The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies

Joshua Foer reviews Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human by Joel Garreau, in The Washington Post:

HandFar-fetched as it may sound, the first person who will live to be 1,000 may already walk among us. The first computer that will think like a person may be built before today’s kindergarteners graduate from college. By the middle of this century, we may be as blasé about genetically engineered humans as we are today about pierced ears. These sorts of predictions have a habit of sounding silly by the time they’re supposed to come true, but there’s a certain logic to them. Joel Garreau calls that logic “The Curve.”

The Curve is the untamable force of exponential growth that propels technological progress. It’s the compound interest on human ingenuity. The fact that computing power has doubled every 18 months, right on schedule, for the last four decades is a manifestation of The Curve. So is the rapid expansion of the Internet and the recent boom in genetic technologies. According to the inexorable logic of The Curve, if you want to get a sense of how radically our world will be transformed over the next century, the best guide will be looking back at how much things have changed, not over the past century, but over the past millennium.

More here.