Beyond Human: How Cutting Edge Science is Extending Our Lives

Beyond Human: How Cutting Edge Science is Extending Our Lives


Never before in the history of medicine has mankind faced such hope and peril as those of us poised to embrace the radical medical technologies of today.

Eve Herold's Beyond Human examines the medical technologies taking shape at the nexus of computing, microelectronics, engineering, nanotechnology, cellular and gene therapies, and robotics. These technologies will dramatically transform our lives and allow us to live for hundreds of years. Yet, with these blessings come complicated practical and ethical issues, some of which we can predict, but many we cannot.

Beyond Human taps the minds of doctors, scientists, and engineers engaged in developing a host of new technologies while telling the stories of some of the patients courageously testing the radical new treatments about to come into the market.

Beyond Human asks the difficult questions of the scientists and bioethicists who seek to ensure that as our bodies and brains become ever more artificial, we hold onto our humanity. In this new world, will everyone have access to technological miracles, or will we end up living in a world of radical disparities? How will society accommodate life spans that extend into hundreds of years? Will we and our descendants be able to bring about the dream of a future liberated by technology, or will we end up merely serving the machines and devices that keep us healthy, smart, young, and alive?

Our Review

This was a fascinating read discussing the rapid advancements occurring in the field of medicine and their ethical implications. The author discusses developments which previously would only have been believed possible within the realms of science fiction.

I loved the author’s use of a fictional case study to illustrate all the potential developments and the impact they could have upon society and the meaning of what it is to be human. The case study involves a man called Victor who is 250 years old and whose life has been increasingly prolonged by technological advancements such as the replacement of his heart with an artificial one. Through him we learn that the process of accepting these changes can involve attrition.

Victor has had to see loved ones die who either didn't have access to the advancements or chose not to be involved in being kept alive by artificial means. Through Victor’s case study the reader is also encouraged to think about what happens to someone when they know longer wish to be kept alive by artificial means.

The chapter on Alzheimer's was of particular interest to me but I found the entire book interesting and thought provoking.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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