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Pill-Popping Superhumans Could Rule Cities

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Peter_Newton
Peter_Newton  
1/20/2013 2:21:19 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Human enhancement
Fascinating question Richard! I have heard of individuals using pills to improve their attention and concentration. It seems that well researched and trialed drugs on the market for conditions such as ADHD are being used by some perfectly healthy people to improve their levels of concentration allowing them to work for hours with dedicated concentration. Ident know if any science is going on about testing the levels of enhancement, but it is interesting that our culture is very comfortable with prescribing measures to compensate underperformance, but we get very nervous about the question of enhancement. Is there a difference between someone taking these pills to improve their performance at work and a teenager being prescribed them at school to perform better?

stotheco
stotheco  
1/19/2013 11:47:40 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: How cities can lead here
I share the same sentiments, Nicole. It does sound a bit like people are being geared up to become super-efficient work machines and that doesn't sound like a very nice life to be living. Plus, there's the major health issue as well.

stotheco
stotheco  
1/19/2013 11:47:01 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: How cities can lead here
It depends on the goals of each city, really, and its people. If they're healthy, well-rested, and eat their veggies when they're supposed to, will there still be a need for the pills and other 'enhancements'? I'd like to think not. Or rather, I would hope not.

Toby
Toby  
1/18/2013 5:05:35 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: How cities can lead here
@Nicole: In Confucian terms, and I use that context for very contemporary reasons, the notion of how a city "puts its people and their health and well-being ahead of economic interests" would not be at odds with the path towards enhancement described. In another way of looking at it, the city state exists to serve it's people and vice versa. The one becomes the whole. In the global economy cities compete and the successful ones lead their citizens to greater prosperity. Singapore is a great example of this.

pharmaevolution
pharmaevolution  
1/17/2013 12:32:11 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Enhancement Or Conformity?
What a great post!

Would we have the industries we have today without outliers and 'out of the box' thinkers?  Where would biotech and IT-focused cities, and their employers, be today without Craig Venter (who was a poor student in high school and started off in community college) or Bill Gates (who left college)?  Neither of them fit the traditional mold, and, if they had been medicated and forced to diffuse their laser focus, conform and "stay in school", how would they have turned out?

In the end, New Yorker magazine cartoonist Roz Chast may have said it best in a cartoon she sketched shortly after Pfizer introduced its blockbuster antidepressant Prozac. It depicted what various creative geniuses might have written or produced if they had been on Prozac.  For Edgar Allen Poe, the result was not "The Raven," but  "hi, birdie."  

Enhancement (what it means and how to achieve it)  has to be left up to the individual.  The world, its cities and its employers need diversity, and different drumbeats.  Even if it seems to make them less efficient, one brilliant outlier will more than make up for anything lost. 

Shane Fernandez
Shane Fernandez  
1/16/2013 10:48:45 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: How cities can lead here
I like that city you describe Nicole!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/16/2013 1:41:29 PM
User Rank Staff
How cities can lead here
Rich, thank you for starting a provocative discussion! Always appreciated.

I do know how I think cities should lead here, and that is by immediately outlawing any such thing. Those are the kinds of policies I would like to see.

Will that result in other cities getting ahead because of a stronger workforce? Maybe. But I'd prefer to live in the city that puts its people and their health and well-being ahead of economic interests that come at a great cost.

Toby
Toby  
1/16/2013 10:32:52 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Superhuman
Interesting. The first thing it makes me think is how well people with strong religious beliefs would react to the notion they were only able to participate in a world of superbeings made though drug consumption. I suppose we are already there given how many people rely on something to extend their lives after what formally might have been a terminal illness.

There are some interesting issues around this that relate to the same morality discussion we have seen exercised in the sporting arena. I have a sneaking suspicion that any enhanced performance in an otherwise normal person will end up having a cost to be paid down the road.

 

George M dRaBinSky
George M dRaBinSky  
1/16/2013 8:32:44 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Superhumans
The Superhuman is here.  Lance Armstrong in the news spotlight reveals what all athletes know, the body requires supplementation to peak perform.  From Coffee to the morning b12 five hour energy.  The supplements get better and more acurate for improving performance. Ask the Shamans who use plant medicine and they will tell you that performance enhancing plants reveal the world and what it is to be superhuman.  Outside In

Venks
Venks  
1/16/2013 1:38:18 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Um...
I completely agree. Its all in the name of Science and the scientific world is growing at such a brisk space that who knows what might happen 20 years from now. We cant even imagine right now. 

@Rich: By the way, its an interesting topic Mr. Rich. Many food for thoughts over there. I could see the future of the performance enhancing drug to be of limited use by limited departments of the society governed by the competent authority.

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