This week sees the release of Crux (Aug 27), the second title in a transhumanist trilogy featuring a mind-linking, mind-expanding, nano-drug that its author believes theoretically possible – and he may just know about these things. He’s Ramez Naam, a noted futurist and author of the HG Wells Award winning non-fiction book on human augmentation, More than Human.
In Crux, and its prequel, Nexus, the self-described “techno-optimist” Naam pits the hallowed forces of progress against the Emerging Risks Directorate, a US government department executing a brutal and futile campaign against human augmentation that evokes the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror”.
I wanted to talk with the author about the implications for such augmentation as I myself had written about a similar technology in my own novel, Human+, and recently recorded an interview with him for The Eternities podcast. We talked also about my own novel’s very different central question, of whether technological innovation itself could obstruct progress; in this case, the progress of human consciousness towards its full potential.
Naam commented, “If we had a technology … that made it possible to directly send thoughts, experiences, images , emotions, concepts between people’s minds, that would increase empathy, increase communication, increase the pace of innovation, but also bind us more tightly into these superorganisms, you can imagine some people … inevitably merging into a point where we really are kind of blurring the boundaries of where does one person begin, where does one end. Or maybe we think of this group of bodies is a person, more than we think about that individual body.”