How are technological advances changing human evolution?

Esther Dyson does business as EDventure Holdings, the reclaimed name of the company she owned for 20-odd years before selling it to CNET Networks in 2004. In the last few years, she has turned her sights towards IT and health care. She dedicated two issues of her newsletter, Release 1.0, to the topic (Health and Identity: No Patient Left Behind? in January 2005 and Personal Health Information: Data Comes Alive! in September 2005).  Also in September 2005, she ran the Personal Health Information workshop that laid out many of the challenges still perplexing the health-care community.

Currently, she is on the board of directors of 23andMe and is one of the initial ten subjects of George Church's Personal Genome Project. Her primary activity is investing in start-ups and guiding many of them as a board member. Her board seats include Boxbe, CVO Group (Hungary),, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, and WPP Group and Yandex (Russia).

Some of her past direct IT investments include Flickr,, BrightMail, Medstory and Orbitz. Dyson was the founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000, and was also chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the 90's. In 1997, she wrote Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, which appeared in paperback a year later as Release 2.1. In 1994, she wrote a seminal essay on intellectual property for Wired magazine.

  • Transcript


Question: How are technological advances changing human evolution?

Esther Dyson: Well, I mean one thing is if I would been born for 100 years ago, my legs were twisted around, I would have been disabled from you get go, I probably would have just had some accident when I was 4 or 5 and would have been dead, so healthcare they put my feet in the careful for the first 6 weeks in my life, I am incredibly new side it at probably have even that was born probably to run into a tree by an hour, never have fallen under a horse or something, so they are to some extent we are now involving to be much less physically fit, than even if you 100 years ago, simply because life is much easier the real question of course is how much well we know be making would amount of you generate decisions and that’s an interesting in scary thought, its happening minutes in its own way its happen in China simply in favorite boys and that’s creating all kinds of social disruption where too many man and not enough civilizing women, if I can say that so we are now in many cases reading certain easily testable things that you can do in ambular testing for a special any people who have some kind of family history, down syndrome or whatever, we will be yeah and there is even now because in the old days, physical prowess mattered any more, I think you didn’t have this much kind of intelligence assortment meeting or something like that, so we are already changing how things are involving without using genetic information and its again it people again face more more ethical decisions that how much don’t want to control what kind of kid its and that’s quite apart from all this creating new life and stuff like that.

Question: Are these advances limited to the wealthy?

Esther Dyson: I agree with it, a 23 need for example, I mean again its hard to are you with this statement of fact that I think is true, so what do you about that fact, well just some extend you say one goal or 23 new is to do various correlation tests and its not very useful to have a very limited population so what we will do is work with foundations and other things and offered free or very cheap tests to selected populations with a certain conditions like all timers or whatever and would overtime, with a love for this stuff to be cheaper and it will be because the real cost is in the lab that say per unit cost, the cost of our website any information goes down for a person as the numbers goes up, overtime this will all get cheaper, most good things are pretty expensive when they start out, and I know that things that’s immoral, what I think is immoral is when a government doesn’t well, what’s the most moreover when a governments corrupts and steels from this citizens but a good government representing his people will educate them all and make sure that they have the education, the capability to be productive and then they can afford to take care of themselves and by genetic tests, in the mean time especially emerging months the government all says to be much more involved in health care and things like that so it’s the fact that things where expensive is not in more all the fact that people are prevented from fulfilling their capabilities and our stone from the by their governments and she didn’t humiliated this what’s immoral.

Recorded on: 03/21/2008