Human Optimisation, Bio-hacking and Transhumanism

Alex Rodriguez is an aerospace engineer and a Member of the Global Futures Council of the World Economic Forum. Like many scientists working in the space arena, he is a multi-disciplinarian with a wide range of interests and skills. Maybe that’s why he can legitimately claim the title of theoretical physicist. With such a blue-sky job title comes some blue sky thinking – some long term philosophising and really practical problem solving too.

Alex Rodriguez is joining us as a speaker at 4YFN19 this year to talk about bio-hacking and transhumanism – the field of human optimisation. His session on Monday 25 February promises to be ground-breaking. We can’t say just what will happen yet, but it will be sure to cause quite a stir. Here’s an early preview of what he will cover, but don’t miss out on seeing his session live!

What are you talking about at the conference?

The wonderful world of human optimisation. Bio-hacking and transhumanism. How can we become more than we are now? Can we do it by ourselves? What happens when we introduce technology or chemistry?

What are you passionate about?

The prosperity of the human race. Being able to continue living in the best way possible. Figuring out the best way to not extinguish ourselves on this planet with science and technology. I love the idea that as humans, we can always be better and I try to enhance my mind and biology to any extent I can.

What is the future of your field?

My field varies. I am a space engineer and have worked with extending the human race to live outside the solar system. But currently I enjoy working on how to extend and improve the live of humans on this planet. This extends from human biology to the technology behind saving our environment. I believe that with the upcoming advancements, and if not treated frivolously, we can live, if not forever, at least till 120, be happy and healthy and have our mind at peak performance all the time. I also believe we can figure out a way to save this planet!

Why is it so important?

I assume this is self-explanatory but, don’t we all want to be able to live on our planet happily?

What are your favourite sayings (they can be your own)? Words to live by?

Time spent wishing is time wasted
Let’s play it by ear – My grandmother
Magic is only science we haven’t discovered yet – A slight modification on Arthur C. Clarke’s quote

What does the world look like in 50-100 years?

Dystopian version: We’re screwed. Planetary population has surged beyond our capacity to sustain it. Mass restriction on resources. Movement of populations to non-climate affected areas. Climate affected areas that could produce food and other resources are not utilized. The rich still live well. The middle and low class are struggling. The developing possibly disappears.

Positive and what I believe will happen: We’ll learn how to produce resources in an optimal way utilizing less resources such as space, energy, water etc. We’ll be able to transition from high consuming resources such as farmed meats to lab-cultured meats and hydroponically-farmed vegetables. We will have spread the knowledge of what foods and practices lead to disease (such as cancer and others) and will be able to limit it through diet. In addition to improving world-wide diet we will enhance healthcare through biotechnology, CRISPR-Cas9 gene modification and biologic engineering. We will live to 120. Low-inspiration and happiness jobs will be eliminated thanks to automation and robotics (think farming and supermarkets). We’ll advance space technology to be able to live on Mars but we won’t need to. We will have figured out a way to reverse some of the environmental damage we have done to Earth. Humans will no longer focus on making money to live, but just live. Humanity will no longer be surviving, we will be thriving.


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