About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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November 11, 2003

Culture Will Drive Neurotechnology

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Posted by Zack Lynch

As I mentioned in my letter to President Bush, neurotechnology will more profoundly impact humanity in a much nearer time frame than genetic engineering for several reasons. One important reason is culture.

To get a sense of the resistance genetic engineering faces, just look at Germany and France’s 1997 decision to categorically ban human genetic engineering, labeling it “an attack on human dignity and a violation of our right to an unaltered gene pool.” And these countries are not alone. The European Union’s current ban on genetically modified food highlights the deep opposition to the permanent nature of genetic engineering. Neurotechnology does not face similar roadblocks.

First generation neurotechnologies in the form of pharmaceuticals for depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are already widely accepted. In fact, France, a beacon of western cultural concern and major opponent to any form of genetic engineering, has one of the highest number of pharmaceutical prescriptions per person in the world.

Clearly, in the minds of the masses, there is an important difference between technologies that permanently alter humans and tools whose influence is only temporary.

Comments (1) | Category: Neuroesthetics


1. Randall Parker on November 13, 2003 1:59 AM writes...

A country that outlaws germline genetic engineering is going to be left behind. When other countries are allowing their citizens have offspring that are all 150+ IQ a country with current average intelligence is not giong to be able to compete.

Yes, enhancement of already born people is going to be possible. But the higher the base intelligence off of which adult enhancement is done the higher the neurotech is going to be able to boost it.

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