Now is the time to answer the question of the synthetic human

I was very impressed by this article on the ever pressing issue of post-humanity by John Harris, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester. It manages to be both intelligent and accessible at the same time, not something you see everday in the Times (of London) these days.

Now is the time to try to answer this question, because many recent discoveries are beginning to make the prospect of radical human enhancement a reality. Stem cell research, which may lead to human tissue repairing itself; new genes resistant to cancer and HIV; new drugs that improve concentration and memory or enable us to function for much longer periods without sleep; brain-computer interfaces that may harness the power and memory of computers, perhaps by the insertion of tiny “nanobots” into the human brain; and techniques that will radically extend life expectancy from tens to hundreds of years – these are all on today’s scientific agenda and some are already in use.