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Memories of the 28th Century

Improving Humanity

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I realize that improving humanity would be a matter of opinion, but it can be interesting to think about improving a complicated organism. First throw out everything that you have ever read about improving the human race. Some of it might actually be reasonable, but most such things are just wrong. Writers of fiction use improved humans as plot devices, and some scientists test theories by thinking of the implications.

There are good reasons for many of the genetic disorders that people suffer with, and we should wonder why the most deleterious mutations continue to exist, but some do; although there is a tendency for deleterious genes to be lost. Before we eliminate anything it would be a good idea to determine whether there are reasons for that characteristic to exist. If we canít determine all of what it does, then it should be retained.

While eliminating deleterious genes would improve the species, there are things that would make humans better than the species is now. There are a number of possibilities in the link from aleph.com (see below), but there are certain things that would be relatively easy. Improving the shape and material of teeth would be one improvement. If teeth were integrated into a single unit and of solid material, instead of the pieces and layers, then teeth would be more effective and less prone to infection.

The eyes are of the common type that is a rather old design. It generally works, but there are features that might be improved. The retina is very sensitive to pressure and nutrition. A retina that was solid state, rather than electrolytic would be an improvement, but it would have to be developed and written into the genetic code. The variable shape of the eye-socket leads to both near and far sightedness. Reshaping the sockets would help many people.

Reproductive systems certainly could be improved upon, that that is a matter that deserves a separate post (or maybe a novel). But the human brain certainly could be improved.

Using electrolytic transmission is relatively primitive. Converting neural communication to solid conductors would improve the speed and reliability. That would require ďsubstationsĒ situated around the body, but they would be simple, just a few cells in a ganglion. For CNS communications we should phase out neuro-transmitters, because this system is being abused, and it is not very efficient. Just as computing converted to solid-state several decades ago, the brain should go the same way. Switching from a blob of fats and proteins in an aqueous solution to a clean, modern semiconducting system would vastly improve processing, storage, and switching. Direct brain-to-brain communications would become much easier with the semiconductor brain, as would translation from machine language to brain and back. Getting rid of the neurotransmitters and electrolytes would also diminish the incidence of mental illness caused by chemical imbalances. Alas, the semiconductor brain would also make chemical stimulation difficult or impossible, but humans are creative, so someone would devise ways to adjust the system with electronics or by contaminating the system.

Bones and joints are another area where improvement could be made. The material from which bones are made are less than ideal, and there are several candidate materials available. But the material is excellent compared with the way that joints are designed, but the design of joints is largely dependent on the design of the human body as a whole, so a different body shape might be a good idea, but improved joints would be a good start, and I understand that there are replacement joints that are better than the originals, or so the marketing copy says. Iím not planning to replace any joints in the immediate future, but it is an option, and if we put improved design into the human genome, then we will have an easier time living for a thousand years.

One thing that I hadnít thought about before is nutrition and eating. Humans spend a lot of time eating, preparing, or acquiring food. If we could do something useful in that time, then we would have a great improvement. Considering the change in brain and other parts that I have mentioned, some change in nutrition would be appropriate. Using a battery to hold power for running the brain would be a good way to handle cognition, communications, etc. We also should design the human body to make its own electricity, but using outside sources would extra. Between brain and other functions that would become electronic we would be able to reduce the amounts of food consumed. We might be able to adapt the generation facilities of electric ells; although that would require a step-down transformer. This is a new thing, so it will take years of research and development.

This is a subject that expands the more I think about it. What about sex related signals? How would those change, if we switched to electronic communications? Would we have to continue using pheromones anyway, or would smell become a minor function?

What parts of the human body should be replaced, and what sorts of replacements would be best? If you have any ideas, then let me know. The improvements will be developed over the next few thousand years and released when they will be perfected. I have barely scratched the surface, but many people have been working on prosthetics for many years, and they have created some excellent things. Whether any of those could be inserted into the genetic code is a question that will have to be investigated.

Then thereís the matter of reproduction. Would we continue to use the traditional method, or would we send an order into the manufacturing plant? Or would we take a middle course? Which would you favor, and why? And if we didnít do onboard reproduction would orgasms still be necessary for reproduction? Or could we have the pleasure without the work? Yes, it keeps expanding.




Should we improve our genome
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/sc...ur-genome.html

Various improvements
http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Individual...rovements.html


http://www.nature.com/scitable/topic...ngineering-768

Updated 07-12-2014 at 01:48 PM by PeterL

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  1. PeterL's Avatar
    Having the ability to reformat the human "hard drive" is one improvement that we should develop. If humans are only living until they are a hundred, or so, it doesn't make much difference, but after five hundred or a thousand years cleaning out the old memories will be important, especially for the small-minded.


    http://www.theonion.com/articles/eld...:Week1:Default