>Transhumanism, Parenting, and Identity

>Marginal Revolution has had a very interesting conversation about transhumanism, parenting, and identity. Tyler Cowen asks if parents would make a change to their unborn children to make them 1% happier if it meant that those kids would be radically different from their parents.

I think not. One of the points I make in the book is that humans are wired to make more radical choices for themselves (especially at certain ages) but more conservative choices on behalf of their children. I think we’ll see far more 20-somethings undergoing radical gene therapy than unborn kids who’s genes are altered to the same degree.

Technically, it’s much more challenging to alter an organism after it’s been born. Altering trillions of cells is an engineering nightmare compared to modifying the genes of a single fertilized egg or 4-cell embryo.

But despite that, I think the parental instinct towards concern and safety and the late-adolescent / early-twenties push towards differentiation will result in the most aggressive uses of the technology being in relatively young adults, rather than the unborn.