Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Intelligence

Corporations Act To Make US Congress A Wholly Owned Subsidiary

Reading robots’ minds

Genetic Enineering and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Sorgner @ 3rd World Humanities Forum

Futurism: Go Big


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

instamatic on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Peter Wicks on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Peter Wicks on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)

Peter Wicks on '2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?' (Oct 31, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?
Oct 26, 2014
(11811) Hits
(21) Comments

Google’s Cold Betrayal of the Internet
Oct 10, 2014
(7819) Hits
(2) Comments

Why oil is getting cheaper
Oct 29, 2014
(5587) Hits
(0) Comments

Should we abolish work?
Oct 3, 2014
(5437) Hits
(1) Comments



IEET > Rights > FreeThought > Life > Vision > Bioculture > Affiliate Scholar > Ted Chu

Print Email permalink (1) Comments (4638) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Beauty Is Skin-deep—But That’s Where Genetic Engineering Is Going Next


Ted Chu
By Ted Chu
transhumanpotential.com

Posted: Jul 27, 2014

A Korean woman was on the verge of divorce because her husband no longer found her attractive and was having an affair. Nothing worked in her efforts to save the marriage and as a last resort she underwent cosmetic surgery. The result was so dramatic and her son didn’t recognize her when she returned home.

Even more dramatic was her husband’s attitude towards his new “goddess”: no more mention of divorce, and he was now  willing staying at home all the time! This seems to be a true story as the woman appeared on a TV show. Unfortunately the show is in Korean, but you can see many amazing “before-and-after” faces on this short video.

The Korean plastic surgery industry has been a huge success in tapping into this fundamental human desire. And who does not love beauty? But of course the “beauty cure” is transitory. A popular joke is: How can a Korean groom know the real face of his bride? Answer: wait till the baby is born. On the other hand, the joke won’t work anymore if such “beauty” modifications begin to occur at the genetic level.

Then it will be truly a long-term investment, avoiding the cost and possible surgical pain if future generations get the same idea as the Korean woman, and then turn to fundamental genetic alteration that will effect their progeny too!

People who object to this may argue that we should learn to love what we have, or what we are born with. Indeed we should. But the natural attraction to beauty is universal and undeniable. How we look not only matters for marriage, but also for one’s job and social life. Academic studies have found that we are more likely to earn more and make more friends with good looks, especially for females.

So the market for good looks, or willingness to pay, has huge potential. As I argue in Chapter 9 of my book, the posthuman future should and will be driven, at least initially, by our most basic animal-like desires, simply because they are the strongest driver for most people. Since the divergence of skin color and facial features is a very recent phenomenon, we may look different but will be essentially the same person; thus, this step should be relatively easy and low risk, i.e., relatively free of unintended consequences.

But once we learn how to democratize movie-star looks through genetic engineering, will we be satisfied? Most likely not. As looks become less of a differentiator, we will appreciate other personal characteristics more, such as kindness and intelligence.

Now interventions to achieve those attributes is serious genetic engineering. And furthermore, at what I call the second stage of conscious evolution, we should even be able to modify our innate desires and preferences themselves, including aesthetic values. At that point, another concern about cosmetic genetic engineering will be addressed: we will no longer be satisfied with the same movie star looks. Humanity will diversify and flourish, sometimes beyond our recognition. 


Ted Chu is a professor of Economics at New York University in Abu Dhabi, and former chief economist for General Motors and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. He is the author of Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution (2014).
Print Email permalink (1) Comments (4639) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


People who object to this may argue that we should learn to love what we have, or what we are born with. Indeed we should. But the natural attraction to beauty is universal and undeniable. How we look not only matters for marriage, but also for one’s job and social life. Academic studies have found that we are more likely to earn more and make more friends with good looks, especially for females.

Looks can’t guarantee happiness- but certainly can guarantee pleasure.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 2 of 2)

Previous entry: Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 1 of 2)

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376