TED Conversations

R H
  • R H
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States

TEDCRED 30+

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How do you think the future of Tech will affect us socially?

Genetically farmed replacement humans, bio-tissue enhancement, personality download, sperm & egg marketing, customized children. These, and many, many more technological advancements are possibly on our horizon (all of my examples are related to genetically enhanced humans - but please offer more examples if you have them - related directly to 'human' or not). Here are some suggested questions to consider, but by no means the only ones: What will be the social ramifications of such development? How will we define what it means to be human? Have 'rights'? What is 'ownership'? What is 'a product'? Who is liable? My main reference points were The World Future Society and Peter Diamandis. As we struggle with the ancient problems of equality in goods distribution, exploitation, and cultural differences, how will such advances in tech either compound our considerations or help 'pave the way' towards more enlightened humanity? These are just suggested points to consider regarding the future impact of tech enhancement on us as people and society. Let your real opinions wander...

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  • Jun 14 2013: It has de-personalized communications between humans and will continue to do so. This will change the way we communicate. The emotions, passion, tone, and gestures associated with a face-to-face communication will be replaced by more articulate written correspondences. There will be an increased dependency on providers of communications services. The struggle to develop a relationship that might lead to marriage will take longer, the point at which couples are ready to have children will continue to be later in life, and consequently I expect the population to decrease and the physical problems with having children later in life to increase.

    Added to the decisions about what mate to select will be your ability to agree on how to customize your children, given the option to do so. Whose side of the family should be favored with feature selection? Heck, just gender! These choices will create many problems for people who want to control everything. Then there is the psychological ramifications on both off-spring and parents associated with making a choice that is later proved to be wrong, or at least poor, and second guessed by everyone including the off-spring. Having nature remove the burden of responsibility associated with making these choices might be something that lets you sleep at night as a parent.

    Is there any way to invest in psychiatry as a profession?
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      R H 30+

      • +1
      Jun 14 2013: Very interesting viewpoint. Thanks. So, you see: a) communication to be 'de-personalized', and and those tasks to be taken over by providers, b) that 'custom designing' children will breed (ahem) multiple ramifications long term, and c) investment opportunity. For a), Our interactions would then become 'professionalized', wouldn't they. I can see it now: "Hello, InterTalk? please tell my significant other that I feel like Italian tonight, not Thai for dinner." InterTalk: "Hello Pat, research has shown that... and therefore tonight Chris prefers Italian." I think I overheard my neighbors having a similar conversation. b) But I'm very interested in your comments on customized children. Using 'predictive analysis' to procreate. In our intentional altering of the very structure of the child, what are we truly creating? Furthermore, at what point in the child's development can we say that we are dissatisfied with the outcome? Now we have abortion. Possibly children will be born in a lab. If, since we 'contracted' for these services we cannot terminate, then who is liable for the child in the event the 'parents' win the court case and refuse delivery? c) I would invest in the stock of corporate collective of psychiatrists. I'm sure a 'least cost/high return' formula would be most attractive: "Honey, did you make your appointment at psych-mart yet?" Please don't take me the wrong way Robert, I'm not trying to make light of your comments - not at all. It's just sometimes I feel we're being 'sold the latest and greatest' and that these new 'products' are not just trinkets anymore, and that our current social models may no longer be adequate. Thanks again.

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