The Trend, NOT the Details

Most of the specific technologies, companies, and people I write about here on Frontier Channel will at most be a footnote in the history of some other technology, company, or person that transforms our world. Some may fizzle before they even get started, others will merge together, some will turn out to be hoaxes, and some will become a part of our culture. My point is that we should try to recognize the trend that is being indicated. For example, there is a trend toward providing our brains with greater mastery of the universe through technology. No one may remember Cyberkinetics Inc. in thirty years but at that time many humans will regularly interact with the world around them through some form of brain-machine interface.

Here is another example. I have often mentioned ProtandimT as one of the first potential life-extension compounds, set to be released sometime this fall. Lifeline Nutraceuticals, the company to which the original scientists licensed the technology, is suggesting in their latest press release that the release will now be delayed by about a year. Instead, they plan to release their own “supplements” to tide people over until the primary drug is available.

This does not necessarily smack of a hoax, but it is a reality check in the face of rapid change. After a new drug is created and after it has made its way through human trials and FDA approval, there is still the lengthy process of commercializing the technology and marketing it to the appropriate audience. Then the drug may not work as originally hoped, it may not find commercial success, it may be superseded by something better, supplies may be limited, governments may ban it, and controversy may surround it, all because nothing in the process guarantees success.

Eventually, however, humans will live past 120 years olds, whether through this particular drug or other technologies. The trend is clear, if not the specific path to this particular future.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).