Stephen Hawking, who died this past March at age 76, left behind papers and articles which covered a variety of his thoughts on several issues confronting citizens of the future. These have been published posthumously in a book titled Brief Answers To The Big Questions, and is being released today, 10/16/18.
Hawking had especially interesting thoughts on the future of, what he termed, Superhumans. He envisioned a time when people of wealth would quite possibly choose to enhance themselves and their children genetically, creating a new societal strata of improved individuals.
The key to this future lies in humanity’s ability to edit our own DNA. When this is achieved, we most likely will repair genetic defects, fixing genes that cause, among so many, the likes of muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. After many health issues have been repaired, the next steps of gene editing could be in areas of longevity, memory, intelligence, and physical characteristics. Hawking believed, at this point, the Superhumans would pretty much dominate the world, and common ordinary people, who had become irrelevant, would probably die out.
On the bright side, scientific institutions and governments are in the process of developing strict ethical codes and laws that would benefit mankind by regulating gene editing. If these ethical codes, laws, and protocols are followed, gene editing may very well be a positive boon to the future health and well-being of the human race.
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