Re: Emlyn on the teev - help!

From: Emlyn (
Date: Thu May 17 2001 - 10:42:21 MDT

From: "Natasha Vita-More" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2001 12:42 AM
Subject: Re: Emlyn on the teev - help!

> 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
> >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
> >onlist.
> >- Killer app 1: Life extension... This application will really pull
> >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.)

I read a book called "Communicating Science" which said that this was
actually not so important on TV... TV likes vague generalisations +
passionate delivery. The classic concept is that accuracy and clarity move
in an inverse relationship on the box.

I'm very good with handwaving and broad brush opinions masquerading as
"Fact", so I'll probably steer clear of garish numbers as far as possible. A
nice one is that 10% of americans are cyborgs when you look at drug feed
implants, pacemakers, articifical joints, articificial skin, etc. It must be
true, I read it on the web somewhere.

> >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
> >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.

HRT is supposed to extend life, though, as a side effect (cool side effect).
Drugs may well count as cyber enhancements too... anyone got an opinion on

> >- 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.

Hugh Jackman, yup, an Aussie. There's a lot of that going around - I say
this having just watched Elizabeth. All your base are belong to us.

I like the bit about it being on the covers of publications, good stuff.

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

Calling it rhinoplasty... that's just rubbing it in, isn't it? Like calling
permanent hair removal a "Gorillaectomy", or liposuction a "DeElefantation".

> >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
> (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.)

ok, thanks for all that.

> >So, as our technology for self modification improves, and we can more
> >hit the mark, the beauty industry will move the target. There are some
> >stats out there (The Beauty Myth contains some decent research) to show
> >the "ideal woman", for example, is a physically impossible being already.
> >When we add cyborg technology to the mix, where will the collective ideal
> >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.

Well, indeed. I'm afraid I can't get too excited about enhancements that are
all about aesthetic stuff... there are just too many important things that
need doing first. Like getting past dying young, for a start.

However, I do recognise that money will end up in life extension fields by
way of the beauty industry. Also, I understand that I am a weird geekoid,
and may not necessarily represent the average citizen :-)

> 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
> unappealiang.

Ugly detector... yes, that would be amusing. Also, it raises some
interesting questions. Why bother to look after your physical appearance at
all, if people will, for the most part, repaint you as they desire in their
mind's digital eye?

> >- Physical enhancements... In the cyberpunk literature, people tend to
> >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
> >of tomorrow, physical enhancements are and become less useful than one
> >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
> >merely look as though you could.
> >Eventually physical enhancements will become more important, as our
> >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
> >transhumanity.
> 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.)

<ponder ponder>

> >This whole discussion of mine probably looks hopelessly ill-informed to
> >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
> audience some facts or percentages and remember this may be new to them.



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