Evolution: Natural or Technical - IEET - 06/16
The Future of Transhumanism
Wealthy, Healthy and Wise
Okay, let me see if I've got this right. I could stay young forever? Groovy. A complete backup of my brain? Copy that. What's this? An estimate? I knew it sounded too good to be true.
As with previous medical breakthroughs, it is possible that future human enhancements, like brain-machine interfaces and longevity drugs, at least initially, may only be affordable for the wealthy. The well-to-do, well could be, the next big thing.
Trickle Down Technology
Some future forecasters point out that many medical products and procedures have been expensive when they were first introduced. Prices can drop through competition, lower production costs and after patents run out.
Medical enhancements, however, may encounter unique barriers to lower prices.
Cosmetic surgeries and implants, for example, have been available for decades. Visit Beverly Hills and you'll see more lifts than a crane operator, but you'd be hard pressed to find a tightened temple in my neck of the woods.
What obstacles, wrinkles if you will, face society in providing available and affordable transhuman technology for everyone?
Wrinkle #1 - In the year 2050, 'transhuman technology for all', would mean advanced medical technology for an estimated 9 billion people.
Wrinkle #2 - Medical insurance policies will probably not cover human enhancements.
Wrinkle #3 - The fewer recipients, the higher the value to the consumer. What fun would Jeopardy be if everyone had an encyclopedia implant?
Wrinkle #4 - You just invented the Immortality pill. What price will you set?
Misfits and Retrofits
Even with reasonable closing costs, brain implant surgery may not be in the budget for many people living in the transhuman age. No prescription for immortality, for those that cannot afford the pill. In the era of 'half human/machine', the gap between the Halves and the Halve-Nots, will be as large as the profits.