- Laurens Rademakers
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Project Lilliput: let's shrink the human body
The planet is under stress. Soon there will be 9 billion of us. We're not sure whether our planet can sustain the onslaught on its vital organs - from the atmosphere to its rainforests - that this large group of people will bring.
Many "solutions" have been proposed. The most important of these, but also the most questionable, focuses on reducing our numbers. So that we reduce consumption and destruction of the environment. Another one is simply to reduce consumption and worry less about our sheer numbers. Yet another strategy thinks we can achieve much by increasing the efficiency of production and consumption processes (better energy storage and transmission, etc....).
I suggest an alternative. Shrink the human body.
That way there can be billions more of us, that is, billions more brains. The more people, the more joy.
Think of it: our sedentary lifestyles mean that we don't need big legs, strong hips, long arms and all that other useless flesh that has to be fed, carried around and maintained. In theory we could get rid of our limbs, and then shrink all other organs which are big only because they have to feed our large bodies. Most of our daily practical tasks can be performed by robotic assistants. We don't necessarily need hands, legs and arms. Our bodies should be kept just the right size to have our brains work. Not more than that.
Imagine a Boeing 747 carrying 10,000 "heads" from London to Singapore, instead of a mere 450 ordinary humans. Much more efficient. Much less pollution, depletion of resources and so on. Much more fun too. Less risk of puking, etc... And all of them can be fed by a single cube of sugar.
Obviously there are many question marks to this proposal. Just one: would a limb-less individual ever be capable of developing real knowledge - knowledge being the cumulative effect of all our sensorial experiences? If not, can we engineer our way out of this?