TED Conversations

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

Evolution 2.0, What to expect and who is incharge of next evolution ?

Michael Pawlyn ,in his talk, explained that our industrial design are inefficient ,expensive and producing lots of wastage polluting our environment, whereas organisms complete the same efficiently and without much wastage !!. He suggested learning from the nature's R and D program to tackle the problem of the world. Angela Belcher is scaling that up to a whole new level. Whether we are ready or not, Evolution 2.0 is at our doorstep. We as a human species will be shaping this neo-evolution. So I was wondering what to expect from this new technology. What are the good or bad side of it ? As Paul Root Wolpe had put it "it's time to question bio-engineering" and would like to ask you the expected implication and how should ethics cap this technology ?

Share:
  • Apr 27 2011: Well, we can expect the people who are controlling evolution 1.0 to continue to control evolution 2.0. What I mean by this is that those with money, power, and expertise will be able to control the tone and direction of evolution 2.0 unless a social paradigm shift occurs (once this happens, all bets are off since we can't accurately imagine post-paradigm shift society). Just as technology often serves those in power more than those out of power currently, so will evolution 2.0 likely serve those in power before it serves those with little. Maybe there will be a technological trickle down effect. That would be nice.

    But the way I see it, evolution 2.0, or neo-evolution has more potential for those at the top of the pyramid than those on the bottom (especially once the implications of overpopulation that would come about with greatly enhanced and lengthened life span exist)
    • Apr 27 2011: This is definitely something that pops into my head as well, even with our exponentially accelerating technology the price meter only scales down when they've milked the last drop from the people willing to pay the most. Hopefully with bio-engineering comes the creation of people more inclined to make more intelligent decisions about this than the state of the world seems to allow today, but only the future will tell that. On the same token at least the rich and greedy will have to be the lab rats to this new-found technology, our short-term thinking and reasoning isn't going to be enough to foresee all the complications and margin for error when it comes to creating the building blocks for humans.
      We have so much responsibility when it comes to tinkering with nature, and so little foresight. We've already seen some negative consequences from bio-engineered plants, the inevitable human ones will no doubt be tragic, but it won't stop me from encouraging the technology to push its limits. That being said I don't think modifying the human body/mind is going to sit well with a lot of conservative view-points and will have to be fought to death in the courts before it will be available (to the public, anyway).
      I think a lot of these problems will be reasoned out by the people we create as long as we hold the ability to make their brain surpass the intellectual functionality of ours. A part of me fears being the generation to leap evolution into hyperdrive and watch it soar, another part of me revels in it.
      • Apr 27 2011: @ Ben and Jonathan, I also do believe that this kind of technology will serve the richest and powerful. Hopefully, it will be cheap enough that ''normal'' earning people may one day afford it. I was just wondering how would our society evolve with those technologies. Just imagine that organ transplants not being a big issue someday, how would people go around with their body ? You can drink as much as you like, because liver transplant may not be a big issue. You can be couch potato, because you can get a athlete heart readily. How would our society be then ?
  • thumb
    Apr 27 2011: I think this will be the ultimate test ground for those who believe in ;'enlightened self interest'. If we cannot see past the interests of our own group- whatever we perceive that to be- the possibility for a group of people who can engineer their own progeny to be exceptional through genetic engineering looms.