Thu, 7 Apr 1994 00:56:56 -0400

(Oh no, it's another concatenated word.) Actually, it's just a way of once
again summing up a couple of things on my mind.
There are such things as 'futurists,' who hang out in places like
Future Culture and Highly Imaginative Technology, but in general, they do
not seem to be anthropologists. I am wondering why anthropologists seem
stuck in the past and have ceded futurism to fuddy-duddies such as
economists and engineers. (It could have something to do with the fact that
early 20th century Futurism was a nasty fascist, speed-obsessed European
artistic movement. Maybe.)
The future approacheth. I am wondering if any anthropologists are
considering the cultural impacts of such things as:
1. Space migration. I have this neato book called _Cultures Beyond
the Earth_, written by some rather great folks - Margoroh Maruyama, Roger
Wynn Westcott, Arthur Harkins, Sol Tax, and Alvin Toffler, among others.
(OK he ain't an anthro.) It's a good discussion of how anthropology can
contribute to the organization of space colonies and the ultimate
Encounter with the Other, extraterrestrial life. But it was written in
Has anybody written anything about the topic since then? (Is it
because our space program seems destined for mediocrity? Can't even get a
bloody Mars probe into orbit, let alone a manned space station?)
2. Life extension. How will living into the 100s affect both Western
and non-Western societies? Will our conceptions of "growing old" and all
kinds of other things change as medicine continues to extend the human
3. Neurological modification. What will it mean to belong to a
'linguistic community' when one can eventually implant a chip for another
language? Does cultural tradition become meaningless when one can 'implant'
memories from any other cultures' experience?
4. Artificial intelligence. I've asked this one before. How will
human societies react to AIs that can pass the Turing Test? Will they
extend 'human rights' (and privileges) to androids? Will androids receive
'cultural' programming in addition to other behavioral instructions?
5. Genetic engineering. What becomes of 'race' and 'ethnicity' when
the genes for various phenotypic traits can be 'tweaked'? What will cloning
mean for human understanding of individuality, identity, etc.?

Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
Anthropomorphist, Metanoid, Lerian, MatrixWanderer, HyperRealist, etc.
Rhipidon Society, VALISystem A, Sol Node 3
"Philip K. Dick is dead, alas/ Let's queue up and kick G-d's ass." --
Michael Bishop, the Secret Ascension