Next Steps Advancing Convergent Technologies to Enhance Human Performance

Convergent technology represents an opportunity to address the need to better share innovations, ideas, knowledge, and perhaps, as is our thesis here, to create more effective breakthroughs in enhancing human performance. This is a process that will have to untangle the silo thinking that has been at the heart of science, government, academia, and research. Given the emerging paradigm of convergent technologies, how might we conceptualize a new systems approach to science?

An adoption of a systems approach is already being explored in many areas: Information technology is considering genetic models; telecommunications is experimenting with self-healing networks; biotechnology is edging towards systems-biology; quantum computing and nanotechology are destined for a convergence.

An area that will require much policy and research work is how we define "enhancing human performance." For the physically-challenged the definition may entail gaining sight or mobility. For the aged, it may entail having access to one's memory. Even bolder, the definition of human enhancement may entail providing people with advanced capabilities of speed, language, skill, or strength beyond what humans can perform today. Just as plastic surgery and pharmacology have given new choices to human beings today, enhancement treatments will no doubt shape tomorrow.

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