Ramez Naam wins 2005 HG Wells Award for Contributions to Transhumanism
On July 23, 2005, at the annual awards banquet at the WTA’s Transvision conference in Caracas Venezuela, the WTA Board of Directors announced that Ramez Naam had won the 2005 HG Wells Award for Contributions to Transhumanism. “Mez” was acknowledged for the accomplishment of his wonderful book, More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. More than Human is an exceptionally thoughtful and well-written review of and argument for human enhancement technology.
Ramez is a professional technologist who helped create two of the most widely used pieces of software in the world: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook. His book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement offers a comprehensive tour of new biotechnologies, taking readers inside the labs to meet the researchers and understand the science behind these advances. The book also makes a careful yet provocative case for embracing human enhancement, showing readers that these technologies are powerful new tools in humanity’s age-long quest to improve ourselves, our offspring, and our world.
The Los Angeles Times says “More Than Human is a terrific survey of current work and future possibilities in gene therapy, neurotechnology and other fields. Naam doesn’t shy away from technical detail, but his enthusiasm keeps the science from becoming intimidating.” BusinessWeek says “this well-researched treatise provides a compelling glimpse of what life could be like if biotech treatments become as common as vitamins” and calls it “a fascinating tour… provocative—and edifying.” Publishers Weekly cites the book as “an excellent and comprehensive survey,” and Kirkus Reviews says Ramez “shows a knack for plain and clear explanations of highly complex and technical concepts without condensation or pedantry.” The Village Voice calls More Than Human “an enjoyable and stimulating read.” Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, says More Than Human “provides a reliable and informed cook’s tour of the world we might choose if we decide that we should fast-forward evolution. I disagree with virtually all his enthusiasms, but I think he has made his case cogently and well.” Steven Johnson, author of Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life says “More Than Human is one of those rare books that is both a delightful read and an important statement. No one interested in the future intersections of science, technology, and medicine can afford to miss this book.” The editors of Scientific American picked it as one of their recommended titles. The Los Angeles Times said “More Than Human” is a terrific survey of current work and future possibilities in gene therapy, neurotechnology and other fields.” Kirkus Reviews said “An intriguing presentation by an unabashed advocate of the technological tricking and co-opting of mother nature.”
Ramez speaks regularly at a wide range of software and nanotechnology conferences, including Transvision USA, the annual World Futures Conference and others. He recently debated William Hurlbut of the President’s Council on Bioethics at a recent conference of the Foresight Institute on the topic “Human Performance Enhancement: Inevitable Progress or Immoral Selfishness?” He is a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He serves on the advisory board of the Institute for Accelerating Change, and he is a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute and a member of the World Future Society, the Extropy Institute, and the World Transhumanist Association.