Charles T. Rubin is author of “Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress.” He teaches political philosophy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
For its proponents, transhumanism — the idea of using technology to redesign humans beyond our biology — is just common sense. Who doesn’t want to live a healthier, happier and wealthier life? And wouldn’t it be great to live such an “enhanced” life indefinitely? For nearly as long as we have written record, humans have rebelled at the limits of the human condition, but with the development of modern science and technology we have become increasingly able to overcome what once seemed like absolute limits. Advances in fields such as genetics, synthetic biology, neuropsychology, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology are putting us on the verge of even more radical breakthroughs, allowing us to imagine that we can ultimately rebuild completely the flawed human product that evolution has bequeathed us.