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What Do You Think About Transhumanism?

  1. Dec 3, 2003 #1
    See http://www.transhumanism.org/ Basically, the technological/philosophical movement of Transhumanism is to create technology that can be applied to augmenting the human brain and body, as well as the creation of artificial life forms (consider tv shows with characters such as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation). Transhumanism embraces technologies such as genetic engineering, gene therapy, nanotechnology, cryonics, cyborg technology, cloning, and other futuristic/exotic types of procedures. They hope to increase individual IQs to astronomical levels, as well increase life-span without any limits. Physical robustness is also important, preventing body decay. Organic bodies are fragile, so if possible, a new material is desired to replace the current body type common to Homo Sapiens.

    Regards,

    Niels Bohr
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2003 #2
    I think transhumanism is wonderful. Whether or not humans should choose to upgrade themselves technologically may turn out to become the most important societal issue of the 21st century. Before automatically dismissing such ideas as either unethical or bad sci-fi, it's probably a good idea to acquaint yourself with the other side's arguments, if you haven't already (e.g. the Transhumanist FAQ, or look around here). I think you may find them much more sensible than the "loony frozen heads cult" image sometimes spread by the media. :wink:

    Data and other TV AIs are pretty awful examples of what to expect in reality, though.

    Also, I should point out that transhumanism has nothing to do with the "neo-eugenics" stuff Niels Bohr has been posting about. Mainstream transhumanism explicitly distances itself from such movements.
     
  4. Dec 12, 2003 #3
    Lol, in a world like this, I'm not sure I'd want to live any longer than 80 or 90 years. Ask me again when I'm 70...:wink:

    I think ultimately we have to accept ourselves for what we are. Science may, one day, if it is permitted to continue along the present trend, be able to patch up the human body with cybernetic or genetically 'grown' spare parts, but we're like tyres: there's only so many times it can be repared.

    Science is becoming a powerful thing these days, but the question isn't necessarily 'can we do it?', but 'if you were able to do it, would you honestly choose to?'

    I'm not entirely sure that I would.
     
  5. Dec 13, 2003 #4
    Over centuries, the world will not stay the same. If I lived forever, I could think of a lot of things to do and to learn even now. Transhuman technologies may well increase the space of things to do, and allow you to edit your mind to become who you want (redesign your motivations, become more intelligent, and so on).

    Life extension (possibly immortality) is only one aspect of transhumanism, and replacing parts would only be one way of extending lifespan (not necessarily the most interesting one).

    This is true. Some people would choose to use advanced technologies, some wouldn't. The alternative to letting people decide for themselves is to decide for everyone by halting technological progress on a global scale. So far, I don't think I've seen a plan to achieve a long-term technologically stagnant society that didn't directly or indirectly involve the collapse of civilization.

    Trying to get everyone on the planet to relinquish large areas of science and technology seems futile to me; what we can do is to try to ensure that these technologies will be used responsibly (e.g. nanotech) and that the future contains humane beings (e.g. AI).
     
  6. Dec 17, 2003 #5
    There are three branches of Transhumanism. The World Transhumanist Association (http://www.transhumanism.org/) is politically Liberal, Extropy Institute (http://www.extropy.org/) is Libertarian, and then the Conservative Transhumanists are Transtopia (http://www.transtopia.org/) and Plausible Futures (http://www.plausiblefutures.com/) Take your pick.

    Carlos Hernandez
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2003
  7. Dec 17, 2003 #6
    That's more of a twig than a branch, though. Most transhumanists wouldn't see "neo-eugenics" (which as far as I can tell is even further removed than the sites you mention) as part of the transhuman tree at all. This doesn't seem unfair to me, considering that transhumanism is about going beyond the human condition, not about breeding a master race or any of that tripe.

    Also, you make it seem like WTA and Extropy are denominations like Catholicism and Protestantism are to Christianity. While it's true that Extropy tends to be more libertarian and WTA tends to be more social-democratic (as well as trying to be more of an umbrella organization), neither is wedded to any political ideology. They're more like organizations working toward similar goals with different emphasis than like mutually exclusive factions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2003
  8. Dec 17, 2003 #7
    Ontoplankton,

    Why don't you get a leading Transhumanist figure to post daily tech news here? Eugene Leitl's Transhumantech list is getting no exposer, it would nice if he just posted all his tech and science news here. Or someone can post the daily betterhumans.com stories here. I don't have the time personally, plus you probably would not want Transhumanism to be affiliated with me.

    Carlos Hernandez
     
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