NationStates Jolt Archive


Transhumanism?

Trollgaard
18-11-2007, 10:46
So, recently I've heard of transhumanism, which, from what I understand, aims to turn humans into cyborgs or upload everyone into a matrix-like system so people's minds can 'live' forever.

Do any of you have a better definition of transhumanism?
What are your thoughts on transhumanism?
If you are transhumanist, why?
Dododecapod
18-11-2007, 10:52
I'm a transhumanist. Transhumanism is the effort to improve humanity, either individually or collectively, using artificial means. The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god. In the short term, we seek to extend lifespans, eliminate susceptibility to disease, and improve the robustness of the human body.

Cybernetics is one route, as is Uploading, but do not discount Bionetics (the use of artificial biological implants), Nanetics (Nanotech ditto) and Genetic Engineering. Personally, I think we're going to try ALL of these methods - mankind is going to splinter into thousands of clades, all seeking their own method of Apotheosis.
Vetalia
18-11-2007, 11:20
As a fellow transhumanist, Dodecapod nailed the definition pretty well. It's based on a desire to use technology to enhance the abilities of mankind as well as build a sustainable economy for the benefit of all sentients in our society. Sentients, of course, covering all minds capable of thinking and feeling regardless of who they are or what they are made of. To me, that would even include many species such as primates, dolphins, elephants, and other non-human organisms capable of thought.

Of course, there are various variants of the philosophy. I myself am a transhumanist that also espouses techno-utopian concepts in addition to the overall desire to enhance mankind.
The Loyal Opposition
18-11-2007, 11:29
The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god.


The problem with God is his apparent need to smite the unworthy.
James_xenoland
18-11-2007, 11:36
I'm a transhumanist. Transhumanism is the effort to improve humanity, either individually or collectively, using artificial means. The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god. In the short term, we seek to extend lifespans, eliminate susceptibility to disease, and improve the robustness of the human body.

Cybernetics is one route, as is Uploading, but do not discount Bionetics (the use of artificial biological implants), Nanetics (Nanotech ditto) and Genetic Engineering. Personally, I think we're going to try ALL of these methods - mankind is going to splinter into thousands of clades, all seeking their own method of Apotheosis.
I couldn't have said it better myself.. no really, I couldn't.
Vetalia
18-11-2007, 11:37
The problem with God is his apparent need to smite the unworthy.

Yes, that's always been my fear, honestly...that people would use something so momentously good as this as an attempt to rule over and oppress others. Really, though, like anything, there's always going to be some unstable people out there that try to use things like this for their own twisted benefit.
Tagmatium
18-11-2007, 11:41
I'm slightly nervous of the whole transhuman thing. There's a lecturer at the university I attend who had a chip of some sort implanted into his arm so that he could manipulate a robotic arm, as well as doing other things. It just seems... creepy, in my point of view.

That could possibly be because I'm the 21st Century equivalent of the ignorant, torch-weilding peasant :p
The Loyal Opposition
18-11-2007, 11:43
Really, though, like anything, there's always going to be some unstable people out there that try to use things like this for their own twisted benefit.

The problem is that some of those "anythings" empower unstable people to degrees I would prefer to not imagine, never mind actually see come to fruition.
Longhaul
18-11-2007, 11:50
I'm a transhumanist. Transhumanism is the effort to improve humanity, either individually or collectively, using artificial means. The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god. In the short term, we seek to extend lifespans, eliminate susceptibility to disease, and improve the robustness of the human body.

Cybernetics is one route, as is Uploading, but do not discount Bionetics (the use of artificial biological implants), Nanetics (Nanotech ditto) and Genetic Engineering. Personally, I think we're going to try ALL of these methods - mankind is going to splinter into thousands of clades, all seeking their own method of Apotheosis
Nice definition. I'd personally have replaced "make man into god" with a simpler "make man better", but it's a minor quibble.

I'm also a transhumanist, and by this I mean that I wholeheartedly approve of attempts that are being made to improve the physical and mental condition and potential of the species. It will most likely result in a fragmented society, and apotheosis will no doubt be the goal for many.

It's a dangerous time, and these are without question dangerous technologies. The most dangerous aspect of it all, in my opinion, is that the benefits will not be made available to everyone at the same time. This means that we will have to pass through a phase where an elite will be made almost superhuman, whereas the rest of humanity will be left in their current, naturally evolved state.

Of course one could argue that this already happens in today's world, and a quick perusal of infant mortality/lifespan/deaths-due-to-disease statistics organised by nation would show that argument to be corrrect. I have more than a few moral problems with the current situation, and I don't see them going away as the technologies improve. :(
Vetalia
18-11-2007, 11:53
The problem is that some of those "anythings" empower unstable people to degrees I would prefer to not imagine, never mind actually see come to fruition.

I agree...the horrors of someone abusing science and technology for their own ends is probably about as inhuman and terrifying as it can get. This, of course is one reason why I am so active in discussing and educating people on the very real changes that will be happening in the near future. Otherwise, it will allow the same destructive cycle to repeat itself: a few people capable of using information asymmetry to oppress others and wield vast and terrible power for their own destructive ends.

As the cliche goes, knowledge is power, and that power can be used either to vastly improve the health, abilities, and future of mankind or used by people like Josef Mengele or Yuri Ovchinnikov* to inflict untold suffering on other people.


*(Ovchinnikov was the man responsible for the Soviet biological weapons program in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. His department was directly responsible for creating some of the most dangerous and most terrible biological and chemical weapons in existence.)
Vetalia
18-11-2007, 11:56
It's a dangerous time, and these are without question dangerous technologies. The most dangerous aspect of it all, in my opinion, is that the benefits will not be made available to everyone at the same time. This means that we will have to pass through a phase where an elite will be made almost superhuman, whereas the rest of humanity will be left in their current, naturally evolved state.

I'm not really concerned by that, simply due to the fact that technological adoption rates have accelerated over time, resulting in a much shorter amount of time between the early adopters and the mass market. That's not to say it isn't a risk; indeed, it would be foolish to think otherwise, but I do not believe we are likely to create an artificial elite due to a technology divide, even for a short while.

Of course, it is a risk...but that's what people like you and me are for. Somebody informed needs to keep an eye on things and blow the whistle if it appears there's a real risk of a problem.
Hayteria
18-11-2007, 15:30
So, recently I've heard of transhumanism, which, from what I understand, aims to turn humans into cyborgs or upload everyone into a matrix-like system so people's minds can 'live' forever.

Do any of you have a better definition of transhumanism?
What are your thoughts on transhumanism?
If you are transhumanist, why?
Well, given how death involves the loss of brain functions and in turn the loss of senses and therefore absolute blankness forever, I'd want to avoid that. But aside from my more selfish reasons, I also think living forever would mean an infinite potential to explore, and, assuming the robots our minds would be transferred to could communicate with living humans, we could share our gained knowledge and experiences with future generations, knowing that they won't just eventually become lost. This is why I'm looking at going into cryonics research; cryonics would be a stepping stone to an artificial afterlife.
UNITIHU
18-11-2007, 15:42
I would love to transcend humanity. I suppose I'm a transhumanist too.
Lunatic Goofballs
18-11-2007, 15:47
You guys will do almost anything to avoid wedgies, won't you? :p
Isidoor
18-11-2007, 16:04
meh, I don't really care about transhumanism. In limited forms it's ok (cybernetics to control a computer for instance). But uploading yourself or extreme genetic engineering etc seem very far fetched and dangerous considering how little we still know about stuff like that.
Gauthier
18-11-2007, 16:22
Individuality and idiosyncracies are what makes humans human. If the species as a whole modified themselves considerably from the origin through either cybernetics or genetic modification, they no longer deserve to bel called human.

Or here's a cute shorthand way of putting it:

Upgrade This! :upyours:

(Obscene Gesture optional.)
Trollgaard
18-11-2007, 16:37
Individuality and idiosyncracies are what makes humans human. If the species as a whole modified themselves considerably from the origin through either cybernetics or genetic modification, they no longer deserve to bel called human.

Or here's a cute shorthand way of putting it:

Upgrade This! :upyours:

(Obscene Gesture optional.)

That tends...no who am I kidding? That is my view as well. In people's mistaken crusade to 'perfect' themselves they will lose the essence of being human.
UNITIHU
18-11-2007, 16:45
That tends...no who am I kidding? That is my view as well. In people's mistaken crusade to 'perfect' themselves they will lose the essence of being human.

Is it necessarily a bad thing to stop being human? I don't think it is.
Sel Appa
18-11-2007, 17:16
Hawt.
Divine Imaginary Fluff
18-11-2007, 18:03
Individuality and idiosyncracies are what makes humans human. ...And in the future, people will be able to develop individuality and idiosyncrasies orders of magnitude larger than now.
Ifreann
18-11-2007, 18:10
Individuality and idiosyncracies are what makes humans human. If the species as a whole modified themselves considerably from the origin through either cybernetics or genetic modification, they no longer deserve to bel called human.

Or here's a cute shorthand way of putting it:

Upgrade This! :upyours:

(Obscene Gesture optional.)

That tends...no who am I kidding? That is my view as well. In people's mistaken crusade to 'perfect' themselves they will lose the essence of being human.

Isn't transcending humanity entirely the idea? As in, becoming something better than human? Saying that you'd no longer be human isn't much of a criticism.
Agerias
18-11-2007, 18:24
Transhumanism is bad, bad, bad!

REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO BABEL !!

*starts frothing at the mouth*
Ifreann
18-11-2007, 18:28
Transhumanism is bad, bad, bad!

REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO BABEL !!

*starts frothing at the mouth*

We just won't tell god about it this time.
Vittos the City Sacker
18-11-2007, 18:36
I'm a transhumanist. Transhumanism is the effort to improve humanity, either individually or collectively, using artificial means. The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god. In the short term, we seek to extend lifespans, eliminate susceptibility to disease, and improve the robustness of the human body.

Cybernetics is one route, as is Uploading, but do not discount Bionetics (the use of artificial biological implants), Nanetics (Nanotech ditto) and Genetic Engineering. Personally, I think we're going to try ALL of these methods - mankind is going to splinter into thousands of clades, all seeking their own method of Apotheosis.

Not exactly a controversial platform, it seems.
Vittos the City Sacker
18-11-2007, 18:37
That tends...no who am I kidding? That is my view as well. In people's mistaken crusade to 'perfect' themselves they will lose the essence of being human.

So we should value our own fuckups?
Julianus II
18-11-2007, 19:12
Transhumanism isn't just a possible future for humanity, it's the only future for humanity, ultimately. There will come a point when we will be unable to advance any farther without making significant changes to the human body.
At the rate we're going, I'd say we have about 2 or 3 centuries before "tranhumanization" becomes a realistic and viable option. Maybe even less.
Julianus II
18-11-2007, 19:14
That tends...no who am I kidding? That is my view as well. In people's mistaken crusade to 'perfect' themselves they will lose the essence of being human.

Which is wars, disease, famine, and shitty artwork. Primitiveness is not something to be valued.
Dododecapod
18-11-2007, 19:17
It's already happening. We're using primitive cybernetics in ears, as replacement limbs, and joint replacements. Gene therapies are being used for various diseases and conditions. And what is vaccination except boosting the immune system against a specific disease?
Gauthier
19-11-2007, 05:03
Isn't transcending humanity entirely the idea? As in, becoming something better than human? Saying that you'd no longer be human isn't much of a criticism.

Transcending humanity's current state without abadoning what makes it distinctly human in the first place is what's the problem. The biggest theoretical danger is that mankind is overzealous to achieve transcendence or get the idea that it involves the homogenization and melding of human identity and awareness into a single uniform ideal.

Cybermen, Borg, and Man from Joe Haldeman's Forever series of novels are merely allegorical warnings of the dangers of transhumanism run rampant and unchecked but given considerable advances in technology, their caution may someday become more and more valid.
Bann-ed
19-11-2007, 05:09
I'm just a human, thank you very much.
Palamo
19-11-2007, 05:11
As a fellow transhumanist, Dodecapod nailed the definition pretty well. It's based on a desire to use technology to enhance the abilities of mankind as well as build a sustainable economy for the benefit of all sentients in our society. Sentients, of course, covering all minds capable of thinking and feeling regardless of who they are or what they are made of. To me, that would even include many species such as primates, dolphins, elephants, and other non-human organisms capable of thought.

Of course, there are various variants of the philosophy. I myself am a transhumanist that also espouses techno-utopian concepts in addition to the overall desire to enhance mankind.

I too am a transhumanist , but simply by the fact that'd i'd like to see humans become more like they are meant too (yes with tran humanism werewolves and vampires atleast in the fact of being human animal hybrids it is possible). Maybe not gods bt atleast increased strenght and speed and reflexes and inmunity against dissease
Pirated Corsairs
19-11-2007, 05:15
We just won't tell god about it this time.

God is dead anyway, so he can't do anything this time.
Palamo
19-11-2007, 05:19
Is it necessarily a bad thing to stop being human? I don't think it is.

this deserves a big owned

and no being human IS the problem fixing that is cool
Soheran
19-11-2007, 05:21
So it's not enough that we fuck up our environment, our societies, our lifestyles... we have to fuck up our very nature, too?

No, thanks.
Palamo
19-11-2007, 05:28
So it's not enough that we fuck up our environment, our societies, our lifestyles... we have to fuck up our very nature, too?

No, thanks.
since when is better fucking up unless your chavez?
Oakondra
19-11-2007, 05:31
I believe in bringing humanity to a further stage, but not by artificial means. Nor is my idea of a better humanity probably in touch with some of the more liberal views around here.
Soheran
19-11-2007, 05:34
since when is better fucking up

Since "better" became the excuse of choice for every kind of exploitation, destruction, and unfreedom.

Transhumanists want us to believe that technologically messing with our natures will make us "better." I doubt it. I suggest instead that at the very least it would not bring us any closer to living truly decent lives (unless we warped our very desires... maybe we could make ourselves love servitude and boredom?) and that quite likely it would have highly negative results... like so many of our technological developments already have.
Bann-ed
19-11-2007, 05:37
since when is better fucking up unless your chavez?

Better in what sense?
Who knows what the results of the Industrial Revolution will be, or the discovery of nuclear power.
The Brevious
19-11-2007, 06:27
The problem with God is his apparent need to smite the unworthy.

I beseech thee, rise up against them, smite someone who deserves it for once.
:D
Vetalia
19-11-2007, 06:32
:D

God I loved that episode...
Trollgaard
19-11-2007, 12:43
Since "better" became the excuse of choice for every kind of exploitation, destruction, and unfreedom.

Transhumanists want us to believe that technologically messing with our natures will make us "better." I doubt it. I suggest instead that at the very least it would not bring us any closer to living truly decent lives (unless we warped our very desires... maybe we could make ourselves love servitude and boredom?) and that quite likely it would have highly negative results... like so many of our technological developments already have.

Nicely put. If you look at history, from the dawn of agriculture and civilization, and advanced technology, you'll see that human freedom, happiness, and equality have gone down the toilet. Along with the environment. I don't see why people think that adding even more of the problem will make things better.
Ifreann
19-11-2007, 12:52
Since "better" became the excuse of choice for every kind of exploitation, destruction, and unfreedom.

Transhumanists want us to believe that technologically messing with our natures will make us "better." I doubt it. I suggest instead that at the very least it would not bring us any closer to living truly decent lives (unless we warped our very desires... maybe we could make ourselves love servitude and boredom?) and that quite likely it would have highly negative results... like so many of our technological developments already have.

Is that the fault of the technological developments themselves, or the people who used them? Would people somehow stop being total bastards to each other just because they don't have computers and cell phones?
Vetalia
19-11-2007, 13:09
Nicely put. If you look at history, from the dawn of agriculture and civilization, and advanced technology, you'll see that human freedom, happiness, and equality have gone down the toilet. Along with the environment. I don't see why people think that adding even more of the problem will make things better.

The primary flaw with this argument is: where did it come from? It's not like technology magically caused these problems to appear; it's clear that the problems associated with the development of civilization and technology have their origins in the period before the development of these things and only developed further once it became possible to do so.

The myth of the noble savage is just that: a myth. Humans were not a big happy family in the time before civilization; barbarism in the form of human sacrifice, war, murder, rape, theft, pillaging, tyranny, you name it, all the evils that exist today all existed before civilization. They might have been more "egalitarian", but that was not out of some admiration for freedom or equality, merely the need to survive. The only difference between us and them was that during prehistory human populations were small and so these things happened less often simply out of low density; it wasn't due to a more peaceful "Happiness" is ultimately irrelevant because it's a completely subjective concept; a hunter-gatherer would not be happy in a modern agricultural civilization and vice versa. In addition, other 'advantages' of hunter-gatherer civilization are irrelevant because of subjectivity; more leisure time doesn't mean a whole lot because people want to work longer to have more things. If they want fewer things, they can always work less; nobody forces you to buy a TV, or a car, or a computer, or a house or anything else. You're completely capable of making these decisions on your own. However, these things make people happy, and so they work to acquire them; a more material culture wants more material things, and a less material culture wants fewer. Quite frankly, I like having stuff, and I like my job, so I'm willing to work to get what I want even if it means less time to enjoy it.

Are there things to learn from our prehistory and from modern hunter-gatherer cultures? Of course; quite simply, they have a knowledge base of sustainable living concepts that we should definitely learn from. But that doesn't mean their model is either the best, the most efficient, or the most lasting. The thing is, civilization is the best at what it does: enabling humans to greatly enhance their chances of survival and reproduction.
Vetalia
19-11-2007, 13:10
Is that the fault of the technological developments themselves, or the people who used them? Would people somehow stop being total bastards to each other just because they don't have computers and cell phones?

Hell no. Violence and cruelty have existed as long as life itself...the only difference is that there's nobody to protect you from violence once you're out in the wild.
Trollgaard
19-11-2007, 13:21
Hell no. Violence and cruelty have existed as long as life itself...the only difference is that there's nobody to protect you from violence once you're out in the wild.

The rest of your band...

And violence didn't happen every day, contrary to popular belief. There were raids and feuds, but no 'tyrants', as no one person could force others to follow him. Leaders could only persuade, until the advent of civilization.
Vetalia
19-11-2007, 13:23
The rest of your band...

Unless you're unlucky enough to be on your own. Which is pretty likely if you're a hunter.

And violence didn't happen every day, contrary to popular belief. There were raids and feuds, but no 'tyrants', as no one person could force others to follow him. Leaders could only persuade, until the advent of civilization.

Violence doesn't happen every day everywhere now, either. The only reason it may have occurred less often is due to lower population densities; when rival tribes met, there was quite likely going to be violence, and violence happened within bands as well.

Also, there were nonegalitarian societies prior to agriculture and civilization. They existed in places where food supplies were not abundant enough or regular enough for year round foraging and so food had to be stored for the longer term as a precaution against famine. It was these same groups that were among the first to adopt agriculture.
Mirkai
19-11-2007, 13:30
So, recently I've heard of transhumanism, which, from what I understand, aims to turn humans into cyborgs or upload everyone into a matrix-like system so people's minds can 'live' forever.

Do any of you have a better definition of transhumanism?
What are your thoughts on transhumanism?
If you are transhumanist, why?

I want to be a cyborg. Because all the people I hate, like preachy religious nuts, would be against it, and it would be totally awesome to lord over them with my giant robot arm.

Also, I find digitigrade metal legs extremely, extremely sexy.
Trollgaard
19-11-2007, 13:34
Unless you're unlucky enough to be on your own. Which is pretty likely if you're a hunter.



Violence doesn't happen every day everywhere now, either. The only reason it may have occurred less often is due to lower population densities; when rival tribes met, there was quite likely going to be violence, and violence happened within bands as well.

Also, there were nonegalitarian societies prior to agriculture and civilization. They existed in places where food supplies were not abundant enough or regular enough for year round foraging and so food had to be stored for the longer term as a precaution against famine. It was these same groups that were among the first to adopt agriculture.

Violence or marriage. Bands usually kept of friendly terms with other bands so members of each band could marry outside their own band- to prevent inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity. Bands membership was also not stable. People left bands to join other bands (at least in some societies) routinely. Why, in Alaska inland tribes kept a trading partner with a member from a coastal tribe, who they kept in friendly contact with, and each person could depend on the other for support.

Most societies regarded sharing as the prime virtue, as it cemented social bonds and insured everyone had food, and provided stability.
Ifreann
19-11-2007, 13:35
The rest of your band...

And violence didn't happen every day, contrary to popular belief. There were raids and feuds, but no 'tyrants', as no one person could force others to follow him. Leaders could only persuade, until the advent of civilization.
So it was physically impossible to use coersion of any form until the advent of civilisation?
I want to be a cyborg. Because all the people I hate, like preachy religious nuts, would be against it, and it would be totally awesome to lord over them with my giant robot arm.

Also, I find digitigrade metal legs extremely, extremely sexy.

I can think of other giant robot appendages that they might be more offended by, if that's your goal ;)
Violence or marriage. Bands usually kept of friendly terms with other bands so members of each band could marry outside their own band- to prevent inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity.
Very unlikely, since this was centuries before the discovery of genes.
Trollgaard
19-11-2007, 13:40
So it was physically impossible to use coersion of any form until the advent of civilisation?


I can think of other giant robot appendages that they might be more offended by, if that's your goal ;)

Very unlikely, since this was centuries before the discovery of genes.

I'm sure there was some coersion, but a leader could not become a dictator like Hitler, Mugabe, or a king/emperor.

People may not have known about genes, but they knew about inbreeding- and developed social taboos against it. People marrying into other groups also brought the two groups closer together.
Lalisima
19-11-2007, 14:42
So, recently I've heard of transhumanism, which, from what I understand, aims to turn humans into cyborgs or upload everyone into a matrix-like system so people's minds can 'live' forever.

Do any of you have a better definition of transhumanism?
What are your thoughts on transhumanism?
If you are transhumanist, why?

No, you kinda got it. Gene manipulation is a part of it too.

I am all for it. HUman nature hasn't taken us very far.
Der Angst
19-11-2007, 14:53
Somewhat off-topic...

Trollgaard, aren't you meant to enjoy the Canadian Winter in the Wild (http://forums.jolt.co.uk/showthread.php?t=536264), rather than sitting in front of your computer and typing away?

I see you singing the song of the evils of technology all the time. But you appear to lack the balls needed to prove your point by actually doing what you're alleging is right.
Soheran
19-11-2007, 21:46
Is that the fault of the technological developments themselves

Who cares?

We obviously haven't even begun to solve the basic social problems that ensure that technological developments will be misused, so even if we can somehow use such developments positively, that's no argument for transhumanism right now (or ever, within the framework of present society.)
Dyakovo
19-11-2007, 21:51
The end goal of transhumanism, in as much as there can be said to be one, is to make man into god.

Done it already
*bows head in prayer over alter of Lunatic Goofballs*
Pirated Corsairs
19-11-2007, 21:56
I'm generally for the idea, but I don't want to make myself into a god...
I rather like existing, after all. :p
Kontor
19-11-2007, 22:00
I want to be a cyborg. Because all the people I hate, like preachy religious nuts, would be against it, and it would be totally awesome to lord over them with my giant robot arm.

Also, I find digitigrade metal legs extremely, extremely sexy.

I wouldnt care in the slightest if you want to mutilate yourself, as long as you don't hurt anyone.
Ultraviolent Radiation
19-11-2007, 22:13
I definitely want to be enhanced, but I don't want to look mechanical. I want to look normal, but with perfect fitness, agelessness, resilience to the elements, blah blah.
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 01:34
I want to be a space ship. A giant, capital class cruiser. Like HAL, but I actually AM the ship, rather than a component.

That would be pretty amazing, really. I mean, shit...you're a goddamn capital ship. Not many people can claim that on their resume.
UNITIHU
20-11-2007, 01:35
I definitely want to be enhanced, but I don't want to look mechanical. I want to look normal, but with perfect fitness, agelessness, resilience to the elements, blah blah.

I want to be a space ship. A giant, capital class cruiser. Like HAL, but I actually AM the ship, rather than a component.
Soheran
20-11-2007, 04:24
Better has been the excuse for everything, therefore this means nothing.

Precisely my point. The fact that transhumanism's advocates say its purpose is to "better" humanity is irrelevant.
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 04:25
Since "better" became the excuse of choice for every kind of exploitation, destruction, and unfreedom.

Better has been the excuse for everything, therefore this means nothing.

EDIT: All action, (all idea, maybe) has been based on "better".
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 04:29
The primary flaw with this argument is: where did it come from? It's not like technology magically caused these problems to appear; it's clear that the problems associated with the development of civilization and technology have their origins in the period before the development of these things and only developed further once it became possible to do so.


They come from scarcity.

Something only technology can deal with.
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 04:40
Precisely my point. The fact that transhumanism's advocates say its purpose is to "better" humanity is irrelevant.

It is neither a positive or negative.

What is substantial is the argument and technology itself, which really hasn't been addressed.
South Lizasauria
20-11-2007, 05:58
AS we all well know humans are prone to eror and screw up most of the time and only find out when it's too late. If we try to modify our bodies (being humans who always screw things up and make mistakes) we might end up like this (http://www.inkycircus.com/photos/uncategorized/crazy_chicken.jpg) or even scarier...this (http://www.moviezine.se/filmbilder/033/pans_labyrinth.jpg) Or ghost in the shell might happen and all our brains will be as easy to hack as a myspace account and I know we don't want that.

BEWARE!!!!


DUNNNNNN DUNNNNN DUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9b/Mad_scientist_transparent_background.svg/641px-Mad_scientist_transparent_background.svg.png
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 06:01
They come from scarcity.

Something only technology can deal with.

Exactly.
Soyut
20-11-2007, 06:05
I mean, isn't just about everybody in favor of improving humanity? Transhumanism is just a word that sounds gay.
South Lizasauria
20-11-2007, 06:08
I mean, isn't just about everybody in favor of improving humanity? Transhumanism is just a word that sounds gay.

TRANSHUMANOIDS AWAY!!!!

Sounds kinda like the human version of transformers.

Lets let politicians be the Deceptionicons. :p
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 06:09
I mean, isn't just about everybody in favor of improving humanity? Transhumanism is just a word that sounds gay.

I personally use the term "human enhancement" myself, and the surrounding philosophy that supports this kind of technological future "techno-utopian libertarianism". Transhumanism, IMHO, carries too much of an Übermensch feel to it that I don't particularly like, so I prefer to avoid using it when describing my own personal opinions. The thing is, I'm not seeking to transcend humanity, I'm seeking to improve it; there is no "better" than human in my book.

Not to mention it sounds cooler. The more words I use to describe it, the less difficult it is to provide filler when I need to meet a word quota on an essay.
Soheran
20-11-2007, 06:15
They come from scarcity.

Relative. Not absolute.

Something only technology can deal with.

And yet so far has failed miserably.
Soyut
20-11-2007, 06:20
TRANSHUMANOIDS AWAY!!!!

Sounds kinda like the human version of transformers.

Lets let politicians be the Deceptionicons. :p

lol you win
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 06:26
Relative. Not absolute.

Relative is what matters, though.

And yet so far has failed miserably.

Has it? The amount of work we need to do to sustain ourselves is minuscule compared to the amount we do to buy discretionary luxuries. A couple hours of work tops per week to keep ourselves alive; everything else is nothing more than luxuries. Technology has eliminated absolutely material scarcity for a huge chunk of the world's population, a chunk that has only gotten bigger over time and now compromises almost all of the world's population.
Modravia
20-11-2007, 06:29
Haven't we been improving the human condition using science and technology for the past few millenia anyway? It's not necessarily called transhumanism, it's just called technological progress. However, in an objective analysis of it, the whole idealistic concept of the Singularity and a "perfect" techno-utopia does seem a tad too religious. Furthermore, it's just not practical, that's the real issue at hand, in my opinion.

Also, concerning the comment on the whole Nietzschean √úbermensch feel, what's the matter, Vetalia, genes inferior?

:p

Das ist a yoke, ja?
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 06:36
Haven't we been improving the human condition using science and technology for the past few millenia anyway? It's not necessarily called transhumanism, it's just called technological progress. However, in an objective analysis of it, the whole idealistic concept of the Singularity and a "perfect" techno-utopia does seem a tad too religious. Furthermore, it's just not practical, that's the real issue at hand, in my opinion.

Well, I don't think anybody believes in a perfect utopia; rather, a state of affairs far better than anything that has existed in human history. Of course, one could argue that we've always been moving towards that step, and beyond this there will always be something higher to strive for...after all, utopia literally does mean nowhere. Personally, I believe that a Singularity-like concept will occur, although it's not likely to be the kind of end-times event many people make it out to be. It'll just be a period of much, much faster technological and social change.

Also, concerning the comment on the whole Nietzschean Übermensch feel, what's the matter, Vetalia, genes inferior?

:p

Das ist a yoke, ja?

Naturlich...das ist ein Witz. :p

Actually, though, I'll find that out in a couple years once I've scrounged up the $1,000 (more likely to be around $500 or so by then) to have my genome sequenced and analyzed. I could do it now, but I've got some other purchases to make beforehand.
Modravia
20-11-2007, 06:37
Speaking of transhumanism and the Singularity, anyone here read the webcomic Dresden Codak?
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 06:49
Relative. Not absolute.

Why is that a relevant distinction here?

There is inherent conflict whether there exists a possibility of substitution or not.

In fact, where there is absolute scarcity there is a far greater risk of conflict and domination than where there is relative scarcity.

Absolute scarcity arises when there is some good we must have, or when there is some good that cannot be produced by foregoing some other good. Technology and science are the only methods available to us that can convert absolute scarcity into relative scarcity by either changing what we need or what methods are available to produce before goods that before lacked substitutability.

And yet so far has failed miserably.

Nonsense, the whole of technological progress has been the lessening of the pressure to fulfill elementary needs. (albeit replaced with an increase in the pressure to fulfill imaginary needs, I would like to see how technology is responsible for that)
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 06:52
Actually, though, I'll find that out in a couple years once I've scrounged up the $1,000 (more likely to be around $500 or so by then) to have my genome sequenced and analyzed. I could do it now, but I've got some other purchases to make beforehand.

What?
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 07:02
What?

http://www.wired.com/medtech/genetics/magazine/15-12/ff_genomics

A bundle of startups are offering these kinds of services, and they'll only get cheaper as the raw processing power behind them continues to drop exponentially in price. The age of genomics and personalized medicine, as well as the $1,000 genome, are here...and pretty rapidly too, given the human genome was only finished in 2003. Of course, there are still a few practical issues to work out, as with any new technology, but the primary point is that people are now able to sequence and keep a record of their genome available. Not only that, but the companies are also keeping this database up-to-date so that you can see any new discoveries in genetics.

There's a big prize out there for the first $100 genome, which I would say is going to be here pretty soon if current trends are any indication. Now, once that becomes available, it'll really take off, becoming a procedure as routine as any other test.
New Neko
20-11-2007, 08:02
Transhumanism is a logical progression of the study of cybernetics & nanotech where they go one step beyond a simple replacement and actually upgrade the individual beyond the normal human range of abilities.

I can see no problem with the idea of transhumanism but I do not see it becoming widely available any time soon since it is still in the early development/concept stage at this point in time.
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 08:39
I can see no problem with the idea of transhumanism but I do not see it becoming widely available any time soon since it is still in the early development/concept stage at this point in time.

Well, actually...the thing is, R&D and market adoption rates are also speeding up considerably, so it takes less time for a product or service to get from the drawing board to the actual consumer market.

If anything, it will be the FDA approval stage that will constitute the bulk of work in this regard.
United Anarcho-Project
20-11-2007, 10:49
I like my human body with all its flaws, thank you very much. And when I die (as I will), at the very least I will have lived a full life.

This fear of death demonstrated by the transhuman philosophy is utterly irrational. Why does anyone want to live forever? What is this phase of the human development path that worships youth as we do today? It almost seems as though the transhuman philosophy is tied with the culture that deifies ageing. This youth worship is a phase, and so is the transhuman philosophy.

Honestly, why does the youth that think up this nonsense want to live forever? To watch the latest movies, play the latest games? This fetishism of immortality is... childish to say the very least. If it's not Jesus and the holy grail, the fountain of youth, or Rician vampires, it has to be something else. The fact is, by stripping human kind from the physical body and placing it in a main frame, or a cybog-like body, or any number of the possibilities set forth is simply alienating the unique experience that is being human. It's a high technology fantasy to be one with some tool. (In deed, the computer is a tool for enterprise and entertainment - not a means for being transcendence.) When the computer turns off for me, it's off. I tend not to think about it and am happy with that fact.

I enjoy the smells my nose experiences after the first rain, I love feeling the change in barometric atmospheric pressure, I appreciate mutual human touch, I adore the wind in my hair, the sand at my feet, the grass on my back. All these things that simply won't really exist in the same manner in the theoretical post-human world. That fact remains, and it is simply demented to believe that the absence of those sensory experiences is bettering human kind.

By transcending the physical, we shall lose entirely too much experience. Transcending the physical in the ways put forth are simply not worth the price of what we as humans shall lose. Nevermind the theoretical power consumption necessary to bring such asinine ideas to fruition. What about maintenance? Without maintenance the end result remains; death. This is of course without the experience of actually living. It is one thing to augment an individual with a prosthetic heart, or hand, or whatever. The fact remains, however, that the person in question is still alive. They cry, laugh, breath, and feel. This is human.

Transhumanism may be worthwhile should the earth become uninhabitable due to our constant pollution output. But, for me, even then I would prefer death. Living inside of a machine is simply not an option for me.

You may do whatever you please. I simply do not want a part in your deluded infantile philosophy.
Vetalia
20-11-2007, 12:07
Well, UAP, that's an interesting argument and one many of whose concerns I share, even if we lie on completely different sides of the discussion. However, your situation reflects more of what transhumanists fear about potential futures than what we believe the future should look like. My goal isn't to destroy sensation or emotion, but to broaden and enhance them, to add the knowledge and engineering that only a conscious mind can produce to the tools developed by evolution. In other words, overcoming our biological constraints at the same time that we celebrate and improve upon them. Making things better does not involve destroying them.

To put it in clearly, I want to humanize machines, not mechanize humans (at least in the sense of not destroying those things that make us human...bionics and mechanical implants are a great idea) and develop a symbiotic relationship with them that shares in the benefits of both, not subverting one below the other. I highly doubt there is anyone who would consider stripping people of their humanity and replacing it with something akin to the machines of today; that would be a colossal step backward, completely destroying a remarkable and meaningful achievement in favor of a far less efficient and far less desirable model. Why destroy one of nature's most beautifully complex and efficient machines in favor of an inferior copy? Rather, apply what we know about man to the machine, and then use that as a way to redesign ourselves according to our own desires.

Mind you, it will be desirable to create a system for uploading and transferring consciousness (especially if we want to experience multiple states of existence), but that system wouldn't be the be-all end all unless there really was no other option to preserve ourselves and the knowledge we've accrued. Otherwise, it would stifle new progress and learning in favor of trapping us in a world of our own invention, one where there is no mystery that is yet to be discovered. That would be a terrible future, one that would subvert our goal of learning and discovering knowledge about ourselves and our world and preserving it for the use of mankind. "Transhumanism" (a word, as I've said before, I'm not much of a fan of), is rooted deeply in that desire to explore what lies beyond the comfortable borders of our current world, and is in many ways the modern form of the same wanderlust that motivated scholars. traders, explorers and anyone else whose lives were consumed by this desire to learn and to improve themselves for the good of both themselves and the community.

But here's another question: why should people accept things as they are, including death? If they aren't ready to die, it is cruel to take away their ability to achieve what they want in life before they have a chance to complete their goals. Allowing people to live as long as they want in good health is a noble and moral aim that grants the ultimate freedom, the freedom to truly shape your life from beginning to end, even if you don't plan to have an end in mind. Are there economic problems with this? Of course, but given that the rise in human lifespan throughout human history also catalyzed the development of the technologies and cultural changes needed to overcome it in the past, it's not likely to pose any more challenge now than it did 100,000, 10,000, 1,000 or 100 years ago. If a person aged 100 is a repository of wisdom and learning, simply imagine what kind of insight a person aged 1,000 could provide. They would not only have seen the world over the span of several generations, but perhaps even several lineages. Even the evolution of an entire culture could be witnessed by a person of this age, enabling them to think on timescales that are completely alien to people today. The goal of life extension isn't even "youth", although certainly some people may desire such, but rather it's optimal health; obviously, I'd prefer to halt aging at some age between 20 and 40 due to this being the most practical for health and economic reasons, but I am not motivated by a desire to be young again.
Ifreann
20-11-2007, 12:42
Who cares?

We obviously haven't even begun to solve the basic social problems that ensure that technological developments will be misused, so even if we can somehow use such developments positively, that's no argument for transhumanism right now (or ever, within the framework of present society.)
Which is no reason not to support transhumanism/human enhancement/whatever. Just because it wouldn't work now doesn't mean it never will.
Precisely my point. The fact that transhumanism's advocates say its purpose is to "better" humanity is irrelevant.

The entire purpose of transhumanism is irrelevant to a discussion about transhumanism?
Vittos the City Sacker
20-11-2007, 16:30
I like my human body with all its flaws, thank you very much. And when I die (as I will), at the very least I will have lived a full life.

Bullshit, no one likes flaws, that is why they are called flaws. If they were what we desired we would call them strengths.

Also, I don't know why the general argument is that transhumanists want to make us resistant to cancer and unable to pet kittens.

Assuming that transhumanists do not believe that people should be made to undergo these changes, it will still be personal human values governing the changes.
New Ziedrich
20-11-2007, 23:55
I support this transhumanist stuff. Those who are against it don't have to participate, but they shouldn't try to stop the rest of us from pursuing our goals; that's just rude.
Vittos the City Sacker
21-11-2007, 01:59
The entire purpose of transhumanism is irrelevant to a discussion about transhumanism?

No, that the purpose is to make humanity "better" is irrelevant, it is what constitutes "better" that is relevant.

As I said, since "better" is behind all human action (and maybe ideas), better is just left unsaid. Soheran seems to be taking that a step further and saying that whenever a blanket use of "better" is actually used, it is to mask nefarious means and/or ends.
Palamo
28-11-2007, 01:16
I like my human body with all its flaws, thank you very much. And when I die (as I will), at the very least I will have lived a full life.

This fear of death demonstrated by the transhuman philosophy is utterly irrational. Why does anyone want to live forever? What is this phase of the human development path that worships youth as we do today? It almost seems as though the transhuman philosophy is tied with the culture that deifies ageing. This youth worship is a phase, and so is the transhuman philosophy.

Honestly, why does the youth that think up this nonsense want to live forever? To watch the latest movies, play the latest games? This fetishism of immortality is... childish to say the very least. If it's not Jesus and the holy grail, the fountain of youth, or Rician vampires, it has to be something else. The fact is, by stripping human kind from the physical body and placing it in a main frame, or a cybog-like body, or any number of the possibilities set forth is simply alienating the unique experience that is being human. It's a high technology fantasy to be one with some tool. (In deed, the computer is a tool for enterprise and entertainment - not a means for being transcendence.) When the computer turns off for me, it's off. I tend not to think about it and am happy with that fact.

I enjoy the smells my nose experiences after the first rain, I love feeling the change in barometric atmospheric pressure, I appreciate mutual human touch, I adore the wind in my hair, the sand at my feet, the grass on my back. All these things that simply won't really exist in the same manner in the theoretical post-human world. That fact remains, and it is simply demented to believe that the absence of those sensory experiences is bettering human kind.

By transcending the physical, we shall lose entirely too much experience. Transcending the physical in the ways put forth are simply not worth the price of what we as humans shall lose. Nevermind the theoretical power consumption necessary to bring such asinine ideas to fruition. What about maintenance? Without maintenance the end result remains; death. This is of course without the experience of actually living. It is one thing to augment an individual with a prosthetic heart, or hand, or whatever. The fact remains, however, that the person in question is still alive. They cry, laugh, breath, and feel. This is human.

Transhumanism may be worthwhile should the earth become uninhabitable due to our constant pollution output. But, for me, even then I would prefer death. Living inside of a machine is simply not an option for me.

You may do whatever you please. I simply do not want a part in your deluded infantile philosophy.
ah your ignorance shows
greeks idea of beauty was an eternally youthful body you calling them fools? and their was not a pace was a whole idea that ruled a society
Gauthier
28-11-2007, 03:08
ah your ignorance shows
greeks idea of beauty was an eternally youthful body you calling them fools? and their was not a pace was a whole idea that ruled a society

Of course the Greek idea of beauty was synonymous with immortality. Which had nothing to do with having their brains stuffed into a metal shell, or any such biomechanical alterations and mutations.
Trollgaard
28-11-2007, 03:13
Of course the Greek idea of beauty was synonymous with immortality. Which had nothing to do with having their brains stuffed into a metal shell, or any such biomechanical alterations and mutations.

Very true.
Vetalia
28-11-2007, 07:12
Of course the Greek idea of beauty was synonymous with immortality. Which had nothing to do with having their brains stuffed into a metal shell, or any such biomechanical alterations and mutations.

Which, of course, is why transhumanism doesn't focus solely on biomechanical sources of youth and longevity...biology's pretty damn good at making things that work very, very well, and it makes a lot more sense to try to use biology to extend its own longevity than to replace it.

Not that biomechanical devices have no use; rather, they will have a host of uses, since there are some things for which biological organisms just aren't well suited, but they won't be the be-all end-all of human change and improvement. Well, at least they wouldn't be if I were making the decisions...but I'm not, at least not in any meaningful sense. For some reason, a lot people are obsessed with either total rejection of biology or total acceptance of it, rather than seeing the middle ground for the good idea it is. I'd definitely get some cybernetic implants to enhance intelligence, but I'd hesitate at abandoning my human body for something else without good reason. It's not exactly one of those things you can take back once you've decided...well, at least not practically.
Lacadaemon
28-11-2007, 07:22
Of course the Greek idea of beauty was synonymous with immortality.

No it wasn't. Stop making things up.