Dan Brown Essays

Dan Brown Essays-59
Is Zobrist’s plague set to be released the following day? Langdon’s search is desperate, but Zobrist left many hermetic hints based on Dante’s and later Italian Renaissance masterpieces, which lead Langdon first to Florence and then Venice and Istanbul.[Spoiler alert] I suggest you read the book first, and then come back to read the rest of this review.

Humanity is now in possession of tools to modify itself, and things will never be the same.

While I suspect some transhumanists may approve of covert global genetic modification for positive ends, I personally find the idea disturbing: it violates autonomy and self-ownership.

And the momentous event announced by Zobrist’s hermetic hints was not the of the virus, but its global saturation date.

Airborne and extremely contagious, the virus has already infected the entire population of the planet and genetically modified everyone. [See A global viral vector: reality check] Genetically engineering humans?

Please don’t change my DNA without asking me, thank you very much.

Others may find this even worse: a form of global bioterrorism.notes in a comment below: “[Dan Brown]‘s overpopulation fears make him sound like he’s writing half a century ago. In fact, fertility rates continue their decades-long precipitous decline.I was mainly interested in Brown’s portrait of transhumanists and their scientific and philosophical ideas, which play a central role in the novel.There’s a number of recently published transhumanist-themed novels, such as will be a bestseller, probably followed by a successful film, and the first introduction to transhumanism for millions of readers.He understood the astonishing powers of technology and believed that in the span of several generations, our species would become a different animal entirely — genetically enhanced to be healthier, smarter, stronger, even more compassionate [as we learn from one of the main characters later]. He didn’t think we’d live long enough as a species to realize that possibility. He was also obsessed with the global population explosion, and an ensuing Malthusian hell — caused by overpopulation. He thought that the Black Death, which killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population of Europe in the Middle Ages, was one of the best things that ever happened to Europe, because it reduced the population and created a surplus of food and wealth that opened the way to the Renaissance.So did Zobrist create a plague to curb the world’s population?As Elizabeth Sinskey, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), explains to Langdon, “[Transhumanism] is an intellectual movement, a philosophy of sorts, and it’s quickly taking root in the scientific community.It essentially states that humans should use technology to transcend the weaknesses inherent in our human bodies.A viral vector for global genetic modification “[Zobrist] created something known as a “viral vector,” explains Brooks, the doctor who helps Langdon evade his killers at the beginning — a former child prodigy with an off-the-charts IQ and a committed transhumanist. inserts a piece of predetermined DNA into that cell, essentially modifying the cell’s genome.“It’s a virus intentionally designed to install genetic information into the cell it’s attacking,” she says. “An airborne viral vector is a quantum leap — years ahead of its time.This is an important moment in the history of transhumanism — but good or bad?A genetic-engineering mystery The book opens with the suicide of famous genetic engineer Bertrand Zobrist, a scientific genius who jumps to his death from a historical building in Florence.

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