I just submitted Sundering of the Species–Conserving Humanity at the Dawn of Posthuman Technology–, to my publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, 400 pp. The challenge I set for myself was to write a creative non-fiction about new science and technology and our changing role in what will prove to be a new order of social and aesthetic engagement. I have researched and thought through the consequences of the recent turns in science that has created two genetically altered humans, and brought us advances in implantable bio-computers, enabling communication between the brain and the digital world. These developments portend our rapid emergence into a posthuman world. But, the creative non-fiction part of the work deals with how we preserve our humanity, our capacity to show compassion or love, our inventions, music and narratives that serve as metaphors for our inimitability as a creative species.
We reached a historic threshold between two different evolutionary states this past November, 2018, when geneticist He Janaki edited the genome of a pair of twins born for the purpose of immunizing them against certain diseases, although the specific genes also have been implicated in increased IQ. Dr. He employed CRISPR, the latest gene editing technology. With this know-how in hand, hundreds of researchers across the world, are in search for genes that express for intelligence, or IQ, using the latest genomic wide association studies involving thousands of subjects, whose DNA has been sampled.
A few of the technologies covered are: (a) germ line genetic engineering; (b) brain implantable bio-computer processors, and (c) artificial intelligence (AI and AGI). The work summarizes the latest psychological, neurological and computer research, in clear language, accessible by anyone who can read the NY Times or Scientific American. It explains, how genetics and neuroscience affect intelligence, and its connection or lack thereof, to different creative modalities. I’ve addressed in detail how we engage in the creative process, and whether the process changes in a new world. One speculation keys off how computer technology now composes music indistinguishable from humans, and in a less impressive way generates poems and jokes. As we become interfaced to these paradigms, we too will compose music. But, I also argue that there are creative domains, our individual narratives, for example, which make us human, ones that AI cannot match.
I raise the prospect that future posthumans will compete with we current 1.0 humans in discovering new truths and perhaps new forms of beauty. These evolved Homo sapiens will, in their own way, flourish in love, compassion, and we would hope, peace and humility. Yet, I imagine that our not-to-distance successors, perhaps many of us, will co-exist with these beings of extraordinarily intellect and physicality. How might we respond? Consider that when this becomes our future, we stand to lose the essence of who we are, the “I” that sits at our core. This lays the basis for the non-creative part of the work.
I’ve divided the book into eight parts: 1) The Inevitable Path Ahead; 2) Biology and Brains ; 3) Technology of Creativity; 4) Creative Psychology & Essence; 5) Posthuman Humanities; 5) Societal Repercussions; 7) Policy and Ethics; 8) Final Thoughts.
I’m looking for a 4th quarter publication–It took 2 years in the making, the last 6 months, 7 days a week-Whew!