Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human

April 9, 2009
Author:
Joel Garreau
Publisher:
Doubleday (5/17/2005)

Washington Post reporter Garreau takes readers on a cross-country trip into the future as he interviews scientists and other thinkers grappling with the implications of our newfound—and, to some, frightening—knowledge of the genome. Highlighting what he calls “the Curve”—the rate of exponential change in technology—Garreau (Edge City: Life on the New Frontier) breaks the central part of his book into four scenarios. In “Heaven,” genetic engineering will make us stronger and healthier, help us live longer and metabolize our food more efficiently. “Hell” resembles the island of Dr. Moreau: science runs amok, we cripple the genome of our food supplies, and babies are born with unexpected deformities instead of the improved characteristics promised by gene therapies. The “Prevail” scenario might also be called Muddling Through: even if we make a mistake now and then, we will figure out how to slow potentially harmful changes and speed up potentially beneficial ones. Last, “Transcend” considers that humans might conquer the difficulties that lie ahead and emerge into a new age beyond our wildest dreams. Science buffs fascinated by the leading edges of societal and technological change and readers concerned by the ethical issues that change presents will find much to ponder in Garreau’s nonjudgmentallook into our possible futures Agent, John Brockman.
– Publishers Weekly