Craig Venter advocates cognitive enhancement

At Wired, filmmaker Ridley Scott discusses the forthcoming remastered final cut of Blade Runner. This classic 1982 film depicts a dystopian futuristic society based on artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, and was recently voted as the best science fiction film ever made by 60 top scientists

The interview includes quotes about the film from various people, including this one, in which Craig Venter, the billionaire geneticist who has just had his genome published, gives his views on cognitive enhancement:

The movie has an underlying assumption that I just don’t relate to: that people want a slave class. As I imagine the potential of engineering the human genome, I think, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have 10 times the cognitive capabilities we do have? But people ask me whether I could engineer a stupid person to work as a servant. I’ve gotten letters from guys in prison asking me to engineer women they could keep in their cell. I don’t see us, as a society, doing that.


The philosophy of The Matrix

IN The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999) Keanu Reeves plays a computer programmer who leads a double life as a hacker called “Neo”. After receiving cryptic messages on his computer monitor, Neo begins to search for the elusive Morpheus (Laurence Fishburn), the leader of a clandestine resistance group, who he believes is responsible for the messages. Eventually, Neo finds Morpheus, and is then told that reality is actually very different from what he, and most other people, perceives it to be.

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