Advances across a broad front in biology, cognitive psychology, and computer technology are challenging our traditional notions of human nature and calling into question the terms of self-description that define our distinctive place and purpose within the order of creation. Blurring the boundaries between humans, animals, and machines, these advances raise theoretical and practical problems of profound importance for the future of human civilization. With this Planning Grant, we request support for the research, organization, and strategic preparation essential for a comprehensive project of global dialogue, scientific inquiry, and thoughtful scholarship to address these important issues. Through extensive literature review and consultation we will explore several Big Questions central to themes in the JTF Life Sciences programs: What are the unique and defining features of human nature? What construction and conditions (biological, social, and spiritual) make these features possible? And, most perplexing, what is the human future? Grounded in the active dialogue of an ongoing interdisciplinary faculty seminar with our Stanford colleagues (as well as invited Silicon Valley engineers and industry leaders), together with the input of an international conference of experts, and consultation with distinguished guest speakers, we will assemble a comprehensive annotated survey of the distinguishing characteristics of human nature, together with a well-documented and realistic picture of the practical and conceptual challenges posed by emerging bio and information technologies. Within the frame of these perspectives, we will propose a definitive multidisciplinary project that seeks a coherent physical, cultural, and philosophical anthropology – an understanding of the 'boundaries of humanity' that defends human dignity and promotes the personal, social, and spiritual flourishing of human life.