Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Women and Biologists are not infallible

The comments to Mike Treder's article on the Singularity are interesting. Michael Anissimov and Athena Andreadis have reacted to the article taking two very different positions. Andreadis post, Girl Cooties Menace the Singularity!, has earned the praise of Carrico himself: White Guys to Infinity and Beyond!

Athena says:

"A recent entry by Mike Treder at the IEET site (Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies) discusses the Singularity in connection with the upcoming Singularity Summit organized by the SIAI (Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence)... I examined the roster of speakers. All are white men. For several, their sole relevant qualification is that they believe in the imminence of the Singularity... Then one of the speakers [note: she is referring to yours truly, but I am not a speaker at the Summit] chimed in, to let me know that “the gender war was a thing of the eighties”. It got even funnier after that, as more Freudian slips showed underneath the space suit of what passes for original progressive thinking."

As a professional and respected biologist, Athena is certainly qualified to speak at such events. But she does not seem too interested: "...the participation of a bona-fide biologist in such an event would be the equivalent of an astrophysicist attending an astrologers’ convention.". It is not pleasant to see this unnecessary insult against a group of very bright persons. Yes, men are also persons, even when they are white.

Then In the comment thread, Athena says:

"as I can tell, the entire transhumanist movement has no truly qualified biologist as a member [sic], nor does it want to — it cramps their style!... As naive as you can be — probably because most transhumanists who aren’t “theorists” work in some aspect of computer systems."

OK, now I am annoyed. Before reading on, please note that I agree with the facts noted by Athena, and with the non-polemic part of her assessment: Yes, there are not enough women and minorities in transhumanist circles. Yes, there are not enough biologists in transhumanist circles. Yes, there should be more.

But the general tone reminds me of the old feminist gender war of the 80s gender war of the 70s. Men are all assholes because they are men. Women are all infallible because they are women. Men have screwed up the world, and women will save it. "Male science" (??) is bad, and "female science" (??) is good (read Egan's Distress). And so many other tired feminist slogans of the 70s.... Yes, I know this is not what Athena means, but this is the overall impression I get.

I am here to tell you that women can be stupid assholes just like men can be stupid assholes, I have known many stupid assholes of both genders just like I have known many great persons of both genders, and I haven't noticed any significant statistical difference yet. I am here to speak with the often forgotten, unPC voice of common sense and I am, or at least I try to be, both gender-blind and color-blind: I listen and pay attention to all those who have something interesting to say, regardless of the color of their skin or the set of genitals they have. This is common sense.

Like many transhumanists (Athena is right in this respect) I was trained as a theoretical physicist and a computer scientist. And it is certainly true that computer people are sort of biased: they are used to thing of data and applications that can be moved from one computational substrate to another and still remain "themselves" in a given computational context (reference to mind uploading). So it is not surprising that many computer experts tend to take ideas like mind uploading, copying consciousness from a biological brain to other hardware, seriously.

But, aren't biologists biased too? It seems reasonable to think that everyone is biased by their own experience and expertise. Also, everyone tends to consider what they do as the most important thing in the world, so it is not surprising that many biologists have a cold reaction to transhumanism upon hearing that our goals include transcending biology and leaving it behind.

There is, I think, a misunderstanding arising from the perception of computing systems as switches and metal wires, like the computers of the 60s. But the definitions of computer systems used by modern computer people are much more general. For example, a biological brain is a computer in the sense that it is a physical system which obeys the laws of physics, performs a well defined computational activity (my brain is computing me) and is, in principle, understandable, reverse-engineerable and improvable. Our knowledge of brain science is not complete and detailed enough to reverse engineer the brain, improve it and read its full content, but it will be someday, perhaps even soon. And future computing systems may well include biological components. Stefano argues on the Cosmic Engineers list: "an embryo and a uterus might well be the most efficient computer to calculate a mammal from its DNA. But what about convergence? "Computers" need not be about metal wires and silicon. They are switching to carbon anyway. Thus, an "artificial" intelligence may well end up being more "organic" than we expected it to be in the fifties.".

So, biologists, don't be scared, the future needs you and will need you even after the Singularity (if such a thing happens). Come join the transhumanist party.

PS same for women.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Transhumanism as Religion

The IEET blog has an article by Mike Treder on Transhumanism as Religion: Do transhumanists hold a set of beliefs that effectively offer an alternative to traditional religions? And if so, is that necessarily bad?

The article discusses a speech given in March 2009 by Steven Goldberg, a Law Professor at Georgetown University: Does the Wall Still Stand? The Implications of Transhumanism for the Separation of Church and State. Mike: "It lays out a fascinating and important challenge to transhumanists, especially relevant to those of us who aspire to think deeply about the meaning of transhumanism and its proper place in the world.". Goldberg's own conclusion: "From the perspective of a non-transhumanist, it seems that it would be honest and sensible for transhumanists to embrace the idea that they offer an alternative to traditional religions.".

The definition of religion used in the article: "A religion addresses fundamental and ultimate questions. [such as] the meaning of life and death, man’s role in the Universe, [and] the proper moral code of right and wrong. Second, a religion is comprehensive in nature. It is not confined to one question or topic.".

I am one of those who interpret transhumanism as an alternative to conventional religion, in the sense that it provides me, and others who adopt a similar interpretation, with an infinite sense of wonder, a deep vision of the meaning of our life and our place in the universe, a warm and beautiful feeling of being a small part of a huge cosmic adventure and, ultimately, peace and happiness. Our cosmic vision is not a mystical pursuit but an engineering program which will result in our spreading to the cosmos and achieving "future magic" in the sense of Sir Arthur's Third Law. Including, even, the resurrection of the dead by "copying them to the future". This Cosmist vision has been recently developed and put in a modern format in the Cosmist Manifesto of Ben Goertzel and the Prospectus of the Order of Cosmic Engineers.

I agree with Goldberg: "transhumanist beliefs about the proper relationship between technology and mankind really do occupy a “place parallel” to that occupied by God in traditional religion... a full-blown transhumanist movement should not resist being analogized to religion. It should embrace the analogy and struggle openly to be accepted as ultimate truth. Otherwise why is transhumanism worth taking seriously?". Some transhumanists, who share with religious persons a deep sensibility to spirituality and a deep interest for big, cosmic issues, do not resist transhumanism being analogized to religion. Others have a knee-jerk reaction at the simple mention of the R word, but I think this is mainly due to bad experiences with conventional religion. A transhumanist "religlion", or better UNreligion, would offer all the mental benefits of a religion without the negative elements of intolerance, self-righteousness and holy wars.

Mike says: "If you accept Goldberg’s premise that transhumanism stands for much more than what would normally be taught in a science or history or philosophy class, then it seems we may have arrived at a somewhat surprising fork in the road: we can either admit—or rather celebrate—our hoped-for ascension as a new foundational system of values for humanity and posthumanity (something like what Tim Dean calls for in this article), proudly offering a legitimate alternative to traditional religious belief; and our other choice, apparently, is to work toward a kind of H+ocracy--not a theocracy, but also not a fully pluralistic democracy--a decidedly unconstitutional establishment of a system of belief overlaying our governmental structure.".

Like him, I don't like the second of these two paths. But I like the first one: to celebrate our hoped-for ascension as a new foundational system of values for humanity and posthumanity.

Last but not least, I don't think this should have any implication for, or impact on, the separation of Church and State. They should stay very well separated. Cosmic visions and day-by-day policies are, in my opinion, two unrelated and non-overlapping spheres of human activity, with little to do with each other. I look forward to the establishment of a new foundational system of values for humanity and posthumanity for those who wish to adopt one, and at the same time I am firmly persuaded that it should not influence today's economic and political choices, which should remain based on concreteness and a pragmatic search for viable and fair solutions for today's world.

Surfing the big G-Wave

Go ...ogle has answered my prayers and given me early developer access to Wave. I am now the proud owner of the Wave account giulio at wavesandbox.com.

A couple of months ago, immediately after watching the presentation of Google Wave on Youtube, I wrote in Big G-Wave coming?:

"Google Wave could be a Big paradigm shift, and change the way we use the Web. Email, chat, discussion groups, wiki, IRC, blogs, microblogs, social network and groupware all in one. Wave may be a Facebook killer and a new Twitter much more integrated with the rest of the Web. Email and IM are obsolete, we will spend our online life in front of a Wave screen. Instead of sending email, IM and tweets, writing blogs and logging on Facebook, we will plug in dynamic and interconnected Waves...

As a transhumanist, I really look forward to trying Wave. Transhumanism , a sparse and global social movement, required the Web as an essential enabler to bloom, and I wonder how we will use this new powerful communication platform. By enabling us to do things much faster the Web, the new Web 2.0 (is Wave the first example of Web 3.0?) and the mobile Web wake emergent properties of our collective consciousness. We could send snailmail letters hundreds of years ago, but we could not build a new global social movement in a matter of days. Wave may permit doing things even much faster and achieve a critical mass to enable new emergent waves in our developing noosphere.

My first impressions: awesome. Of course, this is a developer preview and some features are not implemented yet, others are implemented but not working, others used to work but today are not working... what you can expect in an alpha developer preview. But the potential is there for everyone to see. Wave is open source, and users are developing new extensions which will certainly result in new and unexpected usage patterns. But I can already see how common Internet usage patterns --email, IM, chat, IRC, collaborative wiki editing and group discussions-- are simpler, faster and better in a Wave implementation. The simplest example is adding new participants to any Wave. Many users say that this is the most impressive application they have seen running in a browser, and ZDNET has an interesting analysis of the potential of Wave for the enterprise.

By one of its creators: "Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved."

Mashable: "Less than two months ago, Google dropped a spectacular surprise upon the world: Google Wave. The communication tool aspires to redefine not only email, but the entire web. And from our very first test of Google Wave to our complete Google Wave Guide, we have to say that it’s a game changer.". I agree --Wave has the potential to change the game. See also the Complete Guide to Wave on Mashable.

Wave is an all-purposes communication platform, meant to offer an alternative to all things people do on the Internet. Something so big would not be accepted if it were a single vendor solution, but Wave is an open source system. I am sure new Wave developments and user extensions will begin moving into the social network niche soon, and developers will create native, embedded voice and video conferencing applications and 3D virtual worlds. The next few months will be interesting. Unfortunately we cannot invite new testers to wavesandbox, but I wish to encourage everyone to request an account: Google will open Wave to more early users in September.

For current wavesandbox users, this review is also available as a wave, you can comment in Wave.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Terasem Movement’s 5th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology

Terasem Movement’s 5th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology took place on July 20, 2009, 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's first Moon landing, at the Terasem Island Amphitheater in Second Life. The topic for this year's workshop was "Applications of Asilomar Guidelines to Self-Replicating Machines": reconciling conflicts, apprehensions, and scientific ambitions regarding self-replicating nanotechnology via use of the practical guidelines developed for biotechnology.

After an introduction by Lori Rhodes, Terasem founder, successful space and biotech entrepreneur, transexual pioneer and visionary transhumanist genius Martine Rothblatt, represented in the picture by her Second Life avatar Vitology Destiny, delivered a kickass presentation on future replicating nanotechnology, its promises and risks, and the significance of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11: "it reminds us of the imperative to move outwards - we must get religiously fanatic about galactic colonization.".

Galactic colonization, spreading to the cosmos, is the ultimate objective for which the Asilomar cautious approach might prove too restrictive. In reply to my question Martine confirmed that today's approach to biotechnology and nanotechnology seems too cautious - we have seen a tremendous growth in information technologies, enabled by a less cautious approach, and thinks only a bolder and more open attitude can enable a similar growth in biotechnologies and nanotechnologies. There is room for everyone: the Singularity University, government, the private sector, NASA...

Martine discussed mind uploading in the context of galactic colonization -- the presence of uploaded minds in self-replicating probes to colonize the galaxy -- and invited the audience to start a gradual, non destructive mind upload process by building a mindfile via her CyBeRev project to upload to self replicating spacecraft take part in the future cosmic adventures of our species. I think the CyBeRev approach to uploading is basically correct, but I also think it can only work in practice with neural BCI (Brain-Computer Interfaces) order of magnitude faster than current person-computer interfaces. However, such interfaces are being slowly developed, and I will certainly work on my CyBeRev mindfile (there are also nice prizes to win).

The main message of Martine is: we need to get off this little rock -- let the party begin -- lets do it now!!. She also talked of the importance of education -- we must use social tools to educate people everywhere on the planet, perhaps with virtual universities, and infect them with a heartfelt viral desire for galactic colonization. We must infect minds with education, the importance of science and technology, the goal of a galactic civilization, and we will make a difference. Martine's talk was (as usual) a great motivational boost, and I am honored to have played a small part in the organization of the workshop.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thoughts on space, on the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing

It is that time of the year when we look at the sky and think about space. 40 years ago, we watched Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon. And many people are once again asking the question, why did we give up space, and when do we go back? Yes, yes, we have telecom and Earth watching satellites, robotic planetary missions that produce a lot of good science and all that. But... I want to see people in space. Do you?

The IEET blog has a post and a poll on Should off-Earth expansion be a high priority for humanity?. The options given in the poll are: No, we should devote all our resources to solving current problems. - We need to expand, but with biologically modified transhumans. - Yes, to protect our species from extinction in all-out war. - No, because humans will never survive long in space. - Yes, in order to preserve Earth from further ecological damage. - Expansion, yes, but with robots first and humans later. - Other: (enter another option). I voted Other: YES!!

In some sense I tend to agree with the option "We need to expand, but with biologically modified transhumans". I am sure our ultimate destiny in space will be, in the beautiful words of Sir Arthur:

"And now, out among the stars, evolution was driving toward new goals. The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and of plastic.

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships. They were spaceships.

But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly passed. In their ceaseless experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.

One may think that it makes much more sense to wait for the development of some transhumanist technologies, and then resume our (post-)human adventure in space. There are a lot of valid points in support of this position, but I think they miss a very important point:

We need space. We need it now. We need it for our mental health as a species.

Watching the Moon knowing that other people are living and working there would be a powerful pointer to future, even more daring cosmic journeys, that could contribute to the mental health of the zeitgeist and give us a renewed confidence in the relevance of our lives on this little planet. Not everyone can be a space explorer, but we are all partners and stakeholders in the cosmic future of our species and its "manifest destiny" among the stars. This is a powerful meme that could result not only in much more support for space, but also in a more positive and proactive attitude on other pressing issues, at a moment of our history where we need positive thinking, confidence and optimism.

The last paragraph is from my paper on A Virtual World Space Agency to be published by Futures (Futures 41 (2009) pp. 569-571) (link). I cannot post the full text here, but I wish to post some excerpts:

We need new initiatives able to ignite the imagination of people, especially young people, al over the planet. I have worked for many years in public space agencies, for example in ESA in the eighties and nineties. I used to say that, despite the scientific value of robotic planetary missions, the practical value of communication, earth observation and navigation satellites, and the pragmatism of a cautious approach to crewed space missions based on the shuttle and the space station, their impact on the public at large was nil. In order to support spending money in space, people need to see other people in space taking risks to do momentous things. This is the simple truth that every marketing or advertising professional knows, but paper pushers in government and industry have forgotten.

For the same reason, aseptic orbital or planetary missions do not sufficiently stimulate young people to study science and pursue careers in technology and space, hence also decreasing the available expertise in terms of both quantity and quality. I used to say that the emphasis on cost-effective pragmatic mission with only a scientific return and no PR value would kill both public and political support for space, and the facts have given me reason.

To my knowledge, nobody said this better than William Sims Bainbridge: "To become fully interplanetary, let alone interstellar, our society would need another leap --and it needs that leap very soon before world culture ossifies into secure uniformity. We need a new spaceflight social movement capable of giving a sense of transcendent purpose to dominant sectors of the society". We need grand cosmic visions and daring exploration projects to muster the drive, energy and commitment to steadily give our best contribution in our chosen fields. Marshall T. Savage published a tentative space exploration and settlement plan, fully compatible with this memetic engineering program and based on current (at the time of writing) science and technology. Savage appreciated that space exploration cannot be disentangled from other industrial and social concerns, and that space settlement will be more a political issue than an engineering problem, and dedicated considerable space to analyzing the best organizational structures and strong criticism to the "standard model" based on national space agencies and big corporations.

Are national space agencies going to take us to space? Are international space agencies going to take us to space? Is industry going to take up to space? In short, no, no, and no.

Who should take the lead?... Why not forming a global P2P space agency of the people, by the people, and for the people? Such a World Space Agency, whose members are not nation-states but individual citizens acting as a focused P2P laser, could act in the best long-term interest of our species and prepare the way for its, our, journey to the stars.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IEET's Treder singing the singularity

IEET's Mike Treder has published a balanced (perhaps a bit too balanced, but good) article on the Singularity:


My comment:

Hi Mike, great article. I will try to attend the Singularity Summit in NYC this year, will you be there? I look forward to seeing you guys.

Would a Singularity be a "good thing"? Well, from the point of view of a child, is growing up a good thing? I think in most cases it is -- basically life is what we make of it, and some people screw it up, but I still think growing up is a good thing.

Edited excerpt from a comment I wrote on Max More's blog:


I never believed too much in a hard takeoff, exponential Singularity. As an engineer, I know that the real world is not simple, clear and pristine like a mathematical equation, but often messy, chaotic and greasy. So while I do expect an overall exponential trend, I do expect one with roadblocks, false starts, backsteps etc., which will result in a fractal rising at a rate halfway between linear and exponential.

Concerning optimism, rapture etc.

For the reasons above, I always found Ray Kurzweil's predictions way too optimist and "clean". But I also find them refreshing against the often overcautious and defeatist attitude of other writers. I am not as optimist as Kurzweil, but I see him as the bard, the storyteller, the provocateur who shows wonderful possibilities to the rest of us. This is something good and, of course, things will be what we make of them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

H (più?) in Europese

L' European Technology Assessment Group has pubblicato un rapporto su Human Enhancement, definito come "un' ampia gamma di tecnologie esistenti, emergenti e visionarie, che include prodotti farmaceutici: impianti neurali che forniranno un sostituto per la vista o altri sensi artificiali, prodotti per migliorare le capacità mentali, tecnologie di riproduzione assistita e ingegneria genetica, supplementi nutritivi, nuove tecnologie basate sulla stimolazione del cervello per controllare gli stati d' animo e ridurre la sofferenza, chirurgia plastica avanzata, ormoni della crescita per persone di bassa statura, estensione della vita, protesi altamente sofisticate per permettere nuovi e speciali input sensoriali o output meccanici...". Si parla quindi di transumanismo, o almeno delle prime generazioni di tecnologie transumaniste -- e certamente mi fa piacere vedere queste cose studiate e discusse dall' amministrazione Europea.

Tradurrò "Human Enhancement" con "Potenziamento Umano". Il rapporto, prodotto dall' European Technology Assessment Group per lo STOA (l' organo responsabile della valutazione delle opzioni di politica scientifica e tecnologica del parlamento Europeo), "delinea e discute possibili strategie generali su come affrontare le problematiche del potenziamento umano e le relative tecnologie in un contesto europeo, considerando come non appropriati sia una totale proibizione che un' approccio "laissez-faire" [(liberista)], e identificando una strategia moderatamente permissiva, una strategia moderatamente restrittiva, e una valutazione sistematica ad-hoc, secondo i casi, come possibili opzioni per l' Unione Europea.". È una valutazione aperta e moderatamente interessata, e non c' era certo da aspettarsi più entusiasmo. Noto con piacere che l' Istituto Rathenau, che ha pubblicato l' anno scorso un rapporto entuaiasta sul transumanismo, ha partecipato al progetto.

Il rapporto traccia una breve storia del pensiero transumanista moderno, citando naturalmente More, Vita-More, Leary, FM-2030 e Moravec: "Una visione radicale di Moravec e altri transumanisti, organizzati o no, è che nel futuro sarà possibile trasferire la personalità e la mente di una persona su un computer, una visione condivisa da alcuni esponenti dell' iniziativa NBIC sulla convergenza tecnologica". È certamente rinfrescante sentir parlare di mind uploading in un rapporto per il Parlamento Europeo, ma il tono generale del rapporto non è troppo entusiasta verso le interpretazoni più radicali del transumanismo. Invece, l' interpretazione del transumanismo tiepida e politicamente corretta dell' ex-WTA (R.I.P.), ora Humanity+, è vista più di buon occhio: "[Humanity+] sembra adottare un' approccio più pragmatico e meno visionario verso il potenziamento umano, e promuovere una strategia politica più in linea con in mainstream politico Europeo che le posizioni di alcuni leaders estropici, spesso ultraliberali e anti-statiste.". Meno male che "Ciò nonostante, i leader della WTA aderiscono ancora ad alcune delle visioni transumaniste più radicali.". Cioè, la WTA ha fatto buoni progressi verso l' abbandono del transumanismo, na non abbastanza da compiacere Bruxelles.

Questa è stata, per inciso, la ragione del mio abbandono prima della carica di direttore esecutivo della WTA, e poi del consiglio direttivo: non volevo essere coinvolto nella progressiva "de-transumanizzazione" della WTA, e la mia interpretazione del transumanismo rimane visionaria e radicale.

Continuo però ad avere buoni rapporti con Humanity+ e sono convinto che, nell' ecologia del movimento transumanista, ci sia un ruolo utile per varie interpretazioni, dalle più radicali alle più moderate. Le posizioni più pragmatiche e moderate di Humanity+ e dell' Istituto per l' Etica e le Tecnologie Emergenti, della cui direzione continuo a far parte, favoriranno certamente il dialogo con il mondo mainstream. L' ultra-transumanismo visionario di Moravec non sarà preso sul serio dai governi, almeno non fino al giorno prima della Singolarità, mentre il transumanismo moderato e mainstream fa meno paura e può permettere un utile dialogo come in questo caso. Non è la prevedibile preferenza data a forme moderate di quasi-transumanismo all' acqua di rose a farmi restare deluso dalla lettura di questo studio.

Il rapporto, come la maggior parte dei documenti provenienti dall' amministrazione europea, è scritto in Europese. una variante riveduta e potenziata del Politichese nostrano: una lingua costruita a tavolino per permettere la formulazione di frasi lunghissime che, pur apparendo grammaticalmente e sintatticamente corrette, non significano e non devono significare niente. Una frase corretta in Europese è priva di punteggiatura, piena di costruzioni circolari, paroloni e riferimenti al futuro dell' Europa e al benessere dei cittadini Europei (che non esistono, anche perchè nessuno vuole che esistano -- il potere è e deve essere gestito su basi strettamente nazionali), politicamente corretta, e assolutamente priva di significato. Devo confessare di parlare bene l' Europese, che ho appreso dopo molti anni di servizio nell' amministrazione europea: a parte la pratica ufficiale in riunioni che, come è ben noto, non portano e non devono portare ad alcun risultato concreto, ricordo un passatempo tipico delle pause caffè: comporre lunghissime frasi in Europese senza il minimo significato. È un passatempo divertente, anche se forse i nostri soldi potrebbero e dovrebbero essere spesi meglio.

Esempio: "Oltretutto, è diventato chiaro che la prospettiva del potenziamento umano è anche una sfida alle tradizioni di pensiero ed ai valori fondamentali Europei. Mentre il dibattito sociale sulle nuove tecnologie e sulle tecnologie emergenti non dovrebbe mai essere ridotto alla sola problematica del potenziamento umano, la specifica prospettiva del potenziamento umano potrebbe richiedere una rivalutazione delle interrelazioni fra la scienza e la tecnologia, la società e l' individuo in un contesto europeo. Se anche solo alcune delle visioni delle tecnologie di potenziamento unamo di seconda fase fossero realizzate nel futuro, ci sarebbe una crescente richiesta di strutture sociali eque e, in particolare, di infrastrutture sociotecniche che tengano conto della diversità di bisogni individuali e richieste sociali.". Bellissime parole, nobili... e qualcuno mi spiega che significa?

Altro esempio: "Riteniamo che un posizionamento strategico dell' Unione Europea sulle problematiche del potenziamento umano deva essere comunque basato su un quadro regolatorio che non esiste ancora... regolamenti specifici che si possano adattare a tale quadro dovranno essere creati quando le tecnologie emergenti faranno la loro apparizione sulla scena.". Parole come norme, normativa, regolamenti, etc. sono ripetute troppo spesso in questo documento, come in tutti i documenti ufficiali dell' Unione Europea. Troppe carte. Troppe regole e troppi adempimenti. Senza cadere nell' estremo di una visione ultraliberista, ho paura che l' Europa stia scivolando verso l' estremo opposto di un nanny-state dove un' amministrazione mastodontica e paternalistica interferisce costantemente nella vita dei cittadini, della quale pretende di regolare anche i dettagli più insignificanti. L' Europa è terra di burocrati (i politici veri hanno ben altro da fare a casa), che sono quesi tutti control-freaks, quindi purtroppo mi aspetto un mare di barriere e regole inutili. Delle quali è facile prevedere il risultato: "Ci si potrebbe chiedere se l' Unione Europea EU sarebbe capace, nel futuro, di competere con altre regioni del mondo con approcci più liberali verso lo sviluppo e l' uso delle tecnologie per il potenziamento umano.". La risposta è, chiaramente, no. Tutti quelli che se lo possono permettere, continuando una tendenza già in atto, si limiterebbero a fare turismo medico in altre parti del mondo, che salteranno sull' opportunità. L' Europa diventerà, e purtroppo già se ne vedono i primi segni, una residenza per la terza età, mentre le cose importanti si faranno altrove.