Enhancing human intelligence
To increase human intelligence may involve many things. Here is a short list:
1. Choose the genes of the humans to be reproduced.
2. Modify the genes of the humans after they are born. Gene therapy.
3. Carefully select the environment of the child as to food, sensory input, parents, peers,
educators, books and any other environmental factors such as vacations and television
4. Access to helpful machines such as calculators, computers, digital cameras, the world wide
web and its search engines.
5. Modifications to the human to keep her alive. Adding a pacemaker to keep the heart going,
6. Modifications to the human to keep her functioning properly. Adding a cochlea implant, for
example to restore hearing. List of devices.
7. Improvements to the human to add to abilities and intelligence. An external improvement
may be a simple printed telephone address book with a list of all of one's acquaintences.
8. Adding a computer memory module that has these names and addresses and can be
accessed directly by the brain would be an example of an internal improvement to the human
If I stop the list here, one thing has already become clear. If I define a mature human being to
be one who is 21 and also define a neurosurgeon as someone who has many years of
schooling in medicine beyond that, we can see that it takes decades to create a human to the
desired specifications. We may also note that the ability to attach silicon chips to the human
nervous system is just now beginning to become practical as shown by the fact that although
100,000 people are walking around with cochlea implants, the interface is still quite
primitive. Retinal implants show more complexity but are a more recent technology. The FDA
formally approved the marketing of the 3M/ House cochlear implant in November 1984. Since
we have so much more technology today, I assume that retinal implants will become quite
common among people whose visual cortex is developed.
The point is that we may well find that a human can "learn" Grey's Anatomy and other medical
facts more efficiently by having it implanted rather than take years studying it in medical
school. Detailed analysis of this claim.
1984 FDA approves marketing of cochlea implant.
2007 Second Sight begins early trials of retinal implant.
When do you think that the first person will have access to a silicon memory chip and be
capable of accessing its contents in a useful way?
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