Christian Long

Gregory Stock: To Upgrade is Human

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Reflection by CONNOR M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Gregory Stock: To Upgrade is Human

Human and technological advancement is a quickly growing industry of recent. Stem cells, cloning, altering our genes, altering our minds… some see it as a dark road ahead, some see it is a bright future. Whatever the consequences, we as humans are bound to follow this advancement.

As Stock describes it, we are human, flesh and blood. It is our nature to advance ourselves, and in the present day, technology seems to be the largest asset to do so.

Drugs have made great strides in past years, even in 2003 when this TED talk was given. Stock describes the current drug advancements as little baby steps towards a bigger future. What if we were to develop something that alters our emotions, something that would make us perfectly happy and without any side effects? That is a novel concept, for many of today’s drugs are riddled with dangerous side effects. On that matter, is it really a bad idea to use this drug that has no side effects? Is it immoral? There is no doubt that we as a society will try something of the sort out if it were to be developed, but what is the setback of doing so? Would we still be ourselves, or would that really matter if it improved us as people?

Immorality is a major issue concerning the people who are for banning such development, but there is no question that it will be used it if were developed. As Stock puts it, it isn’t a question of if it will be done, but rather when and where.

Digging even deeper into the morality, aging could very well be remedied in the coming years. Retardation or even reversal of aging could be a discovery, as Stock says. This especially is a dilemma. Are we right to deny ourselves of death, or do we even have that right? It is certainly against nature, for the one sure thing in life is death.

It is far from sure if we will ever know what is right. The right is farther and farther away from our viewpoints every day. The lines are blurring, as Stock describes, between need and desire, therapy and enhancement, and treatment and prevention. We won’t know what the people of tomorrow are going to choose; we barely even have our own minds set on what is right. Some say these troubling advancements are the worst thing in the world, while others describe them as the great foundation on which the future will stand on.

Whether we lose touch with reality or not, we are still the architects of the future. More than ever technological advancements have been encouraged, despite the opposition, and conducted at an overwhelming rate. Hundreds of years ago, advancement took place over a span of many years. By the nineteenth century, especially on into the twenty-first, only ten or even five years would bring an array of advancements. Every year we come into contact with a new technology, something that will affect our lives dramatically. It will certainly change it, for the world of ten years ago is far different from the world of today. As Stock says, we should be grateful of the incredible privilege to be alive right now, to experience this change. It is similar to living in two different worlds at the beginning and end of our lives.

We will advance in these things, experience these biological advancements; there is no question of that.

What matters is how we look at it.

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