Dossier: The Future of Man and Technology

Dossier: The Future of Man and Technology

Cover “Will We Live Forever?”; Copyright: Suhrkamp VerlagCurrent scientific research on life, intelligence and matter has achieved revolutionary results that challenge our conception of the nature of the human body and mind. The inventor and futurologist Ray Kurzweil deduces from possible technological applications of this knowledge the vision of a near future in which artificial intelligence will have excelled human intelligence in all areas and man will have merged with intelligent technology, disease and aging will be combated by genetic engineering and nano-medicine and, finally, no one will any longer have to die a natural death.

What in this vision is science, what religious promises of salvation, what pure science fiction? The writer Tobias Hülswitt and the physicist Roman Brinzanik conducted interviews with prominent scientists, including stem cell researcher Hans R. Schöler and brain researcher Wolf Singer. They wanted to find out what is the current state of science and what serious scenarios of the future look like. In addition, they explored the social consequences of new technologies and the possibility of a radical extension of life with the President of the Max Planck Society, Peter Gruss. And with Father Friedhelm Mennekes SJ and writer Hans-Ulrich Treichel the authors talked about the plasticity of human identity and the relation of the arts to technology, melancholy and transience.

    Ray Kurzweil; © 2008 Kurzweil Technologies

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part I: Ray Kurzweil

    Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurologist, in an interview with Tobias Hülswitt.More ...
    Peter Gruss; Copyright: Axel Griesch/MPG

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part II: Peter Gruss

    Peter Gruss, cell biologist and President of the Max Planck Society, interviewed by Roman Brinzanik and Tobias Hülswitt.More ...
    Professor Hans R. Schöler; Copyright: MPI Münster/Sarah Eick

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part III: Hans R. Schöler

    Hans R. Schöler, stem cell researcher and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, in an interview with Tobias Hülswitt and Roman Brinzanik.More ...
    Wolf Singer; Copyright: Suhrkamp Verlag

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part IV: Wolf Singer

    Wolf Singer, brain researcher and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main, in an interview with Roman Brinzanik and Tobias Hülswitt.More ...
    Friedhelm Mennekes; Copyright: Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part V: Friedhelm Mennekes SJ

    Pastor and theologian Friedhelm Mennekes SJ in an interview with Tobias Hülswitt and Roman Brinzanik.More ...
    Hans-Ulrich Treichel; Copyright: Jerry Bauer/Suhrkamp-Verlag

    The Future of Man and Technology, Part VI: Hans-Ulrich Treichel

    Writer and literary scholar Hans-Ulrich Treichel interviewed by Roman Brinzanik and Tobias Hülswitt.More ...

    The interviews were published in:

    Cover „Werden wir ewig leben?“; Copyright: Suhrkamp VerlagWerden wir ewig leben? – Gespräche über die Zukunft von Mensch und Technologie, Tobias Hülswitt and Roman Brinzanik (eds.), edition unseld, Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2010

    Here we publish selected excerpts from interviews in this book. We would like to thank the authors for their cooperation and Suhrkamp Publishers for its kind permission to publish these excerpts.

    Roman Brinzanik, born in 1969 in then Czechoslovakia, studied physics and philosophy in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. After doctoral work in the area of complex systems and nano-physics, he switched to computational biology and worked at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Today he is a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and conducts research in systems biology, including the molecular causes of cancer and obesity. He is a member of the Korsakow Institute for Non-Linear Narrative Culture.
    Tobias Hülswitt, born in 1973 in Hanover, is a freelance writer. His most recent publications are Dinge bei Licht (2009), and Werden wir ewig leben? – Gespräche über die Zukunft von Mensch und Technolgie (2010). He worked as a lecturer at the University of the Arts in Berlin, at the Academy of Arts in Munich, and as guest professor at the Institute for German Literature at Leipzig. Together with documentary filmmaker Florian Thalhofer, he founded and operates the Korsakow Institute for Non-Linear Narrative Culture, www.institut.korsakow.com