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Brian Clegg

Upgrade Me

Some people think that in the future technology will lead to a new type of human, but in Upgrade Me: Our Amazing Journey to Human 2.0 , Brian Clegg argues that we are in fact most of the way there already.

The book starts by looking at the topic of life extension. Clegg is sceptical about the ideas of becoming effectively immortal, but points out how human lifespan has increased dramatically over the past few centuries. He goes on to look at ways in which people have enhanced their appearance, using cosmetics, for instance, but also going in for more permanent modifications. There are chapters on robotic enhancements - will we all become cyborgs in the future- as well as on ways of enhancing our intellectual capacity. Clegg also considers how we mend our bodies when they malfunction, and finishes with a look at the ideas of nanomachines in our bodies and at genetic modification.

This is not a typical futuristic book, speculating about what new marvels of technology lie ahead, and if that's what you're looking for then you may be disappointed that it mostly deals with what has already happened. But it does give a useful introduction to how humans have upgraded themselves, and so a perspective on how we should deal with coming technology - should we be swayed by the 'yuk factor', or should we accept that this is just more of what we have already been doing for millennia.