Photo from the main stage at NYCC 2017 showing, left to right, Chuck Nice, Matthew Liao, Adam Savage, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Photo from the main stage at NYCC 2017 showing, left to right, Chuck Nice, Matthew Liao, Adam Savage, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Human Augmentation with Adam Savage and Neil deGrasse Tyson

Onstage at NYCC 2017. Left to right: Chuck Nice, Matthew Liao, Adam Savage, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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About This Episode

Special thanks to Adam Savage and Tested. Check out Tested.com

If you could augment your body, would you? If you could augment your brain, would you? Is human augmentation even ethical? Join us for a geeky debate about these questions and more in this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, recorded live from the main stage at NY Comic Con 2017. Neil deGrasse Tyson, former MythBusters co-host and Tested editor/contributor Adam Savage, comic co-host Chuck Nice, and philosopher and NYU bioethics professor Matthew Liao investigate the future of human augmentation and the challenges it presents. This being Comic Con, we start with two of the most famous “human” superheroes, Iron Man and Batman, and explore whether their suits are inside the realm of possibility, and how they might inspire the creation of “Swiss-army-knife humans” using special prosthetics and exoskeletons. Next, dive into the ethical complications of augmentation: if scientists are obligated to augment everyone, where do we draw the line about what to “enhance,” and could it be dangerous to create a race of super-humans just because we can? Learn how human augmentation might be used to create biomedical solutions that would allow humans to adapt to the impact of climate change. Prof. Liao expounds on the idea of making “tiny people” instead of reducing the carbon footprint. You’ll also hear about CRISPR, designer babies, and, after a fan suggests giving humans wheels, Neil explains why nature doesn’t allow that. All that, plus, we discuss if future augmentation might be more than just physical, if augmentation could be used to help adapt humans for long-term space travel, and, lastly, whether or not we should be afraid of artificial intelligence.

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In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Adam Savage

    Adam Savage
    Editor/Contributor at Tested, former co-host of MythBuster
  • Guest

    Matthew Liao

    Matthew Liao
    Author, Philosopher, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University

Music in This Episode

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Music in This Episode