transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics …

The movements adherents tend to be libertarian and employed in high technology or in academia. Its principal proponents have been prominent technologists like American computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil and scientists like Austrian-born Canadian computer scientist and roboticist Hans Moravec and American nanotechnology researcher Eric Drexler, with the addition of a small but influential contingent of thinkers such as American philosopher James Hughes and Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom. The movement has evolved since its beginnings as a loose association of groups dedicated to extropianism (a philosophy devoted to the transcendence of human limits). Transhumanism is principally divided between adherents of two visions of post-humanityone in which technological and genetic improvements have created a distinct species of radically enhanced humans and the other in which greater-than-human machine intelligence emerges.

The membership of the transhumanist movement tends to split in an additional way. One prominent strain of transhumanism argues that social and cultural institutionsincluding national and international governmental organizationswill be largely irrelevant to the trajectory of technological development. Market forces and the nature of technological progress will drive humanity to approximately the same end point regardless of social and cultural influences. That end point is often referred to as the singularity, a metaphor drawn from astrophysics and referring to the point of hyperdense material at the centre of a black hole which generates its intense gravitational pull. Among transhumanists, the singularity is understood as the point at which artificial intelligence surpasses that of humanity, which will allow the convergence of human and machine consciousness. That convergence will herald the increase in human consciousness, physical strength, emotional well-being, and overall health and greatly extend the length of human lifetimes.

The second strain of transhumanism holds a contrasting view, that social institutions (such as religion, traditional notions of marriage and child rearing, and Western perspectives of freedom) not only can influence the trajectory of technological development but could ultimately retard or halt it. Bostrom and British philosopher David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association in 1998 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with those social institutions to promote and guide the development of human-enhancement technologies and to combat those social forces seemingly dedicated to halting such technological progress.

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transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics ...

What is transhumanism, or, what does it mean to be human …

What does it mean to be human? Biology has a simple answer: If your DNA is consistent with Homo sapiens, you are human but we all know that humanity is a lot more complex and nuanced than that. Other schools of science might classify humans by their sociological or psychological behavior, but again we know that actually being human is more than just the sum of our thoughts and actions.You can also look at being human as a sliding scale. If you were to build a human from scratch, from the bottom up, at some point you cross the threshold into humanity if you believe in evolution, at some point we ceased being a great ape and became human. Likewise, if you slowly remove parts from a human, you cross the threshold into inhumanity. Again, though, we run into the same problem: How do we codify, classify, and ratify what actually makes us human?

Does adding empathy make us human? Does removing the desire to procreate make us inhuman? If I physically alter my brain to behave in a different, non-standard way, am I still human? If I have all my limbs removed and my head spliced onto a robot, am I still human? (See: Upgrade your ears: Elective auditory implants give you cyborg hearing.)At first glance these questions might sound inflammatory and hyperbolic, or perhaps surreal and sci-fi, but dont be fooled: In the next decade, given the continued acceleration of computer technology and biomedicine, we will be forced to confront these questions and attempt to find some answers.

Transhumanism is a cultural and intellectual movement that believes we can, and should, improve the human condition through the use of advanced technologies. One of the core concepts in transhumanist thinking is life extension: Through genetic engineering, nanotech, cloning, and other emerging technologies, eternal life may soon be possible. Likewise, transhumanists are interested in the ever-increasing number of technologies that can boost our physical, intellectual, and psychological capabilities beyond what humans are naturally capable of (thus the term transhuman). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), for example, which speeds up reaction times and learning speed by running a very weak electric current through your brain, has already been used by the US military to train snipers. On the more extreme side, transhumanism deals with the concepts of mind uploading (to a computer), and what happens when we finally craft a computer with greater-than-human intelligence (the technological singularity). (See: How to create a mind, or die trying.)

Beyond the obvious benefits of eternal life or superhuman strength, transhumanism also investigates the potential dangers and ethical pitfalls of human enhancement. In the case of life extension, if every human on Earth suddenly stopped dying, overpopulation would trigger a very rapid and very dramatic socioeconomic disaster. Unless we stopped giving birth to babies, of course, but that merely rips open another can of worms: Without birth and death, would society and humanity continue to grow and evolve, or would it stagnate, suffocated by the accumulated ego of intellectuals and demagogues who just will not die? Likewise, if only the rich have access to intelligence- and strength-boosting drugs and technologies, what would happen to society? Should everyone have the right to boost their intellect? Would society still operate smoothly if everyone had an IQ of 300 and five doctorate degrees?

As you can see, things get complicated quickly when discussing transhumanist ideas and life extension and augmented intelligence and strength are just the tip of the iceberg! This philosophical and ethical complexity stems from the fact that transhumanism is all about fusing humans with technology and technology is advancing, improving, and breaking new ground very, very quickly. Humans have always used technology, of course our ability to use tools and grasp concepts such as science and physics are what set us apart from other animals but never has society been so intrinsically linked and underpinned by it. As we have seen in just the last few years, with the advent of the smartphone and ubiquitous high-speed mobile networks, just a handful of new technologies now have the power to completely change how we interact with the the world and people around us.

Humans, on the other hand, and the civilizations that they build, move relatively slowly. It took us millions of years to discover language, and thousands more to discover medicine and the scientific method. In the few thousand years since, up until the last century or so, we doubled the human life span, but neurology and physiology were impenetrable black boxes.In just the last 100 years, weve doubled our life span again, created bionic eyes and powered exoskeletons, begun to understand how the human brain actually works, and started to make serious headway with boosting intellectual and physical prowess. Weve already mentioned how tDCS is being used to boost cranial capacity, and as weve seen in recent years, sportspeople have definitely shown the efficacy of physical doping.

It is due to this jarring juxtaposition the historical slowness of human and societal evolution vs. the breakneck pace of modern technology that many find transhumanism to be unpalatable. After all, as Ive described it here, transhumanism is almost the very definition of unnatural. Youre quite within your rights to find transhumanism a bit, well, weird. And it is weird, dont get me wrong but so are most emerging technologies. Do you think that your great grandparents werent wigged out by the first television sets? Before it garnered the name television, one of its inventors gave it the rather spooky name of distant electric vision. Can you imagine the wariness in which passengers approached the first steam trains? Vast mechanical beasts that could pull hundreds of tons and moved far faster than the humble but state-of-the-art horse and carriage.

The uneasiness that surround new, paradigm-shifting technologies isnt new, and it has only been amplified by the exponential acceleration of technology that has occurred during our lifetime. If you were born 500 years ago, odds are that you wouldnt experience a single societal-shifting technology in your lifetime today, a 40 year old will have lived through the creation of the PC, the internet, the smartphone, and brain implants, to name just a few life-changing technologies. It is unsettling, to say the least, to have the rug repeatedly pulled out from under you, especially when its your livelihood at stake. Just think about how many industries and jobs have been obliterated or subsumed by the arrival of the digital computer, and its easy to see why were wary of transhumanist technologies that will change the very fabric of human civilization.

The good news, though, is that humans are almost infinitely adaptable. While you or I might balk at the idea of a brain-computer interface that allows us to download our memories to a PC, and perhaps upload new memories a la The Matrix, our children who can use smartphones at the age of 24 months, and communicate chiefly through digital means will probably think nothing of it. For the children of tomorrow, living through a series of disruptive technologies that completely change their lives will be the norm. There might still be some resistance when I opt to have my head spliced onto a robotic exoskeleton, but within a generation children will be used to seeing Iron Seb saving people from car crashes and flying alongside airplanes.

The fact of the matter is that transhumanism is just a modern term for an age-old phenomenon. We have been augmenting our humanity our strength, our wisdom, our empathy with tools since prehistory. We have always been spooked by technologies that seem unnatural or that cause us to act in inhuman ways its simply human nature. That all changes with the children of today, however. To them, anything that isnt computerized, digital, and touch-enabled seems unnatural. To them, the smartphone is already an extension of the brain; to them, mind uploading, bionic implants and augmentations, and powered exoskeletons will just be par for the course. To them, transhumanism will just seem like natural evolution and anyone who doesnt follow suit, just like those fuddy-duddies who still dont have a smartphone, will seem thoroughly inhuman.

Now read: The Geek shall inherit the Earth

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What is transhumanism, or, what does it mean to be human ...

What is Transhumanism?

The human desire to acquire posthuman attributes is as ancient as the human species itself. Humans have always sought to expand the boundaries of their existence, be it ecologically, geographically, or mentally. There is a tendency in at least some individuals always to try to find a way around every limitation and obstacle.

Ceremonial burial and preserved fragments of religious writings show that prehistoric humans were deeply disturbed by the death of their loved ones and sought to reduce the cognitive dissonance by postulating an afterlife. Yet, despite the idea of an afterlife, people still endeavored to extend life. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (approx. 2000 B.C.), a king embarks on a quest to find an herb that can make him immortal. Its worth noting that it was assumed both that mortality was not inescapable in principle, and that there existed (at least mythological) means of overcoming it. That people really strove to live longer and richer lives can also be seen in the development of systems of magic and alchemy; lacking scientific means of producing an elixir of life, one resorted to magical means. This strategy was adopted, for example, by the various schools of esoteric Taoism in China, which sought physical immortality and control over or harmony with the forces of nature.

The Greeks were ambivalent about humans transgressing our natural confines. On the one hand, they were fascinated by the idea. We see it in the myth of Prometheus, who stole the fire from Zeus and gave it to the humans, thereby permanently improving the human condition. And in the myth of Daedalus, the gods are repeatedly challenged, quite successfully, by a clever engineer and artist, who uses non-magical means to extend human capabilities. On the other hand, there is also the concept of hubris: that some ambitions are off-limit and would backfire if pursued. In the end, Daedalus enterprise ends in disaster (not, however, because it was punished by the gods but owing entirely to natural causes).

Greek philosophers made the first, stumbling attempts to create systems of thought that were based not purely on faith but on logical reasoning. Socrates and the sophists extended the application of critical thinking from metaphysics and cosmology to include the study of ethics and questions about human society and human psychology. Out of this inquiry arose cultural humanism, a very important current throughout the history of Western science, political theory, ethics, and law.

In the Renaissance, human thinking was awoken from medieval otherworldliness and the scholastic modes of reasoning that had predominated for a millennium, and the human being and the natural world again became legitimate objects of study. Renaissance humanism encouraged people to rely on their own observations and their own judgment rather than to defer in every matter to religious authorities. Renaissance humanism also created the ideal of the well-rounded personality, one that is highly developed scientifically, morally, culturally, and spiritually. A milestone is Giovanni Pico della Mirandolas Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486), which states that man does not have a ready form but that it is mans task to form himself. And crucially, modern science began to take form then, through the works of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.

The Age of Enlightenment can be said to have started with the publication of Francis Bacons Novum Organum, the new tool (1620), in which he proposes a scientific methodology based on empirical investigation rather than a priori reasoning. Bacon advocates the project of effecting all things possible, by which he meant the achievement of mastery over nature in order to improve the condition of human beings. The heritage from the Renaissance combines with the influences of Isaac Newton, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Marquis de Condorcet, and others to form the basis for rational humanism, which emphasizes science and critical reasoning rather than revelation and religious authority as ways of learning about the natural world and the destiny and nature of man and of providing a grounding for morality. Transhumanism traces its roots to this rational humanism.

In the 18th and 19th centuries we begin to see glimpses of the idea that even humans themselves can be developed through the appliance of science. Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire speculated about extending human life span through medical science. Especially after Darwins theory of evolution, atheism or agnosticism came to be seen as increasingly attractive alternatives. However, the optimism of the late 19th century often degenerated into narrow-minded positivism and the belief that progress was automatic. When this view collided with reality, some people reacted by turning to irrationalism, concluding that since reason was not sufficient, it was worthless. This resulted in the anti-technological, anti-intellectual sentiments whose sequelae we can still witness today in some postmodernist writers, in the New Age movement, and among the neo-Luddite wing of the anti-globalization agitators.

A significant stimulus in the formation of transhumanism was the essay Daedalus: Science and the Future (1923) by the British biochemist J. B. S. Haldane, in which he discusses how scientific and technological findings may come to affect society and improve the human condition. This essay set off a chain reaction of future-oriented discussions, including The World, the Flesh and the Devil by J. D. Bernal (1929), which speculates about space colonization and bionic implants as well as mental improvements through advanced social science and psychology; the works of Olaf Stapledon; and the essay Icarus: the Future of Science (1924) by Bertrand Russell, who took a more pessimistic view, arguing that without more kindliness in the world, technological power will mainly serve to increase mens ability to inflict harm on one another. Science fiction authors such as H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon also got many people thinking about the future evolution of the human race. One frequently cited work is Aldous Huxleys Brave New World (1932), a dystopia where psychological conditioning, promiscuous sexuality, biotechnology, and opiate drugs are used to keep the population placid and contented in a static, totalitarian society ruled by an elite consisting of ten world controllers. Huxleys novel warns of the dehumanizing potential of technology being used to arrest growth and to diminish the scope of human nature rather than enhance it.

The Second World War changed the direction of some of those currents that result in todays transhumanism. The eugenics movement, which had previously found advocates not only among racists on the extreme right but also among socialists and progressivist social democrats, was thoroughly discredited. The goal of creating a new and better world through a centrally imposed vision became taboo and pass; and the horrors of the Stalinist Soviet Union again underscored the dangers of such an approach. Mindful of these historical lessons, transhumanists are often deeply suspicious of collectively orchestrated change, arguing instead for the right of individuals to redesign themselves and their own descendants.

In the postwar era, optimistic futurists tended to direct their attention more toward technological progress, such as space travel, medicine, and computers. Science began to catch up with speculation. Transhumanist ideas during this period were discussed and analyzed chiefly in the literary genre of science fiction. Authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Stanislaw Lem, and later Bruce Sterling, Greg Egan, and Vernor Vinge have explored various aspects of transhumanism in their writings and contributed to its proliferation.

Robert Ettinger played an important role in giving transhumanism its modern form. The publication of his book The Prospect of Immortality in 1964 led to the creation of the cryonics movement. Ettinger argued that since medical technology seems to be constantly progressing, and since chemical activity comes to a complete halt at low temperatures, it should be possible to freeze a person today and preserve the body until such a time when technology is advanced enough to repair the freezing damage and reverse the original cause of deanimation. In a later work, Man into Superman (1972), he discussed a number of conceivable improvements to the human being, continuing the tradition started by Haldane and Bernal.

Another influential early transhumanist was F. M. Esfandiary, who later changed his name to FM-2030. One of the first professors of future studies, FM taught at the New School for Social Research in New York in the 1960s and formed a school of optimistic futurists known as the UpWingers. In his book Are you a transhuman? (1989), he described what he saw as the signs of the emergence of the transhuman person, in his terminology indicating an evolutionary link towards posthumanity. (A terminological aside: an early use of the word transhuman was in the 1972-book of Ettinger, who doesnt now remember where he first encountered the term. The word transhumanism may have been coined by Julian Huxley in New Bottles for New Wine (1957); the sense in which he used it, however, was not quite the contemporary one.) Further, its use is evidenced in T.S. Elliots writing around the same time. And it is known that Dante Alighieri referred to the notion of the transhuman in historical writings.

In the 1970s and 1980s, several organizations sprung up for life extension, cryonics, space colonization, science fiction, media arts, and futurism. They were often isolated from one another, and while they shared similar views and values, they did not yet amount to any unified coherent worldview. One prominent voice from a standpoint with strong transhumanist elements during this era came from Marvin Minsky, an eminent artificial intelligence researcher.

In 1986, Eric Drexler published Engines of Creation, the first book-length exposition of molecular manufacturing. (The possibility of nanotechnology had been anticipated by Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman in a now-famous after-dinner address in 1959 entitled There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom.) In this groundbreaking work, Drexler not only argued for the feasibility of assembler-based nanotechnology but also explored its consequences and began charting the strategic challenges posed by its development. Drexlers later writings supplied more technical analyses that confirmed his initial conclusions. To prepare the world for nanotechnology and work towards it safe implementation, he founded the Foresight Institute together with his then wife Christine Peterson in 1986.

Ed Regiss Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition (1990) took a humorous look at transhumanisms hubristic scientists and philosophers. Another couple of influential books were roboticist Hans Moravecs seminal Mind Children (1988) about the future development of machine intelligence, and more recently Ray Kurzweils bestselling Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), which presented ideas similar to Moravecs. Frank Tiplers Physics of Immortality (1994), inspired by the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a paleontologist and Jesuit theologian who saw an evolutionary telos in the development of an encompassing noosphere, a global consciousness) argued that advanced civilizations might come to have a shaping influence on the future evolution of the cosmos, although some were put off by Tiplers attempt to blend science with religion. Many science advocates, such as Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and Douglas Hofstadter, have also helped pave the way for public understanding of transhumanist ideas.

In 1988, the first issue of the Extropy Magazine was published by Max More and Tom Morrow, and in 1992 they founded the Extropy Institute (the term extropy being coined as an informal opposite of entropy). The magazine and the institute served as catalysts, bringing together disparate groups of people with futuristic ideas. More wrote the first definition of transhumanism in its modern sense, and created his own distinctive brand of transhumanism, which emphasized individualism, dynamic optimism, and the market mechanism in addition to technology. The transhumanist arts genre became more self-aware through the works of the artist Natasha Vita-More. During this time, an intense exploration of ideas also took place on various Internet mailing lists. Influential early contributors included Anders Sandberg (then a neuroscience doctoral student) and Robin Hanson (an economist and polymath) among many others.

The World Transhumanist Association was founded in 1998 by Nick Bostrom and David Pearce to act as a coordinating international nonprofit organization for all transhumanist-related groups and interests, across the political spectrum. The WTA focused on supporting transhumanism as a serious academic discipline and on promoting public awareness of transhumanist thinking. The WTA began publishing the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the first scholarly peer-reviewed journal for transhumanist studies in 1999 (which is also the year when the first version of this FAQ was published). In 2001, the WTA adopted its current constitution and is now governed by an executive board that is democratically elected by its full membership. James Hughes especially (a former WTA Secretary) among others helped lift the WTA to its current more mature stage, and a strong team of volunteers has been building up the organization to what it is today.

Humanity+ developed after to rebrand transhumanism informing Humanity+ as a cooperative organization, seeking to pull together the leaders of transhumanism: from the early 1990s: Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Anders Sandberg; the late 1990s: Nick Bostrom, David Pearce, James Hughes; the 2000s: James Clement, Ben Goertzel, Giulio Prisco and many others. In short, it is based on the early work of Extropy Institute and WTA.

In the past couple of years, the transhumanist movement has been growing fast and furiously. Local groups are mushrooming in all parts of the world. Awareness of transhumanist ideas is spreading. Transhumanism is undergoing the transition from being the preoccupation of a fringe group of intellectual pioneers to becoming a mainstream approach to understanding the prospects for technological transformation of the human condition. That technological advances will help us overcome many of our current human limitations is no longer an insight confined to a few handfuls of techno-savvy visionaries. Yet understanding the consequences of these anticipated possibilities and the ethical choices we will face is a momentous challenge that humanity will be grappling with over the coming decades. The transhumanist tradition has produced a (still evolving) body of thinking to illuminate these complex issues that is unparalleled in its scope and depth of foresight.

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What is Transhumanism?

What is transhumanism? | CARM.org

by Matt Slick

Transhumanism is the idea that human beings, as a whole, can be drastically improved in physical and mental areas with technologies, such as cloning, genetic modification, bionics, nanotechnology, drugs, etc. The great majority of transhumanists believe that the "human species" has evolved and that science can provide a kind of artificial, directed evolution. Transhumanists look to the future and believe the human condition will see improvement in physical ability, lifespan, and mental acuity, and health. In addition, the world condition can also be improved by reducing starvation and poverty. Such technological advancements, some have said, would even redefine what it means to be human.

Some of the areas the trans-humanists propose can be assisted and or improved by technology are as follows:

Some trans-humanists have even proposed the idea of transferring human consciousness into the machine in order to vastly extend lifespans.

Philosophers and ethicists have been delving into the theological and moral issues related to the advancement of technology as a relates to altering human capabilities, mental states, duration of life, etc. Many questions have arisen that don't, as yet, have answers.

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What is transhumanism? | CARM.org

Transhumanism: Pros and Cons – iGyaan

If there was a way for humanity to achieve a stage where there were no diseases, viruses, human frailties or any form of intellectual incompetence, why wouldnt you want to stretch your hand and grasp it? But how far would you stretch it -is the question. Would you be willing to let go of humanity as we know it today?

The intricacies and nuances of the discussion are, of course, endless. Reasons both for and against it are just as meaty and relevant on both sides. Lets begin with what Transhumanism essentially aims to achieve.

Internationally accepted symbol of transhumanism.

Transhumanism simply refers to a philosophy which seeks to improve the efficiency and capability of mankind using technological advancements. If youve ever wondered about cryogenics, youve had a brief fling with the notions of this philosophy. If evolution has led us to where we are today as a species, what should stop us from taking over from here and determining where we go next?

Lasik eye surgery: Poor eye-sight is a handicap in itself and anybody who has suffered from it would understand the importance of the convenience of leading a life where glasses are not required for clear vision. Needless to say, Lasik eye surgeries have made lives easier for many people with zero or negligible side-effects at an affordable price.

Vaccination: Diseases like Smallpox and Rinderpest have been completely eradicated with the help of vaccinations. An enhanced immune system and protection from disease causing viruses is an outcome of scientific as well as technological advancements, thereby part of transhumanism.

Hearing Aids: Technology has ensured to set right impairments wherever it can, and this includes partial or complete deafness. Hearing aids have been around for a while now and have changed the lives ofcountless people all over the world.

A bionic man specimen in Washington.

Artificially Developed Limbs: Another contribution of transhumanism is prosthetic limbs. They have been developed as a direct offshoot of technological advancementsfor those who have undergone any kind of bodily amputation.It is an ever growing, ever expanding field of the medical industry and continues to make improvements with every passing day. Bionic men and cyborgs dont seem that far a reality in contemporary times, do they now?

Iron Man: Need we say more? Go ahead and feast your eyes post all that serious tech-jargon.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been the talk of the town for a while now. This is a technique for speeding up reaction times and learning speed by -wait for it- supplying your brain by a very weak electric current. It has been practised by the US military to train snipers. This practice has its fair share of haters, and with good reason. But that doesnt make it any less intriguing.

Transhumanism grapples with the idea of uploading your memories and thoughts to a computer -a la Dumbledore and his pensieve, just not as cool and a more than a little disturbing. Hollywood has given us enough examples on how wrong this can go, latest being the Johnny Depp starrer Transcendence.

Johnny Depp in Transcendence

Growth and Stagnation:Transhumanism is often viewed as the epitome of growth and progress.Transhumanists believe humans are a work in progress of sorts and therefore why should our current stage be the final stage of evolution? Why shouldnt we control the direction of evolution from here?The instinctive human need is to move forward, develop and evolve, but what if transhumanism is not a step towards evolution but towards stagnation instead?

If we truly manage to achieve a world with no diseases, perfect immunity and consequently, a drastically reduced or nil death rate, it would be interesting to see what becomes of our overly-populated planet.If we decide to let go of procreation to deal with the problem of limited space, it leaves us with a world frozen in stagnation. Not exactly what we had in mind when we set out with the growth proposition, is it now?

Dehumanization: Humans would cease to be what they are the moment external tampering with not simply a body part but the very core of existence begins, which is what transhumanism aims at. However, we are not sure if thats exactly a bad idea or not.

Inequality: The fact that technology would be used for enhancing intelligence or the mortality rate also implies that it would entail a certain financial cost. This inadvertently means that money would determine intelligence and mortality of an individual, once again sparking off a whole set of debates about the consequent inequality this will lead to.

Android arm and human arm: A transhumanist version of Michaelangelos Creation of Adam

The Unknown Ahead: Honestly, no one has any clear idea of where we are headed with transhumanism. Those who endorse it may conjure up eutopic visions of a perfectly healthy and prosperous society, but the opposite side of the spectrum is also taken care of by those who reject transhumanism. Something as small and apparently harmless like smartphones have completely turned our lifestyle on its head, and given rise to a parallel reality of the virtual world. Lets see where we end up with transhumanism.

A world of eternal life, superhuman strength, complete eradication of diseases and highly advanced mental faculties is what transhumanism seems to be offering. It has insidiously embed itself in our lives with present technologies like genetic engineering, information technology, and those in their more nascent form like molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence; all of it is a part oftranshumanism. The question is, how much you will be willing to risk or get absorbed in.

Let us know in the comments below.

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Transhumanism: Pros and Cons - iGyaan

Zoltan Istvan: The Transhumanist Candidate – Roads and Kingdoms

This week on The Trip podcast: Zoltan Istvan has come from the future with a message New Hampshire doesnt want to hear.

Here they are in the New Hampshire Secretary of States office, paying their thousand dollars to be on the official primary ballot. They are the lesser-known candidates, the dramatic fringe of each presidential primary election up here. And they are the stars of my quadrennial quixotic reporting project with photographer Shane Carpenter. And listen, they arent like Tom Steyer lesser-known, theyre like Vermin Supreme lesser-known, Mary Maxwell lesser-known, Zoltan Istvan lesser-known. Almost nobody knows these people, but theyre running anyway. This is the fifth primary that Shane and I have spent ducking out of mainstream campaign press events to track down the people who are just obsessive, idealistic, or imbalanced enough to think they should run for president, often with no money, no support, sometimes no platform really. Of course, the idea of a non-politician becoming president was distinctly more laughable before 2016, and now it doesnt seem that funny at all. But these candidates are something different, a wild bunch, far more entertaining and thought-provoking even than the scripted candidates. Shane and I just published a feature on the lesser-known and their radical approach to democracy on roadsandkingdoms.com; I hope youll take a look. But for now, in this episode, Ive got one of the most composed and compelling of this years fringe candidates, writer and transhumanist Zoltan Istvan. We drank some 15 year old Dalwinnie Scotch and talked about exoskeletons, being escorted at gunpoint from a megachurch, and why he let someone jam a horse syringe into his hand to give him a permanent bio-chip implant.

Here is an edited and condensed transcript from my conversation with Eva. Subscribers canlisten to the full episode here. If youre not on Luminary yet, subscribe and listen (and get a 7-day free trial) by signing uphere.

Nathan Thornburgh: What is transhumanism?

Zoltan Istvan: Transhumanism is a social movement, now of many millions of people around the world, that want to use science and technology to radically transform the human body and transform the human experience. Anything from exoskeleton suits to brain implants to even driverless cars. But whatever it is, its kind of the top 10% of the most radical technologies that are affecting the human race.

Thornburgh: You say there were many millions. Are these people who would actively knowingly define themselves as transhumanists, or you think its just aligned with the way that they look at the world?

Istvan: I think there are now probably millions that would say, if you ask them are you a transhumanist, they would now say, yes I am. When you ask them, is that what they consider themselves? Thats a little bit more challenging of a question. Google, for example, is probably the most transhumanist of all the companies out there, and they have the largest, what we call life extension company, a company worth billions of dollars, that wants to overcome aging. Its specifically designed to make people essentially live indefinitely. So we are getting to a point when you can now say millions and likely tens of millions who are supporters of the idea. Chinas probably leading the transhumanist movement in terms of innovationthey have the first designer baby babies and stuff like that. So there might be even many more.

But the word is just an umbrella term for many other ideas. Cryonics, singulariatism. Cyborgism. Singularity is the concept of transhumanists where they believe that AI will become so sophisticated that our human brains wont even be able to understand its sophistication. And at that point we get left behind.

The main goal of transhumanism is overcoming death with science and technology.

Thornburgh: The word itself, can you just break it down for me?

Istvan: Well, the Latin would say its beyond human.

Thornburgh: Okay, got it. All of our limitations are physicalchronological aging, mortality. Those are the things that youre going to supersede through technology.

Istvan: Basically, yes. And nobodys really sure like exactly what transhumanism means in terms of the specific agenda. Is it when a primate picked up a rock and made an axe millions of years ago, or is it a robot taking over a workers job, which of course is increasingly happening. Is that transhumanism, or is it brain implants? Nobody really knows, but whatever it is and it radical science is, is sort of changing the human species and the core of it is the microprocessor. It keeps evolving exponentially and we even have things like quantum computing now happening where, you know, that could revolutionize again, the microprocessor. So anything that applies to the human being, in terms of merging us with machines, is a transhuman event.

I think whats very important is that there are various versions of transhumanism. There are socialist transhumanists, there are libertarian transients like myself, and there are transceivers party transhumanism. Of course, Im, Im the founder of the transceivers party, but Im also now running as a Republican. But Ive also run as a libertarian, Ive said openly, I might run as a Democrat in the future. For me, its about the seed of transhumanism. You can take it whichever political way you want. Theres also Christian transhumanism, theres Buddhist transhumanist. So we want a worldwide movement. I want different factions. I want a decentralized idea of it. And I hope to influence it in terms of it grows and grows and grows. Because you have to understand about 80% of the worlds population believes in an afterlife. The main goal of transhumanism is overcoming death with science and technology. Were fighting 80% of the population. So its very important that we coalesce together as a movement that says we need to change that 80%. We need to change their mindset. And thats really where the cultural reform comes in, and why its so important to have a huge movements like environmentalism, where the trajectory is that one day we also become a billion person movement that really wants to move beyond our cultural heritage.

Thornburgh: So lets, lets posit success and you reach those 80% and flip them into transhumanists. What will that actually mean? Does that mean that they will vote for people who pour more resources into death-defying technologies or pass laws? What, practically, would having people be fired up about transhumanism do?

Istvan: Thats the best question. The great question. Thats exactly what Im trying to do. My main goal here with running for office and my main goal of spreading transhumanism is to get more money into the hands of the scientists who are making the movement happen. You have to understand, right now our United States Congress, all 535 members, all nine Supreme Court justices, believe in an afterlife, and they say they believe in God, so they have no real reason to pass laws to put money into the hands of the scientists who want to end aging and live indefinitely and upgrade ourselves to this new bionic future. Now the problem with that is if the entire government doesnt want to give money to it, it doesnt happen. Really only private industry does it. We need an American culture on board with transhumanism.

I run for office in hopes of saying, look, instead of giant military fighting warrants in Afghanistan and Iraq, were going to take that money and put it into creating a science-industrial complex in America dedicated to ending aging and upgrading the human being. Its a very different kind of way. Im interested in American healthcare, in terms of eliminating disease. And thats a very transhuman idea that our president right now doesnt share. A president whos cut the budget of the National Institute of Health.

Im running because, ultimately, I think that Trump has failed the most important part of America: the science and innovation part.

Thornburgh: Youre running as a Republican. This is your opponent.

Istvan: You gotta you gotta hit them hard on that. One thing Trump has done that hasnt been great is hes not only cut the budget of the National Institute of Health, but he hasnt made a culture where science really thrives. In China, its thriving. Chinas our main kind of competitor at this point. So probably within five years, China lead the world in AI and genetic editing. Its game over for America in terms of leadership, and who wants not authoritarian nation to be leading the world and in science and technology. So this is where I really fault Trump. In fact, this is why Im running. This is the singular reason Im running because, ultimately, I think that Trump has failed the most important part of America: the science and innovation part.

Thornburgh: What is your background? Take me way back.

Istvan: My career really began after I graduated from Columbia University, and I went into journalism at National Geographic. And so for five years I traveled around the world and I wrote something like 50 or 60 articles for their website, and also was on their National Geographic Today, show, doing a lot of documentary work. It was a great time in my life. I was in my twenties, I covered a lot of conflict zones, so saw some horrifying things. In Vietnam I was covering the demilitarized zone 20, 30 years after the war. And theres a bunch of rice farmers that now dig up bombs that were dropped in Vietnam from Americans, but theyre unexploded. They sell the metal. But to get there you have to go through these landmine-infested jungles. And I almost stepped on one. It freaked me out because my guide had to throw me out of the way and pointed to the ground. And after covering war zones for a while kind of gets in your head. And it was that moment in Vietnam when I said, you know, Im going to stop being a journalist and Im going to do something to try to overcome death. And of course transhumanism has been an ongoing movement since the 90s, and thats their primary job. Their primary purpose is to use science to overcome death.

Istvan: So I came home, joined the movement, wrote a novel, the novel did really well. It was called The Transhumanist Wager, became a bestseller, and it launched my career as a public figure. And because I was a journalist, I began writing some of the very first transhumanist columns. So Ive had an ability over six years to write over 230 opinion pieces and essays for major media, almost cheerleading transhumanism. Up until that point, no one had ever been optimistic about it. People had been kind of skeptical.

Thornburgh: That literally came from a near-death experience that you had.

Istvan: Its based on two or three years of covering other conflicts. Id covered the Sri Lanka conflict. I covered the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India. Id been doing some pretty harrowing stories and it made me, I think it kinda got in my head, I dont want to say its PTSD, but really it made me think, What if we could overcome death? And when it hit me that I could do this, I realized that this is why I want to dedicate my life to.

Thornburgh: Does transhumanism have any rights or rituals or holidays?

Istvan: Its secular. Its a very decentralized movement. A lot of the life-extension people are not interested in the robotics people, because life extension people want to biologically live longer, where the robotics people want to become machines and upload themselves. So even though they are both transhumanist and I like both groups, they dont really talk to each other. Then there are the biohackers, who are mostly young, tattooed people that are putting chips in. I have a chip in my hand. It opens my front door, starts a car, it sends a text message.

Thornburgh: You have this right now?

Istvan: I have it right now. You can touch it. Its right there. Push. Youll see. Youll feel a bump. Its a glass-enclosed microchip.

Thornburgh: Does that hurt when I press your chip?

Istvan: No. Its tiny. Its the size of a grain of rice. When you get these chip implants, you use a horse syringe you just put it in. Its kind of painful. But the chip itself is about the size of a grain rice.

Thornburgh: But that wasnt sexual what we just did?

Istvan: No. Its just a chip.

Thornburgh: How do you program this chip? Is this like a radio-frequency identification?

Istvan: Yeah. Unfortunately, the technology doesnt work with Apple phones, but it works with all Android. And so if you have an Android phone, you will actually be able to put it against my hand and then get my serial number. Of course, that freaks people out, because who has a serial number? But you can also put in medical information. So if youre unconscious and they find you, they can scan it. But in my case, Im a surfer and a jogger and when you go surfing you have to always hide your keys, and what a pain in the butt that is, because then someone can steal it when youre surfing and take your car. So in my case, its just great because all my keys are embedded into my hand and you can even do things like hold Bitcoin on it, but you cant pay it Starbucks yet.

Listen to the full episode at Luminary.

The rest is here:

Zoltan Istvan: The Transhumanist Candidate - Roads and Kingdoms

Sleeve Into Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game – Nerdist

Based on the 2002 novel Altered Carbon, the self-proclaimed neo-noir cyberpunk series is expanding into a tabletop roleplaying game. The Netflix show just launched its second season. Combining a healthy mix of Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Transhumanismthe setting rocks as an RPG. Apparently, the Kickstarter did too, raising over 1000% of their funding goal and hitting over 3,900 backers by the end of its run. Hunters Entertainment (Outbreak: Undead) headed up the design with an amazing team of people, so its no surprise that this Kickstarter slew expectations.

The Kickstarter page contains the vital information any prospective player could need. We still wanted to take a moment to highlight some things that are unique to a world in which you cant die. Imagine the prospects for a moment. Villains can be killed only to return later, potentially wearing the face of the partys friends. A full TPK can happen, and the adventure continues with the consequences of that folly. Or bar fights suddenly become far more bone-breaking. Not only does this concept present interesting ideas for storytelling but Altered Carbon RPG is also flipping our dice on us.

Using the Hazard system, the game encourages you to roll natural 1s. Which is frankly, glorious blasphemy. I think this gameplay difference is important to differentiate the setting and game for long term roleplaying game players. If youve been rolling D20s for a while, changing the dice mechanics on your table does work as a tangible reminder of the new world.

For as long as Ive been a storyteller; Ive often been running Cyberpunk, Transhumanism, or modern settings as long-term campaigns. I love high-tension, cheeky, dystopian conspiracy games so naturally Altered Carbon stole my interest. But every group needs one person to take up the mantle of Gamemaster. Lets take a look at how two major aspects of storytelling in a Transhuman or Cyberpunk setting in order to inspire other storytellers!

In this transhumanist world, the human mind is Digital Human Freight. Stored in a small, diamond-hard device at the base of the skull, everyone calls a cortical stack it. Some people have their brains sliced and scanned in layer-by-layer while others take a more digital approach. The end result is the same: you can re-sleeve your entire consciousness into a new body. With remote digital back-ups, needle casting your mind to other planets, or having a variety of custom bodies on handyou can become an immortal god. The ability to change bodies or sculpt your frame like an automobile is a dream for many.

Permanent death is possible for anyone whose stack is destroyed, but namely, you focus on an uplifting style of storytelling. Re: The characters backstories. Create elaborate backstories with wonderfully fleshed-out characters with full narratives by spending time with your players. The concept of a session zero is infinitely more important in settings like AC. Once created, weave those delicious backstories together into one yarn-ball of a plot. Since characters can be hundreds of years old, its okay to hop a few decades. Long-term gameplay in a transhumanist setting isnt going to be about TPKs, rather, about the parties choices around that ball of yarn. Some threads will get tugged, others will get knotted, and at least one will be hacked with a chainsaw. Meanwhile, villains at the beginning of the game can become allies later on. Only to swap sides again later. Embrace this fluidity as a storyteller.

Since the characters and NPCs will remain under the campaign spotlight for a long time, time invested into them is well spent. This also opens several new tactical options for both sides of that storyteller screen. For example, if the party knows they will resleeve they might consider one-way-ticket missions with no extraction. Nothing says a salty faction cant strike at the partys prized bar in the same way.

Cyberpunk worlds are both storytelling gold and a daunting task of finding where to start. Altered Carbon gives us a major campaign focal point called Bay City. Focused into three, easy to identify, and easy to dabble in factions: The Ground, the Twilight, and the Aerium. Poor, middle, and methuselah godlike rich respectively. Narrowing down a multi-planet cyberpunk setting to former San Francisco is exactly what gamemasters need to focus on a campaign. I couldnt be happier with the QuickStart guide for doing exactly that, and I really want to give a special shout out to the designers for making that call.

Well done chaps.

To prevent getting lost, shine a spotlight on local beats. Basically, in a setting with billions of people teeming on top of each other location bloat can be a major design problem. Its easy to fall into the pit of infinite information, and your players suffer from the noise. Cities are nearly infinite in story, filled with vast sprawling segments, and can make the PCs feel tiny. Unlike fantasy campaigns, the pulse of an urban fantasy or cyberpunk campaign beats inherently different. Less territory control or nation wars, and more investigation and fights containedjust out of sight.

Keeping everything setting wise sorted into factions or companies creates instant bonding with players. The Meths and the Grounders are easy factions to grasp onto and weave into a story. For added flair, toss in some company products and branding on your player characters weapons and youve seeded your immersion. Instead of having named NPCs, simply use faction representatives. If a pair or duo of them keeps recurring, feel free to start fleshing them out a little more. By keeping motives and goals orientated around the faction or company, you can brand it, and use that branding in the world. Plus your party will naturally start to separate the employees, from the company. Pelican Corp is an evil weapons manufacturer, but Debbie in shipping is a heckin saint.

Have you tried the Altered Carbon RPG yet? Try the Quickstart Guide here and let us know your adventure in the comments!

Featured Image: Altered Carbon The Role-Playing Game

Image Credits: Altered Carbon

Rick Heinz is a storyteller with a focus on D&D For Kids, and an overdose of LARPs, and the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn. You can follow RPG or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or reach out for writing at [emailprotected]

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Sleeve Into Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game - Nerdist

Being alive: Institut Franais presents ‘The Night of Ideas’ – Daily Sabah

Held as part of a worldwide series of events coordinated by the Institut Franais, "The Night of Ideas" is back with a fifth edition, taking place simultaneously in Istanbul, Ankara, zmir, Paris and other venues across the globe on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

This year's theme will be "ALIVE!," bringing the issue of environmental balance and human relations front and center. "At a time when the natural world is threatened and technology seems all-powerful," the event will call on people to collectively question the boundaries of humanity and invite the audience to take matters into their own hands.

Attracting the wide participation of nongovernmental organizations, cultural and artistic institutions, universities and museums all around the world since 2016, the event brings together opinion leaders, artists and researchers from all segments of society. This year they will discuss all aspects of what it means to be alive in today's world. They will try to find answers to questions such as: "What is our place in the world of living things?" "Have we humans really caused a 'sixth extinction'?" "Can artificial intelligence (personal robots or cyborgs) acquire memory and develop autonomous and consistent behaviors?"

The series has been held on the last Thursday of January every year.

PROGRAM

"Arts & Sciences, a show by Thierry Poquet"

Ankara will be hosting a one-and-a-half-hour interactive performance by Thierry Poquet with the contributions of director Merve Gezen on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Istanbul will host three events for the night. First up is "Coming to life with the breath of female artists" ("Kadn sanatlarn nefesinde hayat bulmak"), a panel moderated by journalist and contemporary art critic Ayegl Snmez. Distinguished artists Rabia apa, Nil Yalter and Dilan Bozyel will share with the audience their doubts, realities, beliefs and their creative lives. Starting at 7:15 p.m., the event will last about an hour and 15 minutes.

The second part of the night will take the audience through "Paris-Beirut: Happiness Line" ("Mutluluk Hatt"), an exhibition by photographer Dilan Bozyel.

At 10 p.m., there will be a screening for "Onun Filmi" and a Q&A session with co-director Merve Bozcu. The film tells the stories of 14 female directors, of being female filmmakers in Turkish cinema, of being women and of being working women.

Meanwhile, in zmir, Martin Godon will host a conference on "Where is death in life?" ("Hayat Bulmak: Peki lm Hayatn Neresinde?"), scrutinizing concepts such as AI, robotics, transhumanism and immortality. From mythology to sci-fi stories, the thought-provoking event will aim to find an answer to the question, "Are we on the verge of a new humanity?"

Participating in numerous archaeological excavations in Turkey and Syria, Godon specializes in prehistoric archaeology in the Near East. He has been examining and investigating the development of human societies from prehistoric times to the present, especially changes due to climate change.

Originally posted here:

Being alive: Institut Franais presents 'The Night of Ideas' - Daily Sabah

The 2010s were the decade of trans – The Spectator USA

Transgender ideology wasnt invented in the 2010s, but this was the decade when it gripped our culture in its venomous maw and refused to let go. Heres how trans grew from fringe oddity to a massive force affecting schools, parenting, prisons, policy, academia, sports, law enforcement, language and the arts.

In 2009, Susie Green, who will become Chair of UK gender clinic Mermaids, takes her son to Thailand for vaginoplasty. Jackie Green becomes the youngest person in the world to undergo a sex change operation, at age 16. Meanwhile, trans woman and trans humanist Martine Rothblatt foresees the end of our species as we know it, andclaimsthat transhumanism builds on transgenderism, broadening the driving mindset from a gender ideal to a human development ideal.

Trans began the decadeas an outlier. It became something tolerated out of compassion. It has become a medical-legal monster, with activists claiming to redefine woman as a feeling, with self-identification trumping the basic facts of biological sex.And if you disagree, youre transphobic. Welcome to the 2020s!

At 10 years old,Jazz Jenningsis already out as trans.

Children become the subject ofmedical experimentation. Britains National Health Service approves medical experiments which will chemically castrate gay children in attempt to correct gender-nonconformity.

We now being told that affirmation of trans individuals is all about compassion. We need to knowwhat trans gender meansand how important surgery is.New York magazinesays that it takes a powerful act of imagination to understand what a transgender child, in his perfect little body on the changing table, might be feeling, or why he might become terrified as adolescence approaches.

The American Psychiatric Associationupdates its manual, to replace gender identity disorder with gender dysphoria.

Now 13 years old and wearing dental braces as well as female dress, Jazz Jennings isparadedon ABC News.

In Britain, the gender clinic at theTavistock Clinic gives 12 year-olds hormone blockers to prepare for transition. The treatment halts the onset of puberty preventing children from developing the sexual characteristics of the gender they were born.

Trans woman Parker Molloy writes amissive:I am a woman, but on such a frequent basis, Im told this is not true. Im told that Im genetically or biologically male. Im told that Im not a real woman. I have to ask: What constitutes a real woman? How am I not one? Is it because of my chromosomes? I dont think thats fair

The splendidly surnamed trans actress Laverne Cox, the first trans person to grace the cover ofTIMEmagazine, explains that most of us are insecure about our gender.

IntheNew Yorker, Michelle Goldberg sits on the fence: Trans women say that they are women because they feel femalethey have womens brains in mens bodies. Radical feministsbelieve that if women think and act differently from men its because society forces them to.

Facebook offers56 gender optionsfor users to choose from.

Susie Greens trans daughter Jackie is now 21, and Green speaks out against those who call her parentingabusive. She claims that even before she could speak my daughter had made her preferences clear.

Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlyn, and graces the cover ofVanity Fair. Trans MMA fighterFallon Foxdefeated her opponent, Tamikka Brents, by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. Brents eye injury resulted in a damaged orbital bone that required seven staples. Now thats equality.

Michelle Goldberg is back. InSlate, she reminds us that, Most progressives now take it for granted that gender is a matter of identity, not biology, and that refusing to recognize a persons gender identity is an outrageous offense.

In the UK, theParliamentary Women and Equalities Committee Reportremoves sex-based protections.My Transgender Kidappears on the BBC. Itsreported that the Tavistock and Portman gender clinic has seen referrals increase by 50 percent every year since 2009.

Rachel Dolezal claims to betransracial.Trans abledturns out to be a thing.

Teen girls protest trans girls use of girlslocker room.

The year of the bathroom. A North Carolina law ispasseddisallowing trans people from using the bathroom of their choice. The State issuedby Obamas Department of Justice, whichtellsevery public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The director of the ACLU in Georgialeaves her postrather than fight for trans bathroom rights.

Male bodied trans studentscompeteagainst girls in high school sports. Female bodied transpregnant personsare lauded as the first male mothers.

The National Institute of Healthlaunchesthe largest-ever study of transgender youth, but also only the second to track the psychological effects of delaying puberty. Its notable that theres no control group.

Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy speaks out against the lack of debate. Because representation matters, a call goes outnot to castcis women as trans.

Jill SollowaysTransparentcomes underfirefor not being woke enough.

A male to female detransitionerspeaks. TheNew York Timesadmitsthat scientists have no conclusive explanation for what causes some people to feel dissonance between their gender identity and aspects of their anatomy.

Philosopher Slavoj iek gets called out for his claimthat the vision of social relations that sustains transgenderism is the so-called postgenderism: a social, political and cultural movement whose adherents advocate a voluntary abolition of gender, rendered possible by recent scientific progress in biotechnology and reproductive technologies.

The Womens March takes to the streets in Washington, DC, wearingtransphobic, pink pussy hats. Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos misgender Jenner and are slammedby Dan Savage.Neuterbecomes a thing, so does drilling down into biology to determine that sex is not binary in otherspecies. Which it is, really.

Stonewall UKs Rachel Steinconfirmsthat being trans is about an innate sense of self. To imply anything other than this is reductive and hurtful to many trans people who are only trying to live life as their authentic selves.

Thegender spectrumemerges.

Trans advocatessuggestthatprevious restrictions on transing kids be eased so that children under 16 years old can begin hormone therapy in order to physically transform their bodies.

Teachers socially trans kidswithout parents consent. Jazz Jenningss book I Am Jazzis acontroversialpick for kindergarten story time.

Radical feministsspeak outagainst transing kids. One lady istrans species.And trans affirmation is noweveryones job.Topshopopensfitting rooms to trans women. Theres money in them there trans.

The Department of Justice reverses the Obama era directives andsaysthat sex means only biologically male or female.

Katie Herzogwritesabout detransitioners, and gets intense heat for it. Debra Sohsaysthat the entire gender conversation has brain science wrong.

We will change our bodies however we want, theTrans Health Manifestoinsists. We will have universally accessible and freely available hormones & blockers, surgical procedures, and any other relevant treatments and therapies.

The real question is: how does a female bodied gay mannavigate Grindr?

Who could have guessed, even a decade ago, that in 2018 the word woman would be treated as an expletive? asks Joanna Williams in Britains PC-bible theNew Statesman.

The Gender Recognition Act allows for self-ID in the UK. The NHSmust offerfertility services to those looking to remove their genitals.Britain;s Labour party alienates gender-critical feminists by stating that self-ID is all thats required to be on Laboursshort listof women candidates. Women try to meet and talk about this mess, but their events arecanceleddue to trans protests.

UK Schools policy comes underfirefor insisting that all kids have a gender identity. Girl Guides inclusion policycalled outas anti-girl. Amother of fouris interrogated by the police for referring to male to female trans surgery as castration on Twitter. The mere concept ofdebating trans becomes transphobic.

Jess Bradley, the first elected Trans Officer in the UK National Union of Student, says I self-identify as a non-binary woman, I dont believe there is such a thing as a real woman. Male bodied trans person Rachel McKinnonwinsa womens cycling race.

Bill B-16 isadoptedin Canada. This effectively redefines what it means to be a woman from something biological to something defined by external appearance. A Toronto womens shelter admits a male bodied trans person, and an abused womansues.

In academia, Camille Paglia says sex change is impossible. Jordan Peterson is almost fired from the University of Toronto for refusing to go along with compelled speech for pronouns. There are callsfor colleges to let trans athletes play on their chosen gender.

Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moores bookTransgender Children and Young People: Born In Your Own Bodyisrejectedby trans activists. Oxfordbansgender critical voices. Lisa Littmans academic paper on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is pulled from Plos One for being transphobic. Jesse Singal writes about gender confused youth inthe Atlantic, and takes masses of abuse for it. Reports emerge on the danger in the drugs used tocastratechildren, and concerns thattransing is homophobia.

TheParis Reviewadvocates for atrans literary canon. No one buys theParis Review.

Trans surgeries dont always have an amazingresult.YettheAmerican Academy of Pediatriciansasserts thattransgender kids know their genderas clearly and consistently as their developmentally equivalent peers and that theres no need for watchful waiting.Trans toyscome to market.

TheNew York Timessayssex doesnt have anything to do with reproductive organs. Researchclaimsthat gender dysphoric kids show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.

US prisonsopposetrans inmates in womens prisons. Canadian prisonsallowprisoners to be housed according to gender identity.

How much longer must transgender people continue to participate in public conversations about whether or not we know our own souls? Jennifer Finney Boylanasksin theNew York Times equating gender to a religious belief. Quillettemakes a splash by publishing opposition to the trans agenda, even fromtrans persons.

The question of how tofuck trans lesbiansis a thing. So isgirldick,how to eat out a non-op trans woman, andrewriting gay historyto be trans. Andrea Long Chu says shewont be happywith her new coochie, but she should get one anyway. Andtrans lesbiansreally have trouble dating.

Cis women areasked to do more for trans women, becauseit costs you zero dollars to be nice. Cis peoplewont date trans people, and lesbians decide to get the L outof LGBT.

Twitterprohibitsmisgendering and deadnaming to curtail anti-trans abuse. Meghan Murphy isbanned from Twitter for misgendering Jessica Yaniv, a male-bodied trans woman a transvestite, in traditional terms who wants to force immigrant women to wax her balls.

Trans English arrives, withtonsof new words for gender.Trans kidsknowwho they are, and its eitheraffirmationor death if you disagree.

Self-IDcomes to New Hampshire. Trans model Munroe Bergdorf ischosento speak by the London chapter of the globalWomens March. New York goesall-inon bathrooms and the abolition of women only spaces. South Dakotasayslet trans kids compete in sports

The Vancouver Rape Relief and Womens Shelterloses municipal funding after refusing to accept trans women. Morgane Oger wins a Human Rights Tribunal againstChristian activist Bill Whatcott after he distributedflyers disparaging herfor being a trans woman. A woman isarrestedfor referring to a transgender woman as a man online.

Liberal womenspeak on trans issues atthe Heritage Foundation, because they have beenabandonedby the left.

Butfacial recognitiondoesnt get trans. Neither dostraight men. Tennis legend Marina Navratilovaopposesmen in womens sports.

Even though thequick transingof kids is obviously a terrible idea, itsnot OKto talk about detransitioning. But girls start pushingbackon the locker room thing. So dograndmothers.

Students in the English town of Brighton are issued with stickers on which they write their preferredpronouns. Transtoolkitsarrive. Experts say that there has been aglobal surgein young people presenting to gender clinics. This mirrors the huge rise in referrals to the Gids, up from 94 to 2,519 since 2010.

Cosmopublishes a detailed account ofbottom surgery.

Trans advocatesdecrymental health screening prior to accessing cross-sex hormones. Trans offendersseek rightto remove crimes committed under previous gender. Hayden Patterson, held in womens prison in Canada, doesnt think she should have toact femaleto stay.Womb transplantsso men can bear children might be a thing. Elizabeth Warrenstatesher pronouns.

The firsttrans prison unitopens in the UK. In the US, a trans sex offender ismovedto womens prison. The World Health Organizationreclassestrans as not actually a mental health condition. Jessica Yaniv brings acasein Human Rights Tribunal against independent aestheticians who wouldnt wax her balls. She loses.

The winners of womens high school track and fieldcompetitionsin Connecticut are male bodied. In Australia, newguidelines encourage sporting organizationsto permit transgender and non-binary athletes to compete against members of the opposite sex. Laurel Hubbard wins gold in womens weightlifting in the Pacific Games, to the dismayof the president of Samoa.

The International Olympic Commissionconsidersrule changes to allow men to compete as women, but hits asnag. Womens rugby is toodangerousfor women once men get involved. A male runner is the female NCAAathlete of the week. But girlsspeak out: Female athletes around the globe feel that womens sports is no longersustainable.

Trans employment case goes to theSupreme Court. Trans guides come out for kids inQuebecandNew York City, as well as thegender unicorn. As domedical riskson chest binding, and thepushbackagainst that. Parental rights are chucked byAustralia, and courts in the US fromArizonatoTexastoVermont.

Puberty blockers arenota panacea. But kids are still beingfast trackedin the UK. Gender cliniciansrevealthey have tried to raise the alarm. Detransitioners start to make somenoise. Parents areaskedto resist the doctors.

It turns out the rhetoric about the trans murder epidemic isnot exactly true. Trans is apony tail. Not onlywomenget periods. Theresno such thingas biological sex. And not dating trans people isdiscriminatory.

More here:

The 2010s were the decade of trans - The Spectator USA

Seattle faith groups reckon with AI and what it means to be truly human – Seattle Times

On a recent Sunday at the Queen Anne Lutheran Church basement, parishioners sat transfixed as the Rev. Dr. Ted Peters discussed an unusual topic for an afternoon assembly: Can technology enhance the image of God?

Peters discussion focused on a relatively new philosophical movement. Its followers believe humans willtranscend their physical and mental limitations with wearable and implantable devices.

The movement, called transhumanism, claims that in the future, humans will be smarter and stronger and may even overcome aging and death through developments in fields such as biotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI).

What does it mean to be truly human? Peters asked in a voice that boomed throughout the church basement, in a city that boasts one of the worlds largest tech hubs. The visiting reverend urged the 30 congregants in attendance to consider the question during a time when being human sounds optional to some people.

Its sad; it makes me feel a lot of grief, a congregant said, shaking her head in disappointment.

Organized religions have long served as an outlet for humans to explore existential questions about their place in the universe, the nature of consciousness and free will. But as AI blurs the lines between the digital and physical worlds, fundamental beliefs about the essence of humanity are now called into question.

While public discourse around advanced technologies has mostly focused on changes in the workforce and surveillance, religious followers say the deeper implications of AI could be soul-shifting.

It doesnt surpriseJames Wellman, a University of Washington professor and chair of the Comparative Religion Program, that people of faith are interested in AI. Religious observers place their faith in an invisible agent known as God, whom they perceive as benevolent and helpful in their lives. The use of technology evokes a similar phenomenon, such as Apples voice assistant Siri, who listens and responds to them.

That sounds an awful lot like what people do when they think about religion, Wellman said.

When Dr. Daniel Peterson became the pastor of the Queen Anne Lutheran Church three years ago, he hoped to explore issues meaningful both to his congregants and to secular people.

Petersons fascination with AI, as a lifelong science-fiction fan, belies a skepticism in the ubiquity of technology: Hes opted out of Amazons voice assistant Alexa in his house and said he gets nervous about cameras on cellphones and computers.

He became interested in looking at AI from a spiritual dimension after writing an article last year aboutthe depiction of technologies such as droidsin Star Wars films. In Petersons eyes, artificially intelligent machines in the films areequipped with a sense of mission that enables them to think and act like humans without needing to be preprogrammed.

His examination of AI yielded more questions than answers: What kind of bias or brokenness are we importing in the artificial intelligence were designing? Peterson pondered. If AI developed consciousness, what sort of philosophical and theological concerns does that raise?

Peterson invited his church and surrounding community to explore these questions and more in the three-part forum called Will AI Destroy Us?, which kicked off with a conversation held by Carissa Schoenick from the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, followed by Peters discussion on transhumanism, and concluded with Petersons talk on his own research around AI in science-fiction films.

Held from late September to early October, the series sought to fillwhat Peterson called a silence among faith leaders about the rise of AI. Peterson and other religious observers are now eager to take part in a new creation story of sorts: Local initiatives held in places of worship and educational institutions are positioning Seattle as a testing ground for the intersection of AI and religion.

The discussion on transhumanism drew members of the community unaffiliated with the church, including David Brenner, the board chair of Seattle-based organization AI and Faith. The consortium membership spans across belief systems and academic institutions in an effort to bring major religions into the discussion around the ethics of AI, and how to create machines that evoke human flourishing and avoids unnecessary, destructive problems, Brenner said in an interview at the church. As Brenner spoke, a few congregants remained in the basement to fervently chat about the symposium.

The questions that are being presented by AI are fundamental life questions that have now become business [ones], said Brenner, a retired lawyer. Values includinghuman dignity, privacy, free will, equality and freedom are called into question through the development of machines.

Should robots ever have rights, or is it like giving your refrigerator rights even if they can function just like us? Brenner said.

Religious leaders around the world are starting to weigh in. Last April, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission the public-policy section of the Southern Baptist Convention published a set of guidelines on AI adoption that affirms the dominion of humans and encourages the minimization of human biases in technology. It discourages the creation of machines that take over jobs, relegating humans to a life of leisure devoid of work, wrote the authors.

In a speech to a Vatican conference in September, Pope Francis echoed the guidelines sentiment by urging tech companies and diplomats to deploy AI in an ethical manner that ensures machines dont replace human workers. If mankinds so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest, he said, according to The Associated Press.

On the other hand, some faith perspectives have cropped up in recent years that hold AI at the center of their value systems. Former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski formed Way of the Future church in 2017 with the aim of creating a peaceful transition into an imminent world where machines surpass human capabilities. The churchs website argues thathumanrights should be extended to machines, and that we should clear the path for technology to take charge as it grows in intelligence.

We believe it may be important for machines to see who is friendly to their cause and who is not, the websitewarns.

But Yasmin Ali, a practicing Muslim and AI and Faith member, has seen AI used as a tool for good and bad. While Ali believes technology can make peoples lives easier, she has also seen news reports and heard stories from her community about such tools being used to profile members of marginalized communities. China, for instance, has used facial-recognition technology to surveil Uighur Muslim minorities in the western region, according to a recent New York Times investigation.

I think we need to get more diversity with the developers who provide AI, so they can get diverse thoughts and ideas into the software, Ali said. The Bellevue-based company she founded called Skillspire strives to do just that by training diverse workers in tech courses such as coding and cybersecurity.

We have to make sure that those values of being human goes into what were building, Ali said. Its like teaching kids you have to be polite, disciplined.

Back at Queen Anne Lutheran, congregants expressed hope that the conversation would get the group closer to understanding and making peace with changes in society, just as churches have done for hundreds of years.

Bainbridge Island resident Monika Aring believes the rise of AI calls for an ongoing inquiry at faith-based places of worship on the role of such technologies. She shared the dismay she felt when her friend, a pastor of another congregation, said the church has largely become irrelevant.

It mustnt be. This is the time for us to have these conversations, she said. I think we need some kind of moral compass,one that ensures humans and the Earth continue to thrive amid the advancement of AI.

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Seattle faith groups reckon with AI and what it means to be truly human - Seattle Times

Transhumanism – Britannica.com

Transhumanism, social and philosophical movement devoted to promoting the research and development of robust human-enhancement technologies. Such technologies would augment or increase human sensory reception, emotive ability, or cognitive capacity as well as radically improve human health and extend human life spans. Such modifications resulting from the addition of biological or physical technologies would be more or less permanent and integrated into the human body.

The term transhumanism was coined by English biologist and philosopher Julian Huxley in his 1957 essay of the same name. Huxley referred principally to improving the human condition through social and cultural change, but the essay and the name have been adopted as seminal by the transhumanist movement, which emphasizes material technology. Huxley held that, although humanity had naturally evolved, it was now possible for social institutions to supplant evolution in refining and improving the species. The ethos of Huxleys essayif not its lettercan be located in transhumanisms commitment to assuming the work of evolution, but through technology rather than society.

The movements adherents tend to be libertarian and employed in high technology or in academia. Its principal proponents have been prominent technologists like American computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil and scientists like Austrian-born Canadian computer scientist and roboticist Hans Moravec and American nanotechnology researcher Eric Drexler, with the addition of a small but influential contingent of thinkers such as American philosopher James Hughes and Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom. The movement has evolved since its beginnings as a loose association of groups dedicated to extropianism (a philosophy devoted to the transcendence of human limits). Transhumanism is principally divided between adherents of two visions of post-humanityone in which technological and genetic improvements have created a distinct species of radically enhanced humans and the other in which greater-than-human machine intelligence emerges.

The membership of the transhumanist movement tends to split in an additional way. One prominent strain of transhumanism argues that social and cultural institutionsincluding national and international governmental organizationswill be largely irrelevant to the trajectory of technological development. Market forces and the nature of technological progress will drive humanity to approximately the same end point regardless of social and cultural influences. That end point is often referred to as the singularity, a metaphor drawn from astrophysics and referring to the point of hyperdense material at the centre of a black hole which generates its intense gravitational pull. Among transhumanists, the singularity is understood as the point at which artificial intelligence surpasses that of humanity, which will allow the convergence of human and machine consciousness. That convergence will herald the increase in human consciousness, physical strength, emotional well-being, and overall health and greatly extend the length of human lifetimes.

The second strain of transhumanism holds a contrasting view, that social institutions (such as religion, traditional notions of marriage and child rearing, and Western perspectives of freedom) not only can influence the trajectory of technological development but could ultimately retard or halt it. Bostrom and British philosopher David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association in 1998 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with those social institutions to promote and guide the development of human-enhancement technologies and to combat those social forces seemingly dedicated to halting such technological progress.

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Transhumanism - Britannica.com

Transhumanism | Conspiracy School

Transhumanism is a recent movement that extols mans right to shape his own evolution, by maximizing the use of scientific technologies, to enhance human physical and intellectual potential. While the name is new, the idea has long been a popular theme of science fiction, featured in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Bade Runner, the Terminator series, and more recently, The Matrix, Limitless, Her and Transcendence.

However, as its adherents hint at in their own publications, transhumanism is an occult project, rooted in Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, and derived from the Kabbalah, which asserts that humanity is evolving intellectually, towards a point in time when man will become God. Modeled on the medieval legend of the Golem and Frankenstein, they believe man will be able to create life itself, in the form of living machines, or artificial intelligence.

Spearheaded by the Cybernetics Group, the project resulted in both the development of the modern computer and MK-Ultra, the CIAs mind-control program. MK-Ultra promoted the mind-expanding potential of psychedelic drugs, to shape the counterculture of the 1960s, based on the notion that the shamans of ancient times used psychoactive substances, equated with the apple of the Tree of Knowledge.

And, as revealed in the movie Lucy, through the use of smart drugs, and what transhumanists call mind uploading, man will be able to merge with the Internet, which is envisioned as the end-point of Kabbalistic evolution, the formation of a collective consciousness, or Global Brain. That awaited moment is what Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, refers to as The Singularly. By accumulating the total of human knowledge, and providing access to every aspect of human activity, the Internet will supposedly achieve omniscience, becoming the God of occultism, or the Masonic All-Seeing Eye of the reverse side of the American dollar bill.

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Transhumanism | Conspiracy School

Transhumanism Is TemptingUntil You Remember Inspector Gadget …

Imagine a man with a Swiss Army knife for a body. His arms and legs can extend in any direction, bend into any shape, and move at extraordinary speeds. His spine can elongate into a helicopter, his hands can turn into an almost unlimited number of tools, and his feet can turn into ice skates, roller blades, and more.

This is some transhumanists dream, a future where we can completely trick out our bodies and transcend the limitations of human biology. Its also a description of what the title character from the 1983 cartoon Inspector Gadget can do.

Rose Eveleth is an Ideas contributor at WIRED and the creator and host of Flash Forward, a podcast about possible (and not so possible) futures.

For those who arent familiar with the cartoon, the premise is simple: Inspector Gadget is, as his name implies, an inspector, or detective. Hes also a walking gadget, who can turn his body into nearly anything. And yet, with all that power, Gadget cant solve a single mystery. Every episode Gadget is called upon by his boss Chief Quimby to help solve a crime, nearly all of which are perpetrated by the villain Dr. Claw. For some reason or another, Gadget is always accompanied by his 10-year-old niece, Penny, and her dog Brain. And despite being equipped with every tool he could possibly need, its the brilliant Penny, a completely boring noncyborg, who saves the day every time.

Sure, the cartoon (and subsequent film adaptations) are over the top and ridiculous. But our hapless detective can teach us something about the ways we think about bodies, bionics, data, and the future of human-machine interfaces. Gadgets antics poke real holes in the fantasies that some transhumanists and body hackers have about how the body works, and what we might be able to ask it to do.

Early in the first episode of Inspector Gadget (Monster Lake) theres a scene that establishes the entire premise of the show. While our titular Gadget tries to find the instruction manual for the car hes driving, to deal with the overheating engine (in fact, the car is on fire because an evil robot spewed flames at it), he takes his hands off the wheel. Penny, as will become a recurring theme in the show, saves the day by actually paying attention to her surroundings, and noticing that the car is about to fly off a cliff. She grabs the wheel and averts disaster, completely unbeknownst to her bionic uncle. Gadget has seemingly unlimited physical resources at his disposal, but cannot use them to save his life (literally).

It is in scenes like this that I think of two things: Three Mile Island and butter production in Bangladesh. Let me explain. The former is the biggest nuclear meltdown in American history. The latter is a spurious economic predictor proposed in 1998 to poke fun at forecasting markets. But theyre tied together by the same thing that dooms Gadget: an excess of information. Three Mile Island (like Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents) happened for a variety of reasonslax regulations, slashed budgets, overworked employees, scientific rivalriesbut during the most critical moments of the disaster, it was marked by information overload. The control panel at the nuclear plant was designed to display all kinds of data, but there was no way the operators could keep track of the whole system at once. In a sea of signals, you can miss the most important ones.

Or, you can see one that means nothing at all, as in the case of butter production in Bangladesh, a signal that economist David Leinweber described in 1998. According to his calculations, three things could explain the performance of the S&P 500 with 99 percent accuracy: American cheese production, the Bangladeshi sheep population, and butter production in Bangladesh. Leinweber was intentionally poking fun at the methods he employed, arguing that with enough data but insufficient context you can correlate almost anything. At first, Leinweber wasnt even going to publish the work, he simply thought it was a funny trick. But then, reporters picked up on it, and it has found its way into the curriculum at the Stanford Business School and elsewhere, he writes in the paper he did eventually publish. Mark Twain spoke of lies, damn lies and statistics. In this paper, we offer all three, he writes.

The point here is that more data doesnt mean much if you cant do something useful with it. You can have all the data in the world and be just as useless as Inspector Gadget. Today, in conversations about AI people talk about the rise in computing power, the rise in giant data sets, and how those two things will inevitably lead to super-powerful systems. But theres a step missing in those arguments, and its a crucial, difficult, and time-consuming one: If all that data isnt labeled or organized in a meaningful way, even the greatest supercomputer cant do meaningful work with it. (This is why youre still asked to train the algorithms with a captcha any time you sign up for a newsletter, for example. These data sets often need human eyeballs and brains to work on them, and those are usually pretty expensive.)

This doesnt just apply to data. More tools, as any overexcited new home chef can tell you, dont make you a better cook. Inspector Gadget has, it seems, every possible piece of gadgetry at his disposal, but he cant see the forest through the bionic trees. Penny, on the other hand, undistracted by an endless number of technological choices, remains clear-eyed to save the day.

Penny is not completely untechnological. She is, in fact, a brilliant inventor in her own right. In many episodes she builds and deploys devices to help solve the casea radar system, a long-range camera, a smart watch. But where Gadget has technology embedded within him as a bodily element, and as such has less than perfect control over it, Penny uses technology as a tool outside her body.

Were the creators of Inspector Gadget trying to poke fun at the notion of Cartesian duality? Who can say, really. But the location of the technology here highlights the way we think about integrating our machines with our inventions.

The body as machine analogy dates back to at least the industrial revolution, when the idea that the body might be like the machines we were creating took hold. As Randolphe Nesse, a professor at Arizona State University, wrote in his essay The Body Is Not a Machine, The metaphor of body as a machine provided a ladder that allowed biology to bring phenomena up from a dark pit of mysterious forces into the light where organic mechanisms can be analyzed as if they are machines. The analogy proved valuable to evolve our understanding of the body.

Now, this body as machine trope is the well from which much of current-day body hacking springs. If the body is a machine, if the brain is a computer, if muscles are simply pulley systems, then we can go in and tinker at will. We can create Inspector Gadget because we can create computers and Boston Dynamics robots and spaceships. But the body is not a machine. It does not behave like one. We did not invent it and we mostly cannot program it. Its parts are not plug-and-play, nor are they discrete. And many researchers and writers have highlighted how our insistence on this model is actually hurting progress. In psychiatry, thinking about the mind as a machine has led to a debacle about diagnosis, writes Nesse.

As a (reluctant) tech reporter, I get a lot of press releases for products that only work if you assume the body functions like a device. If we could just measure things more accurately, these pitches argue, we could solve eating disorders, infertility, chronic pain, depressionthe list goes on. Silicon Valley tech gurus are all in on biohacking their bodies just like they growth hacked their startups. The company Daysy claimed that it could help people prevent pregnancy by measuring body temperaturewhen your body creates X signal, we know its doing Y thing. Daysy claimed that using this method it could identify whether a user was fertile with 99.4 percent accuracy. Turns out the paper Daysy was using as the basis for that claim was recently retracted.

Body-as-machine fantasies also imagine that the technology will work as we hope, every time. But anybody whos ever used, well, any kind of device can tell you that thats not true. Inspector Gadgets entire comedic repertoire (unbeknownst to him of course) lies in exactly these failures. His gadget arms extend, but wont contract, his coat inflates when he doesnt want it to, his feet turn to roller skates when he wanted skis. His existence makes plain the ridiculousness of assuming that something like Robocop could truly happena seamless, perfectly efficient blend of man and machine.

People who use prosthetic devices know this all too well. Many people who are initially outfitted with electronic prosthetic hands that are state of the art, for example, wind up going back to hooks and body-powered prosthetics because they obey their more simple, muscular commands better and are less likely to break. Jillian Weiss writes in her essay Common Cyborg, I am not impressed with their tech, which they call 3C98-3, and which I am wearing, a leg that whirs and clicks, a socket that will not fit unless I stay in the weight range of 100 to 105 pounds. I am 88 percent charged in basic mode and I have taken 638,402 steps on this leg. The last one they gave me was a lemon. Maybe this feeling of trial and error, repetition and glitch, is part of the cyborg condition and, by extension, the disabled condition.

Its comforting to think of the body as a machine we can trick out. It helps us ignore the strange fleshy aches that come with having a meat cage. It makes a fickle systemone we truly dont understandfeel conquerable. To admit that the body (and mind that sits within it) might be far more complex than our most delicate, intricate inventions endangers all kinds of things: the medical industrial complex, the wellness industry, countless startups. But it might also open up new doors for better relationships with our bodies too: Disability scholars have long argued that the way we see bodies as fixable ultimately serves to further marginalize people who will never have the standard operating system, no matter how many times their parts are replaced or tinkered with.

There is another scene in the first episode of Inspector Gadget that makes clear the distinction between Penny and Gadget. While Penny uses her radar system to detect the mechanical monster in the lake, Gadget has deduced that the scientist they have been charged with protecting must be hiding up a tree, and is walking along the lake shouting for the professor to come down. He is quite literally barking up the wrong tree. Id argue that the tech industrys current fixation with the body as a hackable device is exactly that.

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Transhumanism Is TemptingUntil You Remember Inspector Gadget ...

Transhumanism – RationalWiki

You know what they say the modern version of Pascal's Wager is? Sucking up to as many Transhumanists as possible, just in case one of them turns into God. Julie from Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

Transhumanism (or H+), an intellectual movement, is greatly influenced by science fiction and presents an idealistic point of view of what technology could do for humanity in the future, not what it can do; it's all hypothetical.[1] Transhumanism explores the benefits and repercussions of what technology could do for humanity; however, it assumes the technological boundaries are nonexistent.[2]

How plausible is transhumanism? In the 1930s, many sensible people were sure human beings would never get to the Moon and that was just one of many predictions that turned out incorrect.[3] Early 21st century people do not know one way or the other what will be possible in the future. However, the scientific claims of transhumanism still need to be examined critically, because some of these technoscientific prophecies may not be plausible; after we got to the moon, people expected we'd have a permanent colony there by the end of the century.[4]

While frequently dismissed as mere speculation at best by most rationalists[5] (especially in light of the many failures of artificial intelligence), transhumanism is a strongly-held belief among many computer geeks, notably synthesizer and accessible computing guru Ray Kurzweil, a believer in the "technological singularity," where technology evolves beyond humanity's current capacity to understand or anticipate it, and Sun Microsystems founder and Unix demigod Bill Joy, who believes the inevitable result of AI research is the obsolescence of humanity.[6]

Certain recent technological advances are making the possibility of the realization of transhumanism appear more plausible: Scientists funded by the military developed an implant that can translate motor neuron signals into a form that a computer can use, thus opening the door for advanced prosthetics capable of being manipulated like biological limbs and producing sensory information.[7] This is on top of the earlier development of cochlear implants, which translate sound waves into nerve signals; they are often called "bionic ears."[8]

Even DIY transhumanism or 'biohacking' is becoming an option, with people installing magnetic implants, allowing them to feel magnetic and electric fields.[9] Others have taken to wearing belts of magnets, in order to always be able to find magnetic north. Prosthetic limbs with some level of touch are also now being developed, a major milestone. [10]One notable individual whose received magnetic finger implants is Zoe Quinn; [11] the current scientific consensus seems unclear, although humans are not thought to have a magnetic sense, there is a cryptochrome protein in the eye which could potentially make humans capable of Magnetoreception, like certain other mammals such as mice and cows appear to be. [12]

"Whole brain emulation" (WBE) is a term used by transhumanists to refer to, quite obviously, the emulation of a brain on a computer. While this is no doubt a possibility, it encounters two problems that keep it from being a certainty anytime in the near future.

The first is a philosophical objection: For WBE to work, "strong AI" (i.e. AI equivalent to or greater than human intelligence) must be attainable. A number of philosophical objections have been raised against strong AI, generally contending either that the mind or consciousness is not computable or that a simulation of consciousness is not equivalent to true consciousness (whatever that is). There is still controversy over strong AI in the field of philosophy of mind.[13]

A second possible objection is technological: WBE may not defy physics, but the technology to fully simulate a human brain (in the sense meant by transhumanists, at least) is a long way away. Currently, no computer (or network of computers) is powerful enough to simulate a human brain. Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain Project, estimates that simulating a brain would require 500 petabytes of data for storage and that the power required to run the simulation would cost about $3 billion annually. (However, in 2008, he optimistically predicted this it would be possible ten years from 2008.)[14]) In addition to technological limitations in computing, there are also the limits of neuroscience. Neuroscience currently relies on technology that can only scan the brain at the level of gross anatomy (e.g., fMRI, PET). Forms of single neuron imaging (SNI) have been developed recently, but they can only be used on animal subjects (usually rats) because they destroy neural tissue.[15]

First, let me say that Im all in favor of research on aging, and I think science has great potential to prolong healthy livesand Im all for that. But I think immortality, or even a close approximation to it, is both impossible and undesirable.

Another transhumanist goal is mind uploading, which is one way they claim[17][18] we will be able to achieve immortality. Aside from the problems with WBE listed above, mind uploading suffers a philosophical problem, namely the "swamp man problem." That is, will the "uploaded" mind be "you" or simply a copy or facsimile of your mind? However, one possible way round this problem would be via incremental replacement of parts of the brain with their cybernetic equivalents (the patient being awake during each operation). Then there is no "breaking" of the continuity of the individual's consciousness, and it becomes difficult for proponents of the "swamp man" hypothesis to pinpoint exactly when the individual stops being "themselves." It does, however, run directly into a similar problem, the "Ship of Theseus" problem: when all of the brain parts are replaced, is it still fundamentally the same as the original?

Cryonics is another favorite of many transhumanists. In principle, cryonics is not impossible, but the current form of it is based largely on hypothetical future technologies and costs substantial amounts of money.

Fighting aging and extending life expectancy is possible the field that studies aging and attempts to provide suggestions for anti-aging technology is known as "biogerontology". Aubrey de Grey has proposed a number of treatments for aging. In 2005, 28 scientists working in biogerontology signed a letter to EMBO Reports pointing out that de Grey's treatments had never been demonstrated to work and that many of his claims for anti-aging technology were extremely inflated.[19] This article was written in response to a July 2005 EMBO reports article previously published by de Grey[20] and a response from de Grey was published in the same November issue.[21] De Grey summarizes these events in "The biogerontology research community's evolving view of SENS," published on the Methuselah Foundation website.[22]

Worst of all, some transhumanists outright ignore[citationneeded] what people in the fields they're interested in tell them; a few AI boosters, for example, believe that neurobiology is an outdated science because AI researchers can do it themselves anyway. They seem to have taken the analogy used to introduce the computational theory of mind, "the mind (or brain) is like a computer", and taken it literally. Of course, the mind/brain is not a computer in the usual sense.[23] Debates with such people can take on the wearying feel of a debate with a creationist or climate change denialist, as such people will stick to their positions no matter what. Indeed, many critics are simply dismissed as Luddites or woolly-headed romantics who oppose scientific and technological progress.[24]

Transhumanism has often been criticized for not taking ethical issues seriously on a variety of topics,[25] including life extension technology,[26] cryonics,[27] and mind uploading and other enhancements.[28][29] Francis Fukuyama (in his doctrinaire neoconservative days) caused a stir by naming transhumanism "the world's most dangerous idea."[30] One of Fukuyama's criticisms, that implementation of the technologies transhumanists push for will lead to severe inequality, is a rather common one.

A number of political criticisms of transhumanism have been made as well. Transhumanist organizations have been accused of being in the pocket of corporate and military interests.[31] The movement has been identified with Silicon Valley due to the fact that some of its biggest backers, such as Peter Thiel (of PayPal and Bitcoin fame), reside in the region.[32][33] Some writers see transhumanism as a hive of cranky and obnoxious techno-libertarianism.[34][35] The fact that Julian Huxley coined the term "transhumanism" and many transhumanists' obsession with constructing a Nietzschean ubermensch known as the "posthuman" has led to comparisons with eugenics.[36][31] Like eugenics, it has been characterized as a utopian political ideology.[37] Jaron Lanier slammed it as "cybernetic totalism".[38]

Some tension has developed between transhumanism and religion, although there are many secular liberal people who are skeptical or opposed to transhumanism as well.[citationneeded] Some transhumanists, generally being atheistic naturalists, see all religion as an impediment to scientific and technological advancement and some Christians oppose transhumanism because of its stance on cloning and genetic engineering and label it as a heretical belief system.[39] Other transhumanists, however, have attempted to extend an olive branch to Christians, [40] and the Christian Transhumanist Association group on Facebook has over 1,100 members.

Some religious transhumanists have tried to reconcile their religion and techno-utopian beliefs, calling for a "scientific theology."[41] There is even a Mormon transhumanist organization.[42] Ironically for the atheistic transhumanists, the movement has itself been characterized as a religion and its rhetoric compared to Christian apologetics.[43][44] Interestingly the word transhuman first appeared in Henry Francis Careys 1814 translation of Paradiso, the last book of the Divine Comedy as Dante ascends to heaven during the resurrection. [45]

The very small transhumanist political movement has gained momentum with Zoltan Istvan announcing his bid for US president, with the Transhumanist Party and other small political parties gaining support internationally.

The important thing about transhumanism is that while a lot of such predictions may in fact be possible (and may even be in their embryonic stages right now), a strong skeptical eye is required for any claimed prediction about the fields it covers. When evaluating such a claim, one will probably need a trip to a library (or Wikipedia, or a relevant scientist's home page) to get up to speed on the basics.[note 1]

A common trope in science fiction for decades is that the prospect of transcending the current form may be positive, as in Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End or negative, as in the film The Matrix, with its barely disguised salvationist theme, or the Terminator series of films, where humanity has been essentially replaced by machine life. Change so radical elicits fear and thus it is unsurprising that many of the portrayals of transhumanism in popular culture are negative. The cyberpunk genre deals extensively with the theme of a transhumanist society gone wrong.

On closer inspection, this should not be surprising. Since transhumanism is ambitious about conquering age-related illnesses (extropianism), death (immortalism), ecological damage (technogaianism), gender differences (postgenderism) and suffering (abolitionism), a fictional world where this has already been achieved leaves a story with few plot devices to exploit. Additionally, it could be hard for the public to identify with flawless, post-human characters.

Among the utopian visions of transhumanism are those found in the collaborative online science fiction setting Orion's Arm. Temporally located in the post-singularity future, 10,000 years from now, Orion's Arm is massively optimistic about genetic engineering, continued improvements in computing and materials science. Because only technology which has been demonstrated to be impossible is excluded, even remotely plausible concepts has a tendency to be thrown in. At the highest end of the scale is artificial wormhole creation, baby universes and inertia without mass.[46] Perhaps the only arguably positive depiction of transhumanism in video games is the Megaman ZX series where the line between human and reploids has begun to blur. Defining at what point the definition of the singularity was met in the centuries long Megaman timeline can be a useful way of illustrating how nebulous the terminology is during a debate.

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Transhumanism - RationalWiki

What is Transhumanism? – GenSix Productions

The title of this years True Legends Conference is Transhumanism and the Hybrid Age. For the followers of Steve Quayle, Timothy Alberino and Tom Horn, these might be familiar terms, but the importance of the topic deserves a clear understanding by all. So what exactly is transhumanism? And for that matter, what is a hybrid?

Transhumanism is defined as the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology. Of course, this sounds admirable. Who among us does not want to move toward the goal of eliminating human pain with ever increasing intelligence? But transhumanism is much more than that. With the unending surge in biological know-how, we now have the ability to redefine what it means to be human. Through tools like artificial intelligence, robotics and especially genetics, science is playing a very high-stakes game in the homo sapien sandbox. The end result of this game will have massive implications for future generations.

A quick internet search of the term transhumanism reveals a host of good intentions. Phrases such as broadening human potential, overcoming aging and cognitive shortcomings, and eliminating suffering decorate articles highlighting the possibilities at our fingertips. Breakthroughs like thought-controlled robotic limbsor even regrowing natural limbsseem to make the decision to proceed a no-brainer. If we can do it, we must, as long as were careful, they say. An obligatory word of warning is usually inserted somewhere among the celebratory jargon about how we must never misuse these technologiesas if mankind would ever do such a thing? The question is; Are those who rule over us responsible enough to wield such power?

The power of our technology is being concentrated into the hands of the technocratic elite, and there is more at stake than the Terminator scenarios portrayed in Hollywood. There are deeper spiritual consequences underlying the transhumanist agenda, consequences that can have eternal ramifications. And this is why Steve Quayle and Timothy Alberino have decided to address the topic of Transhumanism and the Hybrid Age in this years True Legends Conference.

This raises another question: What exactly is a hybrid? The official definition reads as follows: a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture. In our current context, would having a robotic arm make you a hybrid? Would this be a bad thing? I would not want to tell people needing a limb that they cannot have it for either their own good or the good of mankind. Nor deny the blind sight, or the diseased a cure via some amazing biotechnological breakthrough. Thats what makes this such a sticky issue. The cryptic phraseology in Genesis concerning Noah being perfect in his generations also gives me great pause. How is it that all flesh became corrupt in the pre-flood world? Was the rest of the worlds population a hybrid mix of some kind, an unholy amalgamation of beast, man and tech?

We are fast approaching an irreversible tipping point that will radically change society as we know it, and fundamentally redefine what it means to be a human being.

Darrin GeisingerTrue Legends 2018 Conference Coordinator

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What is Transhumanism? - GenSix Productions

Elevating the Human Condition – Humanity+ What does it mean …

What does it mean to be human in a technologically enhanced world? Humanity+ is a 501(c)3 international nonprofit membership organization that advocates the ethical use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, to expand human capacities. In other words, we want people to be better than well. This is the goal of transhumanism.

Humanity+ Advocates for Safe and Ethical Use: Technologies that intervene with human physiology for curing disease and repairing injury have accelerated to a point in which they also can increase human performance outside the realms of what is considered to be normal for humans. These technologies are referred to as emerging and speculative and include artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, nanomedicine, biotechnology, genetic engineering, stem cell cloning, and transgenesis, for example. Other technologies that could extend and expand human capabilities outside physiology include artificial intelligence, artificial general intelligence, robotics, and brain-computer integration, which form the domain of bionics, uploading, and could be used for developing whole body prosthetics. Because these technologies, and their respective sciences and strategic models, such as blockchain, would take the human beyond the normal state of existence, society, including bioethicists and others who advocate the safe use of technology, have shown concern and uncertainties about the downside of these technologies and possible problematic and dangerous outcomes for our species.

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transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics, & Facts …

Transhumanism, social and philosophical movement devoted to promoting the research and development of robust human-enhancement technologies. Such technologies would augment or increase human sensory reception, emotive ability, or cognitive capacity as well as radically improve human health and extend human life spans. Such modifications resulting from the addition of biological or physical technologies would be more or less permanent and integrated into the human body.

The term transhumanism was coined by English biologist and philosopher Julian Huxley in his 1957 essay of the same name. Huxley referred principally to improving the human condition through social and cultural change, but the essay and the name have been adopted as seminal by the transhumanist movement, which emphasizes material technology. Huxley held that, although humanity had naturally evolved, it was now possible for social institutions to supplant evolution in refining and improving the species. The ethos of Huxleys essayif not its lettercan be located in transhumanisms commitment to assuming the work of evolution, but through technology rather than society.

The movements adherents tend to be libertarian and employed in high technology or in academia. Its principal proponents have been prominent technologists like American computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil and scientists like Austrian-born Canadian computer scientist and roboticist Hans Moravec and American nanotechnology researcher Eric Drexler, with the addition of a small but influential contingent of thinkers such as American philosopher James Hughes and Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom. The movement has evolved since its beginnings as a loose association of groups dedicated to extropianism (a philosophy devoted to the transcendence of human limits). Transhumanism is principally divided between adherents of two visions of post-humanityone in which technological and genetic improvements have created a distinct species of radically enhanced humans and the other in which greater-than-human machine intelligence emerges.

The membership of the transhumanist movement tends to split in an additional way. One prominent strain of transhumanism argues that social and cultural institutionsincluding national and international governmental organizationswill be largely irrelevant to the trajectory of technological development. Market forces and the nature of technological progress will drive humanity to approximately the same end point regardless of social and cultural influences. That end point is often referred to as the singularity, a metaphor drawn from astrophysics and referring to the point of hyperdense material at the centre of a black hole which generates its intense gravitational pull. Among transhumanists, the singularity is understood as the point at which artificial intelligence surpasses that of humanity, which will allow the convergence of human and machine consciousness. That convergence will herald the increase in human consciousness, physical strength, emotional well-being, and overall health and greatly extend the length of human lifetimes.

The second strain of transhumanism holds a contrasting view, that social institutions (such as religion, traditional notions of marriage and child rearing, and Western perspectives of freedom) not only can influence the trajectory of technological development but could ultimately retard or halt it. Bostrom and British philosopher David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association in 1998 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with those social institutions to promote and guide the development of human-enhancement technologies and to combat those social forces seemingly dedicated to halting such technological progress.

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transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics, & Facts ...

Transhumanism | Future | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Transhumanism (sometimes abbreviated >H or H+) is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of new sciences and technologies to enhance human cognitive and physical abilities and ameliorate what it regards as undesirable and unnecessary aspects of the human condition, such as disease, aging, and death. Transhumanist thinkers study the possibilities and consequences of developing and using human enhancement techniques and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Possible dangers, as well as benefits, of powerful new technologies that might radically change the conditions of human life are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.

Although the first known use of the term "transhumanism" dates from 1957, the contemporary meaning is a product of the 1980s, when a group of scientists, artists, and futurists based in the United States began to organize what has since grown into the transhumanist movement. Transhumanist thinkers postulate that human beings will eventually be transformed into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".

The transhumanist vision of a profoundly transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters as well as critics from a wide range of perspectives. Transhumanism has been described by a proponent as the "movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity," while according to a prominent critic, it is the world's most dangerous idea.

In his 2005 article A History of Transhumanist Thought, philosopher Nick Bostrom locates transhumanism's roots in Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment. The Marquis de Condorcet, an eighteenth century French philosopher, is the first thinker whom he identifies as speculating about the use of medical science to extend the human life span. In the twentieth century, a direct and influential precursor to transhumanist concepts was J.B.S. Haldane's 1923 essay Daedalus: Science and the Future, which predicted that great benefits would come from applications of genetics and other advanced sciences to human biology.

Biologist Julian Huxley, brother of author Aldous Huxley (a childhood friend of Haldane's), appears to have been the first to use the actual word "transhumanism". Writing in 1957, he defined transhumanism as "man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature". This definition differs substantially from the one commonly in use since the 1980s.

The coalescence of an identifiable transhumanist movement began in the last decades of the twentieth century. In 1966, FM-2030 (formerly F.M. Esfandiary), a futurist who taught "new concepts of the Human" at The New School for Social Research in New York City, began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and world views transitional to "posthumanity" as "transhuman" (short for "transitory human"). In 1972, Robert Ettinger contributed to the popularization of the concept of "transhumanity" in his book Man into Superman. FM-2030 published the Upwingers Manifesto in 1973 to stimulate transhumanly conscious activism.

The first self-described transhumanists met formally in the early 1980s at the University of California, Los Angeles, which became the main center of transhumanist thought. Here, FM-2030 lectured on his "third way" futurist ideology. At the EZTV Media venue frequented by transhumanists and other futurists, Natasha Vita-More presented Breaking Away, her 1980 experimental film with the theme of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the earth's gravity as they head into space. FM-2030 and Vita-More soon began holding gatherings for transhumanists in Los Angeles, which included students from FM-2030's courses and audiences from Vita-More's artistic productions. In 1982, Vita-More authored the Transhumanist Arts Statement, and, six years later, produced the cable TV show TransCentury Update on transhumanity, a program which reached over 100,000 viewers.

In 1988, philosopher Max More founded the Extropy Institute and was the main contributor to a formal transhumanist doctrine, which took the form of the Principles of Extropy in 1990.[ In 1990, he laid the foundation of modern transhumanism by giving it a new definition:

"Transhumanism is a class of philosophies that seek to guide us towards a posthuman condition. Transhumanism shares many elements of humanism, including a respect for reason and science, a commitment to progress, and a valuing of human (or transhuman) existence in this life. [] Transhumanism differs from humanism in recognizing and anticipating the radical alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and technologies []." In 1998, philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), an organization with a liberal democratic perspective. In 1999, the WTA drafted and adopted The Transhumanist Declaration. The Transhumanist FAQ, prepared by the WTA, gave two formal definitions for transhumanism:

The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. The study of the ramifications, promises, and potential dangers of technologies that will enable us to overcome fundamental human limitations, and the related study of the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. A number of similar definitions have been collected by Anders Sandberg, an academic with a high profile in the transhumanist movement.

In 2006, the board of directors of the Extropy Institute made a decision to cease operations of the organization, stating that its mission was "essentially completed". This left the World Transhumanist Association as the leading international transhumanist organization.

For a list of notable individuals who have identified themselves, or been identified by others, as advocates of transhumanism, see the list of transhumanists.

While many transhumanist theorists and advocates seek to apply reason, science and technology for the purposes of reducing poverty, disease, disability and malnutrition around the globe, transhumanism is distinctive in its particular focus on the applications of technologies to the improvement of human bodies at the individual level. Many transhumanists actively assess the potential for future technologies and innovative social systems to improve the quality of all life, while seeking to make the material reality of the human condition fulfill the promise of legal and political equality by eliminating congenital mental and physical barriers.

Transhumanist philosophers argue that there not only exists an ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition but that it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a post-Darwinian phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change. To this end, transhumanists engage in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and evaluating possibilities for overcoming biological limitations. They draw on futures studies and various fields or subfields of science, philosophy, economics, history, and sociology. Unlike philosophers, social critics and activists who place a moral value on preservation of natural systems, transhumanists see the very concept of the "natural" as an obstacle to progress. In keeping with this, many prominent transhumanist advocates refer to transhumanism's critics on the political right and left jointly as "bioconservatives" or "bioluddites", the latter term alluding to the nineteenth century anti-industrialisation social movement that opposed the replacement of manual labor by machines.

Converging Technologies, a 2002 report exploring the potential for synergy among nano-, bio-, informational and cognitive technologies (NBIC) for enhancing human performance.While some transhumanists take a relatively abstract and theoretical approach to the perceived benefits of emerging technologies, others have offered specific proposals for modifications to the human body, including inheritable ones. Transhumanists are often concerned with methods of enhancing the human nervous system. Though some propose modification of the peripheral nervous system, the brain is considered the common denominator of personhood and is thus a primary focus of transhumanist ambitions. More generally, transhumanists support the convergence of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), and hypothetical future technologies such as simulated reality, artificial intelligence, mind uploading, and cryonics. Transhumanists believe that humans can and should use these technologies to become more than human. Transhumanists therefore support the recognition or protection of cognitive liberty, morphological freedom and procreative liberty as civil liberties, so as to guarantee individuals the choice of enhancing themselves and progressively become posthuman, which they see as the next significant evolutionary steps for the human species. Some speculate that human enhancement techniques and other emerging technologies may facilitate such a transformation by the midpoint of the twenty first century.

A 2002 report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, commissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce, contains descriptions and commentaries on the state of NBIC science and technology by major contributors to these fields. The report discusses potential uses of these technologies in implementing transhumanist goals of enhanced performance and health, and ongoing work on planned applications of human enhancement technologies in the military and in the rationalization of the human-machine interface in industry.

Some theorists, such as Raymond Kurzweil, believe that the pace of technological evolution is accelerating and that the next fifty years may yield not only radical technological advances but possibly a technological singularity, which may fundamentally change the nature of human beings. Transhumanists who foresee this massive technological change generally maintain that it is desirable. However, they also explore the possible dangers of extremely rapid technological change, and frequently propose options for ensuring that advanced technology is used responsibly. For example, Bostrom has written extensively on existential risks to humanity's future welfare, including risks that could be created by emerging technologies.

On a more practical level, as proponents of personal development and body modification, transhumanists tend to use existing technologies and techniques that supposedly improve cognitive and physical performance, while engaging in routines and lifestyles designed to improve health and longevity. Depending on their age, some transhumanists express concern that they will not live to reap the benefits of future technologies. However, many have a great interest in life extension practices, and funding research in cryonics in order to make the latter a viable option of last resort rather than remaining an unproven method. Regional and global transhumanist networks and communities with a range of objectives exist to provide support and forums for discussion and collaborative projects.

There is a variety of opinion within transhumanist thought. Many of the leading transhumanist thinkers hold complex and subtle views that are under constant revision and development. Some distinctive currents of transhumanism are identified and listed here in alphabetical order:

Although some transhumanists report a very strong sense of spirituality, they are for the most part secular. In fact, many transhumanists are either agnostics or atheists. A minority, however, follow liberal forms of Eastern philosophical traditions or, as with Mormon transhumanists, have merged their beliefs with established religions.

Despite the prevailing secular attitude, some transhumanists pursue hopes traditionally espoused by religions, such as immortality albeit a physical one. Several belief systems, termed new religious movements, originating in the late twentieth century, share with transhumanism the goals of transcending the human condition by applying technology to the alteration of the body (Ralism) and mind (Scientology). While most thinkers associated with the transhumanist movement focus on the practical goals of using technology to help achieve longer and healthier lives, some speculate that future understanding of neurotheology will enable humans to achieve control of altered states of consciousness and thus "spiritual" experiences. A continuing dialogue between transhumanism and faith was the focus of an academic seminar held at the University of Toronto in 2004.

The majority of transhumanists are materialists who do not believe in a transcendent human soul. Transhumanist personhood theory also argues against the unique identification of moral actors and subjects with biological humans, judging as speciesist the exclusion of nonhuman and part-human animals, and sophisticated machines, from ethical consideration. Many believe in the compatibility of human minds with computer hardware, with the theoretical implication that human consciousness may someday be transferred to alternative media.

One extreme formulation of this idea is Frank Tipler's proposal of the Omega Point. Drawing upon ideas in physics, computer science and physical cosmology, Tipler advanced the notion that the collapse of the Universe billions of years hence could create the conditions for the perpetuation of humanity as a simulation within a megacomputer. Cosmologist George Ellis has called Tipler's book "a masterpiece of pseudoscience", and Michael Shermer devoted a chapter of Why People Believe Weird Things to enumerating perceived flaws in Tipler's thesis.

For more details on this topic, see Transhumanism in fiction. Transhumanist themes have become increasingly prominent in various literary forms during the period in which the movement itself has emerged. Contemporary science fiction often contains positive renditions of technologically enhanced human life, set in utopian (especially techno-utopian) societies. However, science fiction's depictions of technologically enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many horrific or dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong.

The cyberpunk genre, exemplified by William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) and Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix (1985), has particularly been concerned with the modification of human bodies. Other novels dealing with transhumanist themes that have stimulated broad discussion of these issues include Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear, The Xenogenesis Trilogy (19871989) by Octavia Butler; the "Culture" novels (19872000) of Iain Banks; The Beggar's Trilogy (199094) by Nancy Kress; much of Greg Egan's work since the early 1990s, such as Permutation City (1994) and Diaspora (1997); The Bohr Maker (1995) by Linda Nagata; Extensa (2002) and Perfekcyjna niedoskonao (2003) by Jacek Dukaj; Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood; Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (2002); and The Possibility of an Island (Eng. trans. 2006) by Michel Houellebecq.

Fictional transhumanist scenarios have also become popular in other media during the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Such treatments are found in films (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979; Blade Runner, 1982; Gattaca, 1997), television series (the Ancients of Stargate SG-1, the Borg of Star Trek, the Nietzscheans of Andromeda), manga and anime (Ghost in the Shell), role-playing games (Transhuman Space) and computer games (Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, Command & Conquer). The fictional universe of the table top war game Warhammer 40,000 also makes use of genetic and cybernetic augmentation. Human characters of the Imperium often employ cybernetic devices, while the Space Marines are indeed posthuman. Many of these works are considered part of the cyberpunk genre or its postcyberpunk offshoot.

In addition to the work of Natasha Vita-More, mentioned above, transhumanism has been represented in the visual and performing arts by Carnal Art, a form of sculpture originated by the French artist Orlan that uses the body as its medium and plastic surgery as its method. The American performer Michael Jackson used technologies such as plastic surgery, skin-lightening drugs and hyperbaric oxygen treatment over the course of his career, with the effect of transforming his artistic persona so as to blur identifiers of gender, race and age. The work of the Australian artist Stelarc centers on the alteration of his body by robotic prostheses and tissue engineering. Other artists whose work coincided with the emergence and flourishing of transhumanism and who explored themes related to the transformation of the body are the Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramovic and the American media artist Matthew Barney. A 2005 show, Becoming Animal, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, presented exhibits by twelve artists whose work concerns the effects of technology in erasing boundaries between the human and non-human.

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Transhumanism – reddit

This is the premise of many dystopian plots. Gattaca is probably the most well known movie that presents this theme. The popular consensus is that such a technology would have disasterous effects: a vast lower class would be oppressed by an upper echelon of greed. Wealth inequality would rise dramatically. A form of discrimination more apalling than anything we know about would supersede racism and society would become elitist and authoritarian.

Or maybe not?

Let's forget for a moment that the potential of germline engineering to reduce suffering in humans and non-humans extends beyond intelligence boosts. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the technology does eventually get used to increase the intelligence of a special rich class. What then?

In fact, a technology that increases general intelligence has already been invented. The Flynn Effect refers to the well documented rise in average intelligence in the world during the 20th century, and continuing into the 21st century for some nations. This rise in intellligence was too short for it to be the result of natural selection. Instead, it is generally attributed to better nutrition science and medicine, among other technological advances. Just like in Gattaca, this technology was first introduced to the rich, which allowed them to get ahead of the rest. Only now are the benefits of this widespread phenomenon being shared relatively equally, but even now it is still highly dependent on one's level of income and accident of birth.

If you ask anyone educated in the matter whether it would be better to go back to the time before nutrition science was invented, they would probably look at you funny before promptly saying, "No." Why is that? One could imagine coming up with all sorts of rationalizations that might have looked really good ex ante for resisting nutrition science. If we consider the wealth inequality objection, we might even get a somewhat good case! That is, until you look at the evidence; from Our World In Data:

The available long-run evidence shows that in the past, only a small elite enjoyed living conditions that would not be described as 'extreme poverty' today. But with the onset of industrialization and rising productivity, the share of people living in extreme poverty started to decrease.

Now, to be fair, wealth inequality has been on the rise for the last 50 years. But so has the average living condition. Almost every metric that measures human quality of life has been on the rise. Wealth inequality only measures relative quality of life.

And I don't want to come off as overly pro-technology. Despite the subreddit, I don't believe in separating the world into two forces: nature as evil, and technology as good. It happens that nature is generally bad, and it happens that technology is generally good, but I don't want to be dogmatic. I just see people performing the exact opposite inference, and I find it absurd.

Would genetic engineering really be that bad? Or is this just another instance of the pro-nature, pro-status quo bias? I haven't completely made up my mind, but I'm pretty skeptical of the most alarming claims.

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Transhumanism - reddit

Transhumanism: The History of a Dangerous Idea: David …

Transhumanism is a recent movement that extols mans right to shape his own evolution, by maximizing the use of scientific technologies, to enhance human physical and intellectual potential. While the name is new, the idea has long been a popular theme of science fiction, featured in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, the Terminator series, and more recently, The Matrix, Limitless, Her and Transcendence.

However, as its adherents hint at in their own publications, transhumanism is an occult project, rooted in Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, and derived from the Kabbalah, which asserts that humanity is evolving intellectually, towards a point in time when man will become God. Modeled on the medieval legend of the Golem and Frankenstein, they believe man will be able to create life itself, in the form of living machines, or artificial intelligence.

Spearheaded by the Cybernetics Group, the project resulted in both the development of the modern computer and MK-Ultra, the CIAs mind-control program. MK-Ultra promoted the mind-expanding potential of psychedelic drugs, to shape the counterculture of the 1960s, based on the notion that the shamans of ancient times used psychoactive substances, equated with the apple of the Tree of Knowledge.

And, as revealed in the movie Lucy, through the use of smart drugs, and what transhumanists call mind uploading, man will be able to merge with the Internet, which is envisioned as the end-point of Kabbalistic evolution, the formation of a collective consciousness, or Global Brain. That awaited moment is what Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, refers to as The Singularly. By accumulating the total of human knowledge, and providing access to every aspect of human activity, the Internet will supposedly achieve omniscience, becoming the God of occultism, or the Masonic All-Seeing Eye of the reverse side of the American dollar bill.

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Transhumanism: The History of a Dangerous Idea: David ...