Stock gave this talk in 2003, just a few weeks before the cloning of Dolly the sheep. Given the speed of biotech, it might seem dated, but it does not. Hear what he has to say in the prophetic talk.
Why you should listen:
Bestselling author and lecturer Gregory Stock examines the evolutionary significance of technological progress. His 1993 book, Metaman, looks (optimistically) toward a future where the symbiotic relationship between human culture and technology increasingly resembles a “superorganism” that can respond, as a whole, to crises like global warming. 2003’s Redesigning Humans poses the alluring — and sometimes frightening — possibility that human biology will soon become customizable: no mere question of availability, but a matter of personal choice.
Who is he:
“Stock sees the cloning controversy as a distraction from issues of real importance, such as balancing offspring trait selection against eugenics. Stock’s other work includes Engineering the Human Germline, which looks at the implications of controlled evolution, and a set of perpetually-bestselling tabletop conversation-starters, the flagship of which is The Book of Questions.
- Even in 2003, there were scientists who wanted to draw the line in biological research and say go no farther. How does Stock respond to this ides?
- Unlike the moon landing, which 40 years later has had little impact, Stock says the biotech revolution will have lasting meaning. Why does he think this?
- Stock says there are two revolutions going on simultaneously now. What are these?
- Is jamming evolution into fast forward a good thing or a bad thing? Defend your answer.
- Stock says that, in reference to biologic change, that “ if we can do this, we absolutely will do this, whatever the consequences are.´ Do you think this is true?
- Stock claims that one of the foundations of our future is going to be the reworking of our biology. Discuss this idea with someone and see what conclusions you draw.