NPR has a fascinating, but not surprising, story on autism clusters. According to researchers at UC Davis, clusters of children diagnosed with autism tend to occur in places where parents are older, well educated and white.
It's not that these people have more kids with autism. The clusters occur because this socio-economic group is more likely to go through the time consuming, complicated and often expensive diagnosis process.
This is an early sign of the coming human enhancement divide. Simply put, rich people are going to have better access to technologies and drugs that improve cognitive ability and other forms of human enhancement than poor people. The same will be true for rich countries versus poor countries.
Cognitive enhancement is already here in the form of drugs (called nootropics) that improve concentration. The ADD drug Ritalin, for example, is widely used by students, high tech workers, financial professionals and others interested in gaining a mental edge.
More powerful nootropics are under development, and other forms of human enhancement and genetic engineering are much closer to use than commonly believed.
I'm often asked what future trends scare me. Cheap, easy to make bio-weapons tops my list.
But not far behind is human enhancement. This field and technologies are moving much faster than our ability to deal with the related ethical and moral issues.