A year from now, readers may already have reached their limit in what promises to be a nonstop year-long barrage of chatter in anticipation of the new millennium. We would like to get in a word before you are thoroughly jaded.
It is not given to humans to know the future, but as long we are mindful of our limited vision we can construct probable scenarios. Here is a forecast for the twenty-first century: More than any previous era, the century to come will demonstrate the awesome extent to which God has granted to his creatures the power to create, to manipulate, and to destroy.
We are made in God's image and likeness; we are, as J. R. R. Tolkien said, "sub-creators." That theme has long been a staple of Christian anthropology—so, we say, J. S. Bach was imitating his Maker when he composed great cantatas, and so is every artist and architect and storyteller, every human maker, whether or not he acknowledges the source of his gift.
But in the century to come, "sub-creator" will take on a new intensity. We are likely to see, within the next hundred years, the cloning of human beings. We are likely to see artificial intelligences that are not merely—merely!—supremely good at specialized tasks such as chess or blackjack but rather are able to interact intelligently with the blooming, buzzing, category-crossing Real World. We are certain to see widespread and diverse approaches to genetic enhancement, not only of potatoes, but also of people; human enhancement via neural implants is also likely. We are certain to see reproduction divorced from the human setting in which it has always taken place; many children, to be sure, will enter this world the old-fashioned way, but many others will not (see "Biotech Babies," ...1
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