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‘Mortal Gods’ and Future Forecasting

Excerpt of Adam White artwork.
By José Cano (2015). © Paul Hair.
Mortal Gods: Ignition is an entertaining book about how superhuman people might deal with contemporary issues and challenges. But as Liberate Liberty noted a few days ago, it is more than this. It is forecasting (albeit in a broad way) the future. And a recent press release from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is another reminder of this.

“‘Mortal Gods’ Is Forecasting the Future” covered how new technology, research, and developments are moving humanity towards a day when superhuman individuals will be a reality.

IARPA is a part of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and its recent press release is another reminder that things that are now speculative fiction (and once thought of as fantasy) will exist eventually. Nextgov summarized, on June 14, what IARPA is currently seeking.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the intelligence community’s R&D arm, wants businesses to showcase technology that could prevent new biotechnology, such as DNA synthesis, from being exploited. At the end of this month, IARPA is hosting a Proposers’ Day in advance of a new solicitation for its Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats, or “Fun GCAT" program. …
The potential that researchers could synthesize “novel organisms” from genetic material is a “special concern,” the posting said. Today, researchers aren’t screening DNA synthesis for the risks it might pose to humans and the environment, according to IARPA. To remedy this, the Fun GCAT program aims to assess “the threat potential of unknown genes.”

As Liberate Liberty noted about the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in “‘Mortal Gods’ Is Forecasting the Future,” IARPA is likely focused “more on how enemy states or organizations might manipulate traditional chemical and biological weapons to create new threats, and how the U.S. might counter these threats.”

At the same time, as Liberate Liberty noted in its previous post, the IARPA press release points towards bigger things, and how one day “such R&D could lead to many more—and highly different—technologies and abilities as well.”