Re: Emlyn on the teev - help!

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Thu May 17 2001 - 09:12:35 MDT

At 10:10 PM 5/17/01 +0930, Emlyn wrote:

>The episode is entitled "Superhumanity 2.0 - Cyborgs" (it follows
>"Superhumanity 1.0 - Biotech"). I can talk about that in a pretty general
>sense (I could probably talk all day about it, in fact, family members will
>corroborate this). However, as I've been picked on as Aussie Extropian
>Exhibit A, I'd be happy to represent a more rounded view, informed by others

>- Killer app 1: Life extension... This application will really pull "cyborg
>technology" into mainstream culture.

You might consider using percentages: For example, 25% of Australian
population already has had an augmentation to their bodies. 5% now use
robotic arms or legs; 10% have received pacemakers; %3 percent IUDs.
(There are arbitrary, but I think you could get some solid facts which
would be persuasive in your introduction to augmentations.)

>You see this uptake already. I have relatives who shall remain anonymous,
>who delve into these areas... HRT is a great example. These people will not
>label themselves

HRT is a different augmentation - a chemical augment to monitor female
hormones to prevent the onslaught of menopause. You could suggest that
even the mind is augmented by ingesting certain hormones to regulate the
chemistry of our bodies for a more healthy and vital life.

>- Killer app 2: N

Sounds good.

>Killer app 3: Eternal youth and the beauty industry..y
>what form it takes... Brad Pitt/Nicole Kidman?

How about the man who stared in The X Men? Isn't he Aussi?
Here you could mention how reversing aging has been on the cover of
magazines, Time, Newsweek, etc.

>Whatever the exact form is,
>it apparently doesn't have wrinkles, cellulite or body hair. It can, on the
>other hand, have breast implants, a face lift or a nose job.

nose lift = rhinoplasty.

>There will be a strong overlap between life extension technologies and
>beauty related technologies.

You might want to consider mentioning that the concept of beauty has
changed over the eons, from Cleopatra to a Rubenesque figure to Twiggy to
the athletic bodies of today. Beauty today is viewed as not just a symbol
of a perfect face, but also a healthy physique and attitude.

In the years to come, we will be able to regulate the body to adjust any
dryness of skin, wrinkling caused from sun damage (important to mention in
Australia) and aging. To reverse the onslaught of aging we will see less
and less cosmetic surgery and more genetic engineering and biotechnology.
The genes that cause our minds and bodies to age more rapidly than our
desire to grow older will be reversed and we will see a more youthful
young-old generation ahead.

The concept of beauty will change over the years and what is considered
beautiful today may not be beautiful tomorrow. When we can alter the
color, tone and texture of our skin, alter our voices to express our
emotions with a harmonious reverberation, develop our eyes to see great
distances (etc.), beauty as we see it today might seem flat and unexciting.

(Consider your audience - you don't want to freak them out too much, but
you do want to give them some facts about what will occur.)

>So, as our technology for self modification improves, and we can more easily
>hit the mark, the beauty industry will move the target. There are some great
>stats out there (The Beauty Myth contains some decent research) to show that
>the "ideal woman", for example, is a physically impossible being already.
>When we add cyborg technology to the mix, where will the collective ideal of
>the perfect form move to? Somewhere as odd as it is extreme, and it will
>motivate ever larger uptake of the sillier forms of cyborg technology.

I't too bad they are using the term "cyborg". It's so metal sounding and
makes me think of Warwick. You want to take this opportunity to be
welcoming of humanity and compassionate to why people want to look
beautiful (both men and women). If _Aristoi_ is a wonderful example of
beauty in the future for both genders. I get a little toasted when
thinking of old world concepts of beauty and tagging this to women as if
this is what our lives are about. I have always said, "Beauty is a 12
letter word - "intelligence." The most beautiful people are those who
aspire to achieve their dreams, are vital and expressive. Not all are
pretty faces, but inspire us and allure us. Even Cleopatra was considered
an idol, yet she was not so physically beautiful at all.

So, you could introduce the idea of enhancing "beauty in the eye of the
beholder" by saying we can tweak our visual recognition patters to
highlight facial qualities that we like and reduce those that we find

>- Physical enhancements... In the cyberpunk literature, people tend to make
>very silly modifications, so that they can look freaky, or have some
>enhanced physical trait. Steve Austin, eat your heart out. However, I
>believe that these will be the very last types of enhancements that are
>made, and the least frequent. In the world of today, and certainly in that
>of tomorrow, physical enhancements are and become less useful than one might
>suppose. Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Sure... but why not just
>take the lift? It might not turn out to be very important to a modern
>westerner to be able to lift a small truck; it might be far more useful to
>merely look as though you could.
>Eventually physical enhancements will become more important, as our biology
>begins to really let us down... we may need to change form to cope with
>overcrowding of earth, we'll definitely need to change form to explore
>space. That, however, is some way off.

You could mention Dennis Tito the space tourist and that when we reside in
space we will have different environment to cope with and we will need to
consider the consequences of space and how to protect our bodies.

>e. Babbage could see the computer, daVinci
>could see human flight, Jules Verne could see space travel. We can see

But we are transhumanity. We can see a time when disease is a thing of
the past, when the pollution is no longer an issue, etc.. (You don't want
to sound too Pollyannaish for your audience, but you do want to offer them
a vision of the future.)

>This whole discussion of mine probably looks hopelessly ill-informed to many
>of you... so tell me why. What's important that I've missed? Where am I
>wrong? Where is my presentation flawed? Don't quietly grumble about it to
>yourself... if you can correct my misinformation, then I'm less likely to
>say something problematic on the box.

It's really quite good Emlyn. Most people want soundbytes on television,
not lengthy discourse. You might want to pick a one-liner for each
category you will be discussing and be as succinct as possible. Offer your
audience some facts or percentages and remember this may be new to them.

(Pssst ... bio/info for the music Web page ??) :-)


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