Re: All Call - Transhumanists

Hal Finney (
Fri, 6 Feb 1998 12:45:52 -0800

Max Hunter, <>, writes:
> I'm a newbie to this list, and have a lot of reading to do.


> I'm looking for a lay working group, of bio-medical engineers and
> practical theorists, to discuss the current state of the art in
> artificial organ development, and to be a springboard for new ideas.
> I agree with the recent comments by Natasha Vita More, this group=20
> if full of highly intelligent people all going down their own paths
> with zeal. Surely, practical (and marketable) ideas can find their
> birth here.

Artificial organs are a fast-approaching technology. Biologists have
found ways to induce cells to grow on artificial substrates so that they
can control their shape and many of their characteristics. I don't
think we'll see artificially grown hearts for a while, but artificial
skin and other connective tissues are under heavy development.

> Sociologically humanity will accept and embrace small steps where
> large ones would be feared. Should I come from the operating room
> as a Borg, I fully expect to be stoned to death on a street corner.
> If I instead, get a second or third heart, no one will care. If I
> get an artificial gill tucked neatly inside my Henley, no one will
> be the wiser.

One of the stories on the extropian reading list is Marc Stiegler's
"The Gentle Seduction", which explores this theme. People reject the
wild dreams of technophiles like ourselves, but when presented in small
steps, each one seems reasonable. James Halperin's new novel _The
First Immortal_ has some similar ideas.

Somewhere I have a machine readable version of Stiegler's story, so it
must have been online at one time, but I can't find it now.