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Dieu des hommes's avatar

Enduring Prophet

Always reminds me of Nietzsche's √úbermensch " All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment."

I'm all for it, as long as it isn't pushed beyond our current understanding. It's not something I feel we should be worrying about in the immediate future though. The only real development in the immediate future will be more advanced limb replacements. Which have no real benefit (beyond security/military) within modern society. It is when they begin to augment the human mind, that things will begin to get serious.
lord_william_nilsson's avatar

Dedicated Informer

Dieu des hommes
Always reminds me of Nietzsche's √úbermensch " All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment."

I'm all for it, as long as it isn't pushed beyond our current understanding. It's not something I feel we should be worrying about in the immediate future though. The only real development in the immediate future will be more advanced limb replacements. Which have no real benefit (beyond security/military) within modern society. It is when they begin to augment the human mind, that things will begin to get serious.


Uebermensch has too many negative connotations, though.
I wouldn't use the term to promote the philosophy.

Anyway, my personal view on the matter is that transhumanism is inevitable. The technology and medical advancements are being developed and to compete as a person you will be forced to follow.
I mean, there are people who are opposed to the idea of using cellphones. But if you want to be succesfull in modern society it's important that you get one. Same goes for computers, internet, etc.

One of the first steps to make is augmented reality on a grand scale. Imagine being able to retrieve information instantly on everything before your eyes. Essentially making the world one big GUI.

Cool (parody) video about this:

Toutpres
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.


Every technology starts like that - first only the few ultra rich can afford it, then as it becomes cheaper it spreads to the upper middle class, middle class, lower classes and finally virtually everyone would have it. It happened with cars, computers, mobile phones, internet etc..

I dont think it would be different with transhumanist modifications, but thats no reason to oppose the technnology, anymore than opposing mobile phones in the early 90s, just because only the rich could afford it then.
x J u n ii o r
MemorialShrimpAiko
Humans should be human...


That superiority could be used for terrible purposes.


That superiority could also be used for great purposes though. The potential of transhumanist technologies to increase human wellbeing (decrease suffering) would be remarkable.
MachineMuse's avatar

Friendly Lunatic

Maslo55
x J u n ii o r
MemorialShrimpAiko
Humans should be human...


That superiority could be used for terrible purposes.


That superiority could also be used for great purposes though. The potential of transhumanist technologies to increase human wellbeing (decrease suffering) would be remarkable.

Exactly.

I could use my computer and social skills to break into the national treasury and cause another economic crisis! Ban computers! Ban people from interacting with each other in case they learn to manipulate!
Dieu des hommes
I'm all for it, as long as it isn't pushed beyond our current understanding.

That's what I'm most worried about, actually. With genetic algorithms and machine learning we are growing in our ability to produce technologies which we don't understand, but which are more effective than the ones we design ourselves. Will we reach a point where we no longer care about understanding the world, because we no longer need to in order to achieve our goals? Will we entrust our livelihood to a mechanical system which operates by rules we don't fully know? There has already been one instance of this being a bad thing, with conflicting stock market algorithms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Flash_Crash
This took place in the span of minutes.
In an ideal utopia that can never exist everyone would have access to "transhuman" technology, but really it's going to be all for the rich. It's not like they don't have a technological advantage over the poor already. This will grow forever, people will never change even in a million years with webbed feet and robotic eyes.

In an ideal world I'd be cool with new tech as long as it's well studied and addressed with concerns to the far, far future. I'd be fine with mechanical tampering but genetic gets into the the far far future concern territory. A gene that's harmful today may help us out in a thousand years against a new disease.
MachineMuse
That's what I'm most worried about, actually. With genetic algorithms and machine learning we are growing in our ability to produce technologies which we don't understand, but which are more effective than the ones we design ourselves. Will we reach a point where we no longer care about understanding the world, because we no longer need to in order to achieve our goals? Will we entrust our livelihood to a mechanical system which operates by rules we don't fully know? There has already been one instance of this being a bad thing, with conflicting stock market algorithms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Flash_Crash
This took place in the span of minutes.

That line was crossed with the invention of agriculture. It's a bit late to complain about it now.
Toutpres
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.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/geneticists-create-bi-fi-the-biological-internet
This is an example of cheap, easy, equal transhuman progress with positive effects for everyone. A digital space for the existence of consciousness eliminates all of the essential human needs and reduces them to one; a desire to exist.
MachineMuse's avatar

Friendly Lunatic

The Jawbreaker
Toutpres
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.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/geneticists-create-bi-fi-the-biological-internet
This is an example of cheap, easy, equal transhuman progress with positive effects for everyone. A digital space for the existence of consciousness eliminates all of the essential human needs and reduces them to one; a desire to exist.

um

it's just a different communication protocol

I mean, it's pretty awesome, but it's nowhere near what you're thinking.
MachineMuse
The Jawbreaker
Toutpres
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.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/geneticists-create-bi-fi-the-biological-internet
This is an example of cheap, easy, equal transhuman progress with positive effects for everyone. A digital space for the existence of consciousness eliminates all of the essential human needs and reduces them to one; a desire to exist.

um

it's just a different communication protocol

I mean, it's pretty awesome, but it's nowhere near what you're thinking.

We're talking step one, prototype programs here. Who knows where this project may go in the next half a century? Millenia? When will people get over their jaded "I've got a smartphone" future complex? Pretty awesome? I don't think you are embracing the full implications of the progress being made here. This is groundbreaking. It requires an whole new look on consciousness and thought entirely.
MachineMuse's avatar

Friendly Lunatic

The Jawbreaker
We're talking step one, prototype programs here. Who knows where this project may go in the next half a century? Millenia? When will people get over their jaded "I've got a smartphone" future complex? Pretty awesome? I don't think you are embracing the full implications of the progress being made here. This is groundbreaking. It requires an whole new look on consciousness and thought entirely.

The article you linked really misrepresents the study. The only thing that's really new here is genetic signal propagation. What this would actually be useful for is controlling growth and behaviour of biological machines. Not what you're thinking.

If it's hands-free consciousness you're interested in, nerve impulses are still orders of magnitude faster and there's no 'wireless' effect as the title would suggest. This isn't a bypass lane for a two-way BCI.

If you understand that the article is misrepresented, you might be interested in the potential for gene therapy in this manner. While possible, it would be incredibly dangerous and (imo) stupid to open up your entire body to rapid propagation of viruses and cancers. We already have retrovirus-based gene therapy, and besides, you would need such a retrovirus to 'install' this transmission system, so why not just apply the gene therapy directly? Unless you intend to apply numerous different gene therapies in stages (which is a possibility I guess) it would be inefficient even without the dangers.
MachineMuse
The Jawbreaker
We're talking step one, prototype programs here. Who knows where this project may go in the next half a century? Millenia? When will people get over their jaded "I've got a smartphone" future complex? Pretty awesome? I don't think you are embracing the full implications of the progress being made here. This is groundbreaking. It requires an whole new look on consciousness and thought entirely.

The article you linked really misrepresents the study. The only thing that's really new here is genetic signal propagation. What this would actually be useful for is controlling growth and behaviour of biological machines. Not what you're thinking.

If it's hands-free consciousness you're interested in, nerve impulses are still orders of magnitude faster and there's no 'wireless' effect as the title would suggest. This isn't a bypass lane for a two-way BCI.

If you understand that the article is misrepresented, you might be interested in the potential for gene therapy in this manner. While possible, it would be incredibly dangerous and (imo) stupid to open up your entire body to rapid propagation of viruses and cancers. We already have retrovirus-based gene therapy, and besides, you would need such a retrovirus to 'install' this transmission system.


I think that a BCI is a pretty dull end goal to limit ourselves at. I'm talking complete conscious/electronic integration. A virtual space in which is encoded the consciousness of a being who then creates the electronic environment through which the consciousness navigates or experiences cascades of events.

or perhaps, much more likely, something absolutely NOTHING like this at all XD
MachineMuse's avatar

Friendly Lunatic

The Jawbreaker


I think that a BCI is a pretty dull end goal to limit ourselves at. I'm talking complete conscious/electronic integration. A virtual space in which is encoded the consciousness of a being who then creates the electronic environment through which the consciousness navigates or experiences cascades of events.

Now we're talking!

BCI isn't an end goal, it's a landmark. And moreover, a process. We already have consumer-level EEG-like systems, although they aren't quite as cheap or precise as a mouse yet. It should be possible to analyze a brain, determine the weight vectors for each neuron's connections, and reproduce it digitally, without need for a physical brain. So...I guess I just don't see the point of using genetic engineering to get there.

The question with that, though, is to what degree are we willing to invade our own existence for the sake of virtual experience. With decent mapping software, it should be possible to generate the experience of 'blue' or 'cow' on demand with electrical or even magnetic stimulation, bypassing vision entirely. Would you prefer that over a laser drawing a blue cow on your retina? It would certainly be quicker and more resource-efficient, but what is lost?

Alternatively, what is our goal in this transcendence? Is it to complement our humanity, to bring out the best parts of being human while making history of the worst parts? Or is it to become something more? What will be our motivation then?

The Jawbreaker
or perhaps, much more likely, something absolutely NOTHING like this at all XD

You're on the right track. Just make sure you read carefully and do your best to understand what's going on :p
MachineMuse
The Jawbreaker


I think that a BCI is a pretty dull end goal to limit ourselves at. I'm talking complete conscious/electronic integration. A virtual space in which is encoded the consciousness of a being who then creates the electronic environment through which the consciousness navigates or experiences cascades of events.

Now we're talking!

BCI isn't an end goal, it's a landmark. And moreover, a process. We already have consumer-level EEG-like systems, although they aren't quite as cheap or precise as a mouse yet. It should be possible to analyze a brain, determine the weight vectors for each neuron's connections, and reproduce it digitally, without need for a physical brain. So...I guess I just don't see the point of using genetic engineering to get there.

The question with that, though, is to what degree are we willing to invade our own existence for the sake of virtual experience. With decent mapping software, it should be possible to generate the experience of 'blue' or 'cow' on demand with electrical or even magnetic stimulation, bypassing vision entirely. Would you prefer that over a laser drawing a blue cow on your retina? It would certainly be quicker and more resource-efficient, but what is lost?

Alternatively, what is our goal in this transcendence? Is it to complement our humanity, to bring out the best parts of being human while making history of the worst parts? Or is it to become something more? What will be our motivation then?

The Jawbreaker
or perhaps, much more likely, something absolutely NOTHING like this at all XD

You're on the right track. Just make sure you read carefully and do your best to understand what's going on :p

What is our goal in this "transcendence?" Personally I feel the biggest goal we have working towards a "Cloud" existence (or cloudsistance if you like XD) would be the elimination of the need for physical resources. An electric consciousness doesn't need air, water, shelter, food etc, etc of which there is a limited amount of.
MachineMuse's avatar

Friendly Lunatic

The Jawbreaker
What is our goal in this "transcendence?" Personally I feel the biggest goal we have working towards a "Cloud" existence (or cloudsistance if you like XD) would be the elimination of the need for physical resources. An electric consciousness doesn't need air, water, shelter, food etc, etc of which there is a limited amount of.

Maybe not, but if it's going to be an active consciousness ie. one which processes incoming stimuli in real-time, then it is going to need electricity and cooling, which might not be trivial to obtain.

Or, on a more abstract level, cloud-people are going to need 'processor cycles' to live (as well as storage space). Maybe it seems like we have an abundant amount right now, but keep in mind the human brain produces about 10-100 trillion spikes per second. And those aren't a single floating-point operation, either. Can you imagine a dystopian future ~in the cloud~ where ineffective or wasteful people are relegated to backwater servers with laggy connections, slower processors, and faulty hard drives? D: What a world that would be.

But I have faith in Moore's law. As long as we keep our reproduction to a responsible rate, I think we'll be OK.

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