January 24, 2007

Medical Milestones

This week on CNE I talked about BMJs supplement about the 15 major medical milestones since 1840.

One of the most interesting things is that several of them would have been regarded as quite immoral in 1840 (anesthesia was regarded as cheating the divine punishment of pain and as possibly erotic, and contraceptives would have been beyond the pale), or outside the proper field of medicine.

It is interesting to see that at least the Computers: transcending our limits? essay suggests the emergence of a posthuman noosphere could be desirable. That is both something outside of medicine today and something many would feel uneasy about. But if it happens it would clearly have tremendous health effects (a wired society can detect epidemics much faster, and presumably a smart noosphere will be pretty good at advancing medicine).

The list in 2172 might look utterly non-medical to us. It might include nanotechnology both as the foundation of nanomedicine but also as a health-promotor by producing a very malleable environment. Enhancing drugs might have been superceeded by add-on enhancements and eventually an enhanced smart environment - the body is connected to the smarts rather than having them inside. Uploading may be one of the items, spelling the end of biological demands. But I'm pretty sure there will be even more conceptual items on the list. A better theory/ideology of mental health, for example. And I would not be surprised to find entries involving economics and statistics.

Posted by Anders3 at January 24, 2007 05:13 PM