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January 17th, 2007

Nanotechnology Will Reshape Humanity

(The spiritual meta-site Beliefnet solicited this response to Nigel Cameron‘s assertions that nano-medical human enhancement would diminish our humanity. Thanks to Beliefnet for looking for both sides of the issues.)

Suffering doesn't make us better people. We should embrace technology that helps us overcome it.

Nanotechnology--science based on tiny particles--is poised to affect fields as diverse as medicine and international security. Within the next few decades, miniscule machines may deliver cancer-killing drugs to our cells at the same time as terrorists create microweapons invisible to the eye.

With so much potential for both good and evil, nanotechnology has become concern for bioethicists like Nigel Cameron, who said in a Beliefnet interview that nanotech may diminish what it means to be human. It's also a hot topic for transhumanists, people who believe in using technology to overcome human limitations and live dramatically longer, healthier lives.

George Dvorsky is president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association and a champion of using advanced technologies to enhance human capabilities. Beliefnet asked him to respond, via email, to questions raised by Cameron's critique of nanotechnology applications--and of transhumanists.


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