Conference Report

Promises and Challenges in Genomics and Computer Science The Future of Human Nature: Promises and Challenges in Genomics and Computer Science

Published Spring 2003 (73 pages)
Download PDF
Also at the Encyclopedia of Earth.

This conference focused on scientific and technological advances in genetics, computer science, and their convergence during the next 35 to 250 years. In particular, it focused on directed evolution, the futures it allows, the shape of society in those futures, and the robustness of human nature against technological change at the level of individuals, groups, and societies. It is taken as a premise that biotechnology and computer science will mature and will reinforce one another. During the period of interest, human cloning, germ-line genetic engineering, and an array of reproductive technologies will become feasible and safe. Early in this period, we can reasonably expect the processing power of a laptop computer to exceed the collective processing power of every human brain on the planet; later in the period human/machine interfaces will begin to emerge. Whether such technologies will take hold is not known. But if they do, human evolution is likely to proceed at a greatly accelerated rate; human nature as we know it may change markedly, if it does not disappear altogether, and new intelligent species may well be created.

The Conference was co-organized by Prof. Charles DeLisi and Dr. Kenneth Lewes. Prof. DeLisi is the Senior Associate Provost for Biosciences and the Arthur G.B. Metcalf Professor of Science and Engineering at Boston University. Dr. Kenneth Lewes is an independent psychoanalyst and author.