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Kazuo Ishiguro: Soon, We Will Be Able to Create Humans Who Are Superior to Other Humans




   •     Author Kazuo Ishiguro believes we are unwittingly walking into a dystopian future because the world has yet to give science and technology more than just peripheral interest.

   •     He believes that we have yet to engage in meaningful conversations about where scientific advancements will take us, and the kind of impact they will have on our lives.




石黑一雄Kazuo Ishiguro)相信我們將在不知不覺中走入一個反烏托邦(Dystopia,是烏托邦utopia)的反義語,是與理想社會相反的,一種極端惡劣的社會最終形態)的未來,因為這個世界給予科學以及科技的,只有膚淺的興趣。








According to Kazuo Ishiguro, there are three areas of science that are set to transform how we live and interact with others over the next few decades: gene editing, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Ishiguro, granted, is best known as one of the most celebrated fiction writers today. He is behind the novel Never Let Me Go, the story of a dystopian future where humans are cloned to be organ donors. But the possibility of a future so fundamentally changed by scientific advancements could be more than the fruit of the author’s creativity and imagination.




石黑一雄是今日備受推崇的有才華的科幻作家之一。他是小說< 別讓我走> 的作者,這個故事是關於一個反烏托邦的未來,人類製造複製人作為器官捐贈者。但是一個被科學進步徹底改變的未來世界的可能性,被這位作者的創造力和想像力刻劃得不只是虛妄。


Kazuo Ishiguro. Credit: Jeff Cottenden

石黑一雄。(圖片來源:Jeff Cottenden


He cites CRISPR as a primary example. The discovery of this gene editing tool gives scientists the option to modify pieces of the genome, paving the way for unprecedented applications in medicine. Right now, we can replace faulty genes with working ones, which is a great accomplishment unto itself. But moving forward, as we learn more about this new technology, the option to enhance functional genes to create intellectually and physically superior humans becomes a real possibility.

Think of it as like a real world Gattaca, where society is divided into two classes. Half will be populated with humans with genetically engineered genes that makes them healthier, smarter, stronger—designer babies, essentially. And the other half, with humans whose genetic sequence has been left to chance, untouched, leaving them biologically inferior.




這就像電影「千鈞一發(Gattaca )」的現實版,整個社會被分為兩個階層。一半是經過基因改造工程的人類,他們更健康、聰明、強壯,實質上,他們就是改造嬰兒(designer babies)。而社會的另一階層,就是沒有經過基因改造的人,使得他們在生理上是次等人。






Ishiguro believes we are unwittingly walking into this dystopian future because the world has yet to give science and technology more than just peripheral interest. Sure, we celebrate the headlines and acknowledge the accomplishments, but we have yet to engage in meaningful conversations about where these advancements will take us, and the kind of impact they will have on our lives.


石黑一雄(Kazuo Ishiguro)相信我們將在不知不覺中走入一個反烏托邦(Dystopia,是烏托邦utopia)的反義語,是與理想社會相反的,一種極端惡劣的社會最終形態)的未來,因為這個世界給予科學以及科技的,只有膚淺的興趣。是的,我們為令人興奮的頭條以及知識而雀躍讚揚,但是,我們還沒有展開一些有意義的對話,關於科學的進步會帶我們走到什麼境地,以及對我們的生命會有什麼影響。



Developments in AI and roboticsfor instance, mean a major part of intellectual capital will shift to what he refers to as the Silicon Valley masters of the universe”—it will no longer be under universities or government funded labs. The lack of regulation regarding these rapid developments is also cause for concern. And of course, there is the ongoing debate about the ethics behind advancements in genetic sciences, like CRISPR.


人工智慧和機器人的發展作為例子,作為領頭羊,掌握最多資源的,是「矽谷(Silicon Valley)的宇宙主宰」,而不是大學或政府資助的實驗室。這缺乏規範的快速發展讓人擔憂。當然,關於基因科學的倫理問題不斷被提出來辯論,例如CRISPR


The relevance of Ishiguro’s musings about the future comes in time for the opening of a new permanent mathematics gallery at the Science Museum in London. Included in the exhibit is the author’s father, oceanographer Shizuo Ishiguro, who created a machine that can predict coastal storm surges.

The author however, hopes that exhibits such as this will prompt more discussion about the trajectory of science and spur deeper interest. These breakthroughs have real implications that deserve to be discussed.


石黑一雄對於未來的沈思與倫敦科學博物館(Science Museum in London)的甫開全新永久數位藝廊相呼應。這個展覽包含了石黑一雄的父親,海洋學家石黑靜雄(Shizuo Ishigur),他創造了可以預測沿海風暴潮(coastal storm surges)的機器。