Just Because You Can, Should You?
Time for a heavy article by JW. 🙂
Why is it that the human race has this inability to stop itself from researching a technology past the point of being helpful to being harmful or weaponized?
A lot of people would argue that was the case for splitting the atom. I know it was not developed as something that would enhance humanity, but it has in many ways from safe nuclear power to space probes that explore our solar system to helping us gain knowledge. It helps sterilize medical instruments and even cure cancer, yet it can still be used to wipe out every living creature on the planet.
A more recent technology is genetic manipulation. This has the potential for eliminating many genetic diseases from Alzheimer’s to male pattern baldness. So far, we have managed to avoid creating genetic alterations to create super humans. In Star Trek Enterprise they explore this with the character Dr Soong creating the augments. At one point Captain Archer looks at Doctor Phlox and says something to the effect of "your people explored genetics and didn’t come anywhere close to trying to create a superhuman." Dr Phlox says something like, "Maybe we just got lucky." Make no mistake if this technology had been around in the 1930s, Germany would have been researching it.
The current example of this is what is called “trans humanism”. Elon Musk started a company called Neuralink which was created to explore linking the human brain to computers. Most people’s first thought is why and hell no, but hear me out. This technology has the potential to be able to take someone who has had a stroke and can’t talk to fix that. It can take someone who was born with having seizures and fix that. It may be able to fix autism and many other brain disorders. It can also link the brain to the internet and give you access to the knowledge found on it in a fraction of a second. I have a problem remembering certain words or people’s names. It’s frustrating not being able to think of the word I want to use. I keep notes on my phone just for this. My brain could be linked directly to my notes.
The downside of trans humanism is gigantic. The ability for the government to not only track your movements but to know what you are thinking - talk about the thought police. I doubt it is possible to have the good without the bad. Once the link is made someone will come along trying to exploit it. All I can think of with trans humanism is the Borg and if you don't know about the Borg, you should really check out Star Trek: Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. Then you will understand why trans humanism is scary.
Why do humans have such a hard time resisting knowledge for the sake of knowledge. The perfect example of this is what we all just went through. Some research scientists claiming to be doctors wanted to research creating viruses under the guise of creating vaccines to cure the disease before the virus comes into existence. I can understand that but in the case of Covid-19 researchers were taking genes from one virus and inserting them into another virus to see if it would have an ability that it didn’t have before. This is called “gain of function”. (This is absolutely what happened and there is no doubt certain medical persons lied under oath about it. That is not open to debate.) I understand trying to create cures for viruses, but this was a case that the virus never had that ability and never would have mutated to have that ability so why were they doing it? There are only 2 answers and only one of which is arguable. Was it the human quest for knowledge or was it to weaponize it into a biological weapon? The real kicker is the US gave China, a country who has a 100-year plan to wipe out the US, the money and knowledge to create a weapon that could wipe out the people that gave them the money. Why would you do that? President Obama signed an executive order banning “gain of function” research. President Trump extended it. Dr Fauci wrote a new definition for “gain of function” research so he could continue doing it. Why? What is the punishment for violating an executive order? Apparently, a retirement package of about $414,000 a year.
Superior ability breeds superior ambition - Spock, "Space Seed"
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