At his keyboard in Austin, Texas, Bryan Bishop was writing quickly. A nationally ranked speed typist, he had drafted a polite inquiry to a prominent futurist in the UK. He wanted advice on his “designer baby startup.”

For a few years now, Bishop, a 29-year-old programmer and Bitcoin investor, has been leaving a trail of comments about human “enhancement” on the web. He’s a transhumanist, which means he thinks humans can be improved in profound ways by technology. He’d long exhorted others to do something about the human condition.

Now, he had decided to do it himself.

According to the e-mail, sent in May, Bishop and his par…
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