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The future will be weirder than we think

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How weird is the future going to be? Just a little bit — or plain flat-out radically unthinkably weird? And is this future 1,000 years from now — or 100?

The notion that the future will be weirder than we think, and come sooner, is a possibility raised by Holden Karnofsky, the co-chief executive officer of Open Philanthropy. It’s an intriguing and provocative idea.

One complicating factor will be different forms of genetic engineering. As genomics progresses, we will be able to alter the future course of humanity. The simplest method is embryo selection, by which parents can choose a boy rather than a girl, or a child with some characteristics rather than others. Our ability to do this will become increasingly precise. More direct forms of genetic manipulation will likely be feasible as well.

Perhaps most parents will not want to do this, aside from protecting their children against potential birth defects. But clearly some parents will, and so humanity will be divided into groups with different genetic histories. That has not happened in the recent history of humankind.

Another very real possibility is that longevity research is fruitful. It now seems increasingly possible that we can........

© The Japan Times

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