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Transhumanism Technology

  1. Aug 9, 2004 #1
    What's up everyone,

    Transhumanism is the belief that humans should be biologically/physically improved. This field materialized I believe around 1985 and formed the first organization, the Extropy Institute http://www.extropy.org/ around 1989 I believe.

    Transhumanists seek to use radical technologies to improve humans, the ultimate goal being to become immortal and super-intelligent, in effect to become gods, if you will. Mythological gods such as Zues and Ares were immortal and physically strong, but not super-intelligent; transhumanists seek to improve human intelligence as well, so that we are not just physically powerful like Zues, but also intellectually powerful.

    Some concepts of Transhumanism:

    The Singularity: the creation of a super-intelligence that keeps on rebuilding itself to becoming more and more intelligent, even at an exponential rate if possible. This entity would become so intellectually powerful that we humans could not conceive of the resulting product. Either humans will become the Singularity or we will create one out of artificial intelligence to serve humans.

    Mind Uploading: The plan to copy our mind into a super-computer that is immune to decay and built to be upgradable. This is problematic though since uploading your brain may just create a clone of you, a twin, while the original person still remains in the original biological brain.

    Cyborg science: slowly replacing our body and brain parts with materials that not only enhance us, but are immune to decay so we thus live longer, even for ever if possible.

    Genetic engineering: used to not only create super-zygotes for birth, but to actually alter our current existing bodies for the better, kind of like the recent movie Spider-Man and the older movie "The Nutty Professor" with Eddy Murphy in which the body completely changed to fit the new DNA inserted into the person's cells.

    Cloning: used to clone high quality humans.

    Stem cells: used to clone organs and body parts to replace damaged and dying parts on existing people.

    Artificial Intelligence: Transhumanists don't believe life must remain organic, but rather re-built for the better, even if that means creating humans out of silicon and metal.

    Eugenics: Selective breeding and the use of cloning and genetic engineering to improve the gene pool of a given population group. Eugenics is not supported by all Transhumanist organizations, such as the World Transhumanist Organization, but is supported by other ones, such as Transtopia.

    The most non-eccentric Transhumanist organization is the World Transhumanist Association: http://www.transhumanism.org/ while the MOST eccentric organization Transtopia http://www.transtopia.org/ The rest of the Transhumanist organizations/websites lie in the middle of these two extremes and include the following:

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2004 #2
    Not an awful summary in general, but I really don't want people to get the impression that organizations like the last eight in your list of URLs are taken seriously by most people who call themselves transhumanists. It's not accurate to say that "some transhumanist organizations support eugenics, others don't"; none of the major transhumanist organizations support eugenics, and while some eugenics-promoting organizations may have started to use the word "transhumanism", this is not the original meaning, and mainstream transhumanists don't want anything to do with them.

    I'm dismayed about how much silliness some people have been attaching to the word "transhumanism" lately: new agers, eugenicists, magicky types, Mormons, Raelians, "Christian transhumanists", etc etc. It almost looks like the sane ones among us will have to find a new word.

    All this is a shame, because there are very important non-fluffy questions here about technology and the future of humanity, and the answer to many of them should be "yes". As always, I recommend reading the transhumanist FAQ.

    (By the way, you missed the most interesting organization ;) )
  4. Aug 10, 2004 #3
    "Either humans will become the Singularity or we will create one out of artificial intelligence to serve humans. "

    so you will create "god" to serve Humans? hmmm

    Oximoron if you ask me... :confused:
  5. Aug 10, 2004 #4
    I think comparing posthumans to gods is unhelpful in understanding them. Posthumans don't sit on mountains throwing lightning at mortals, and so on.

    It's not a matter of getting an already existing hostile "god" to serve you; it's a matter of building a "god" from scratch who is sufficiently nice to help you out of its own free will.
  6. Aug 10, 2004 #5


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    Since when are machines not subject to decay?
  7. Aug 11, 2004 #6
    "Posthumans don't sit on mountains throwing lightning at mortals, and so on"

    neither does god?
  8. Aug 11, 2004 #7
    (Ah, but you can't *prove* that. ;) )

    Generalizing to other stereotypically god-like behaviors is left as an exercise for the reader.
  9. Aug 12, 2004 #8
    I can, since Lightning comes from static electrictry, within clouds not from Mountains :-D

    Also do you believe in more than 1 god?
  10. Aug 12, 2004 #9
    How does that prove that gods don't also throw lightning?

    No, less than 1. (I'm just saying this is the sort of association people have when you talk about gods, not that it's actually true.)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  11. Aug 12, 2004 #10
    We know how lightning is formed within clouds... are you seriously wanting to degrade this post to angument about if God throws lightning or not?
  12. Aug 12, 2004 #11
    Let's not. I didn't mean any of that seriously, if you hadn't already figured that out.
  13. Aug 12, 2004 #12
    ok good :-D yeh I thought so
  14. Oct 12, 2004 #13
    to resurrect a an old post, i'll add that transhumanism has come a long way, but needs more action involved in the organization. i do not personally recognize transtopianism as a sect of transhumaism, i think they are a too distant branch from the ideaologies of F.M. Esfandiary. of which transhumanist thought are based on.

    i am a transhumanist, and i currently post on the betterhumans.com forum, based in Canada, and my first encounter with this ideaology was the WTO (world transhumanist association). I read through the entire FAQ and agreed with almost everything (that was well over a year ago). My one point of contention, even till this day, has been the singularity. (eugenics is not relavent, because it is ludicrus and useless as far as i am concerned)

    i simply don't like it. like mentioned above, i feel that creating a singularity invests too much trust into one entity. i think that even if the programmers do the best job that they possibly can at making it a friendly AI, there is still too much room for error and bugs and it becoming indifferent or hostile to human existance. the only way i feel i might survive or stay safe, would be to become a singularity myself... but that isn't particularily appealing to me at the moment. i would like to gain intelligence rather slowly and through more physical trial and error processes... if i were to be elavated into a singularity, i feel it would be too easy, or i might lose myself in the experience.

    the final possibility is to upload myself and have either the biological version or uploaded version elevated, while the other takes the long route, but is protected and watched over, by the singularity. Eventually the two conciousnesses would be re-joined when they decided it was most appropriate.
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