All righty ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to know your opinions about transhumanism in general. What do you think about technological evolution, the ethics that would come along with it, not to mention the possible class difference. SO come one come all discuss and be civil, I'd truly like to know.
Honestly, This Video has completly changed how I view trans humanism. Previously I was thinking along the lines of a Deus Ex future where we might have some subdermal implants to make us stronger, maybe prosthetic eyes and such.
But now this is the future I imagine: You go to work and "plug" into a system that allows you to control several robotic features at once, perhaps you're a pilot or just sitting at your desk remotely controlling a few computers. After this you drive home from work, using a semi automated car that can read your thoughts to get directions and execute those directions autonomously. With a simple task like cooking, you might be able to do remote controlling (the latency of a few seconds in cooking isn't a big deal where it might be for driving). You can drive home controlling a few robotic appendages.
As we progress through this a few things start to happen: The robotic systems we control become more abstract. We start with body analogues (arms, legs, humanoid robots) and move on to more abstract things (controlling computers, cars, and things that aren't analogous to the human body at all). Also, our brains start to adapt to work more parallel and less serial. We're already seeing our behavior move in this direction with the rise of multitasking. We might engineer our brains to be more effective multi taskers, or just let evolution do its thing.
And the end game comes down to people having control over the world around them from the mind instead of the body. Even if it turns out it's impossible to send stimuli directly into our brains like in the Matrix, we can still imagine a future where a single person can use their brain to control several spy drones, telling a system to make suspicious images bigger, to quickly switch between different cameras, telling them to look different ways and such. I imagine a world where machines aren't implanted to our bodies but instead our heads.
Imagine the first person to fully control enough limbs to play a symphony, to preform a dozen person ballet. Combining these with smart programming and you wouldn't even need to know how to physically do either of these things, just know the sounds you want and the movements and the program can interpret them.
All I can say is that i hope the future is at least half as awesome as this.
We're already decently "transhuman" for any reasonable definition of transhuman. We carry around an immense amount of auxiliary computational power in the form of cellphones and mp3 players, not to mention laptops and tablets and the like, we compensate for our rather weak skin and sparse fur with clothing, we use fire to basically do our digesting for us.
We are already heavily augmented from what biology provides us, just by virtue of living in society. The only difference between the transhumanism that is happening right now and the transhumanism that Vannak envisions is that our augmentations are generally not directly connected to our neural systems, but that is a minor distinction, entirely superficial in the face of having eyes on a completely different planet.
Class differences? Yep, totally. Better weaponry was a leading source of class differences historically. Differences in technological access continues to be a big problem today.
Ethics problems? Of course. What exactly makes those with better weapons equipped to determine when and against whom? How do we determine how technology gets distributed?
These are not questions that apply to some vague speculative future, these are questions that apply to the world as it is.
Trans-humanism, especially the idea of technological singularity is basically nerd rapture. Rich white people will get richer and have better lives. Nerds will lead the way with their understanding of technology. Other people? Eh, they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, right?
It's a nice idea, and certainly I'm all for technological progress. But it definitely needs some sitting down and thinking about to make sure it's actually a positive bit of progress for more than an elite few.
That's all there is to it. The rapid growth of technology would lead to the destruction of humanity. If we were to be augmented with cybernetic technology, then we wouldn't be humans anymore. Humans, like us, have limits. but augmented beings seem to be more superior than us because they no longer have to worry about their limits. Augmented beings could run faster, jump higher, or think smarter than those who are not augmented.
That superiority could be used for terrible purposes. What if a deranged augmented being takes control over everything like a socialist would? It's a scary thought. There wouldn't be a class difference once the population becomes augmented. It would be like a dog-eat-dog or a winner-takes-all competition.
Or maybe I'm being paranoid. I love technology, but I better not find it in me.
I love the idea of transhumanism, and not just in the mechanical augmentation sense. I look forward to the day when gene therapy and recombinant technology allows us to breed ever more perfect humans, or adapting those already living to be better than they were. Imagine having your lifespan extended biologically, or having genes that allow you negate illness by giving you an inherent immunity to everything. We could consciously change the layout and function of our bodies to be better than nature could achieve.
This all gets even better when you add material augmentation to the mix. Sure, lungs are good now, but they're limited by the size of cells. Imagine if you could use nanotubes to artificially scale alveoli down to a 100th of the size, vastly increasing the available surface for gas exchanges. Athleticism would explode forwards. Imagine developing a material with the same qualities as skin, but with the strength and durability of steel. Cuts and injuries would be virtually non-existant, required power tools to even pose a threat.
The future is going to be awesome, and if it takes a little unethical behaviour to get there, so be it.
I certainly find the idea of trans-, and posthumanism very interesting. As some have said previously, today's culture and todays man can be said to already be "transhuman", in that we use so much technology in all of our lives to augment them, some even by necessity. "Taking evolution into our own hands", using our own creations to adapt and change the very fundamental ways that we live. Certainly it would have ethical questions, as well as great class differences for those able to afford more of the technology, but it may even bring about spiritual connotations. The ability to direct our own evolution with technology need not be limited to just ourselves that we control, either. Take a look into the group AUJIK. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wpOfk0bn6E
Im a transhumanist, I think that technology will benefit all, not just the rich, sure, the rich get more but with post-human intellect we could figure out how to build universal assemblers which could easily turn us into a post-scarcity society.
Now, the people that dont chose to be augmented will still be a little worse off, as they wont have as many ideas as those with augmented creativity, so they wont be able to sell the ideas, but with universal assemblers it would be fairly easy to eradicate things like world hunger.