Hawking an Extropian?

Hal Finney (hal@rain.org)
Fri, 6 Mar 1998 23:49:34 -0800

Stephen Hawking gave a talk at the White House tonight. According to
news reports, he predicted that the next century would see the human
race substantially altering itself.

"I don't believe science fiction like 'Star Trek,' where people are
essentially the same 400 years in the future.

"I think the human race and its DNA will increase in complexity quite
rapidly," he said.

"In a way, the human race needs to improve its mental and physical
qualities if it is to deal with the increasingly complex world around
it and meet new challenges like space travel. And it also needs to
increase its complexity if biological systems are to keep ahead of
electronic ones."

Hawking's failing body has no doubt made him more aware than most people
of the substantial need for improvements in our biological nature.
Maybe all the "medical ethicists" who shudder with horror at the thought
of cloning and genetic engineering would have a different view if they
could spend a few days in Hawking's wheelchair.

Hawking is practically a cultural icon now so perhaps his frank comments
will help to open people's minds to these Extropian ideas.