bunch of sailors”), but in general, learning is slow and the results patchy. Such laxity will be inadequate in an age when brainjacking has become a perfectly plausible form of sabotage.

These are just a couple of quotes, the article has much more detail. We may not have to deal with these issues anytime soon, but they definitely give food for thought on some things we are dealing with today.

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