The Chronicles of Covid, or why we must kill the Great Reset Witch – The Conservative Woman

A snowy scene, Narnia

We must go as quietly as we can, said Mr Tumnus. The whole wood is full ofherspies. Even some of the trees are on her side.

Another snowy scene, a popular hillside in Somerset, January 2021

Its a Sunday and families living under lockdown are having fun near a remote car park, parents building snowmen with their children. Then a police car arrives and parks for a while. Similar scenes happen elsewhere in Britain. Why?

Since the end of the first lockdown in March 2020, this Somerset hillside has never been busier. It has become the go-to place to find some sort of normality.

The local hunt, for example, held a memorial gathering in one of the hills car parks before Christmas for a young lad killed in a car accident. They knew that such a gathering would not be allowed elsewhere.

Why are we all being forced to live like this? Why is the constabulary now becoming such a powerful presence throughout the land? (We couldnt summon any police when we needed them to stop an illegal rave on the same hillside years ago.)

Is it because there is a realisation that the public is losing respect for authority and more coercion will be needed to implement the global Build Back Better agenda?

Maybe the penny has begun to drop that there is insufficient support for fascism, even if it is re-labelled stakeholder capitalism?

Certainly in continental Europe there is growing resistance to Planet Lockdown, often of a violent nature. In Europe they have a better understanding of the nature of fascism, unlike in Britain where we lack historical experience of mass arrests, deportations and arbitrary shootings.

The parallels with the 1930s are, however, becoming obvious to the extent that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, used his contribution to the World Economic Forums annual Davos meeting last month to warn the world. In his view, the situation could develop in an unpredictable and uncontrolled manner and risks a fight of all against all.

Meanwhile, the WEF is trying to distance itself from any accusations that its Great Reset is a conspiracy that is masking some nefarious plan for world domination (?!)

But then its plans are hardly nefarious, given that the WEF is so blatant about its role in bringing together global leaders and mega-corporations to rebuild the world along sustainable lines.

Sadly for the WEF, its own benign belief in its motives is not shared universally. Of the 200,000-plus views of its latest YouTube video, it could muster only 1,500 likes compared with 19,000 dislikes and openly hostile messages in the comments below. Not exactly a good indicator of widespread support. The UK government would do well to take note.

While there might not be agreement about return to pre-Covid ways of living were it possible or whether change is necessary, neither is there any consensus on what form that change should take.

In particular, there is increasing cynicism about an elite group of globalists lecturing us on how to collectively improve life on the planet without destroying it. It does not sit well with the public that the same billionaires who form the WEF are those who have profiteered from their misery during the pandemic.

Mega-corporations and their supporters politicians, financiers, non-governmental organisations, etc also have zero credibility as eco-warriors.

They are more closely associated in the public mind with creating problems rather than solving them. Pollution and destructive business as usual have continued unabated under a cover story of environmentalism.

The examples of cobalt and lithium alone reveal the empty virtue-signalling in the pious rush for the windmills and solar panels that are the basis for the WEFs Build Back Better campaign.

Cobalt and lithium are widely used in electronics for energy storage, whether a solar panel or a mobile phone. Yet the way cobalt is mined (using child labour) is never discussed, nor is the damage to Chiles Atacama desert, where lithium extraction displaces the flamingos. The billionaires have failed so far to provide viable alternatives.

There is also nothing remotely sustainable about increasing our reliance on electricity. It would take only a coronal mass ejection a gigantic release of plasma and magnetic field from the sun to wipe out the National Grid, as Sir Oliver Letwin so eloquently pointed out in his March 2020 bookApocalypse How?It makes no sense that a British government continues to take us on the doomed path that WEF promotes.

History will not judge kindly a government that abandons its people in favour of the diktats of a foreign entity. Our government needs to learn the lesson of Brexit. The British people want their independence. It is the reason we as a nation have been willing to fight wars.

Now is the time for the Government to abandon Build Back Better, and focus instead on building back without the WEFs fake sustainability and its Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is synonymous only with yet more unemployment and misery.

A useful first step would be for the Government to restore hope, at the very least, to the lost generation. The traumatising of the young, and their consequent despair, is one of the most distressing aspects of the mishandling of the pandemic.

The lack of support for the most disadvantaged white working-class boys is nothing short of a scandal. The Government is sending a clear message that these children have no future in the technocratic world.

This attitude toward the disadvantaged speaks to C S Lewiss grim prophecies of the 1940s. In his novelThat Hideous Strength,he blames advances in technology for the reductions in industrial and agricultural workforces, with no mention of retraining.

Instead, a large, unintelligent population is now a deadweight. In his view the masses are therefore to disappear the human race is to become all technology.

In 1945, George Orwell wrote a review in theManchester Guardianof Lewiss novel. The title of the review was The Scientists Take Over.

He believed that Lewiss dystopian vision was realisable and that there could be a time when the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the gods, or even become a god himself.In effect, he was predicting transhumanism, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

At some point it will become obvious in the UK if the oppression we currently face is about keeping us safe from a virus, or about preparing us for life under the WEF reset.

The pandemic itself is likely to fade. Covid has now replaced seasonal flu in the official statistics, thus suggesting that it is no more deadly than a flu. Cases are on the decline. With Covid gone, what will be the excuse to bully us?

The narrative has already begun to change in the US. No sooner was it clear that Donald Trump would leave the White House, than theNew York Timesran an article suggesting that coronavirus will come to resemble the common cold and be no more than a minor annoyance,and the most draconian governors in California, New York and elsewhere began to lift restrictions.

It would seem that the pandemic had done its job: it left Trumps economy in ruins, and provided the perfect pretext for mail-in ballots and for keeping poll watchers at bay during the election count.

So, when can we expect a similar shift in the UK? Liberation cannot come quickly enough. We are fast turning into a nation of zombies. Nothing is working properly. People cant think straight. They demand vaccines in the hope of a return to normality, but fail to hear the Government telling them that nothing will change. The sunny uplands continue to recede.

We are now facing an unholy mess with a shrunken economy, no shiny new Fourth Industrial Revolution to fill the gap, and the potential for hordes of disaffected and disturbed masses to threaten us all.

Is this what is anticipated for us? We can only hope that there is no significance in the evidence coming from one part of Somerset, where an abandoned quarry is used for training police marksmen.

Locals tell me that the police have recently increased their use of the quarry and the barrage of shots can be heard more frequently over a wide distance. What hope is there?

Maybe, once it has sorted itself out, the US will once again help rescue us from fascism, as it did in the 1940s. My great-grandfather certainly believed in June 1940 that the US would rise to the occasion when he wrote to my grandmother from his hotel in Liverpool before setting sail for the States.

We were pleased to see the Americans when they did finally arrive. But more than 80 years later, perhaps such thoughts of rescue are more fiction than fact. Like Mr Tumnus, we may have to wait instead for The Last Battle for freedom to return, and who knows when that will be?

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The Chronicles of Covid, or why we must kill the Great Reset Witch - The Conservative Woman

A Closer Look at the AI Hype Machine: Who Really Benefits? – Common Dreams

The poet Richard Brautigan said that one day we would all be watched over by "machines of loving grace". It was a nice sentiment at the time. But I surmise Brautigan might have done a quick 180 if he was alive today. He would see how intelligent machines in general and AI in particular were being semi-weaponized or otherwise appropriated for purposes of a new kind of social engineering. He would also likely note how this process is usually positioned as something "good for humanity" in vague ways that never seem to be fully explained.

As both a technologist and a journalist, I find it very difficult to think of transhumanism and what I'll call the New Eugenics as anything less than deeply and literally dehumanizing.

The hits, as they say, just keep on coming. Recently I ran across an article advising recent college graduates looking for jobs that they had better be prepared to have their facial expressions scanned and evaluated by artificial intelligence programs during and after interviews.

An article in the publication "Higher Ed" warned that: "Getting a job increasingly requires going through an interview on an AI platformIf the proprietary technology [used to ] to evaluate the recordings concludes that a candidate does well in matching the demeanor, enthusiasm, facial expressions or word choice of current employees of the company, it recommends the candidate for the next round. If the candidate is judged by the software to be out of step, that candidate is not likely to move on."

If this were happening in China, of course, it would be much less surprising. You don't have to be a Harvard-trained psychiatrist to see that this kind of technology is violating some very basic human boundaries: how we think and feel and our innermost and private thoughts. And you don't have to be a political scientist to see that totalitarian societies are in the business of breaking down these boundaries for purposes of social and political control.

Facial recognition has already been implemented by some law enforcement agencies. Other technology being used for social control starts out in the corporate world and then migrates. Given the melding of corporate and government power that's taken place in the U.S. over the last few decades, what's impermissible in government now can get fully implemented in the corporate world and then in the course of time bleeds over to government use via outsourcing and other mechanisms. It's a nifty little shell game. This was the case with the overt collection of certain types of data on citizens which was expressly forbidden by federal law. The way around it was to have corporations to do the dirty work and then turn around and sell the data to various government entities. Will we see the same thing happen with artificial intelligence and its ability to pry into our lives in unprecedented ways?

There is a kind of quasi-worship of technology as a force majeure in humanity's evolution that puts AI at the center of human existence. This line of thinking is now linked to the principles of transhumanism, a set of values and goals being pushed by Silicon Valley elites. This warped vision of techno-utopianism assures us that sophisticated computers are inherently superior to humans. Implicit in this view is the notion that intelligence (and one kind of intelligence at that) is the most important quality in the vast array of attributes that are the essential qualities of our collective humanity and longstanding cultural legacies.

The corporate PR frontage for these "breakthroughs" is always the same: they will only be used for the highest purposes like getting rid of plastics in the oceans. But still the question remains: who will control or regulate the use of these man-made creatures?

The most hardcore transhumanists believe that our role is simply to step aside and assist in the creation of new life forms made possible by hooking up human brains to computers and the Internet, what they consider to be an evolutionary quantum leap. Unfortunately, people in powerful corporate positions like Ray Kurzweil, Google's Director of Engineering, and Elon Musk, founder of Neuralink, actually believe in these convoluted superhero mythologies. This line of thinking is also beginning to creep into the mainstream thanks to the corporate-driven hype put forth by powerful Silicon Valley companies who are pushing these ideas for profit and to maintain technology's ineluctable "more, better, faster" momentum.

The transhumanist agenda is a runaway freight train, barely mentioned in the mainstream media, but threatening to run over us all. In related "mad science" offshoot, scientists have succeeded in creating the first biological computer-based hybrids called Xenobotswhich the New York Times describes as "programmable organisms" that "live for only about a week". The corporate PR frontage for these "breakthroughs" is always the same: they will only be used for the highest purposes like getting rid of plastics in the oceans. But still the question remains: who will control or regulate the use of these man-made creatures?In the brave new world of building machines that can think and evolve on their own because they combine AI programming with biological programming, we have to ask where all this is headed. If machines are being used to evaluate us for job interviews, then why won't they be eventually used as police officers or judges? (In fact, Singapore is now using robotic dogs to police parks for Covid-related social distancing.)

As both a technologist and a journalist, I find it very difficult to think of transhumanism and what I'll call the New Eugenics as anything less than deeply and literally dehumanizing. In the aftermath of WWII, eugenics used to be widely reviled when Nazi scientists experimented with and so highly valued it. Now it's lauded as cutting edge.There are two ugly flies in this ointment. The first is the question of who directs and controls the AI machines being built. You can make a safe bet that it won't be you, your friends, or your neighbors but rather technocratic elites. The second is the fact that programmers, and their masters, the corporate Lords of Tech, are the least likely candidates to come up with the necessary wisdom to imbue AI with the deeper human qualities necessary to make it anything more than a force used for social and political control in conjunction with mass surveillance and other tools.

Another consideration is: how does politics fit into this picture? In the middle ages, one of the great power shifts that took place was from medieval rulers to the church. In the age of the enlightenment, another shift took place: from the church to the modern state. Now we are experiencing yet another great transition: a shift of power from state and federal political systems to corporations and, by extension, to the global elites that are increasingly exerting great influence on both, the 1 percenters that Bernie Sanders frequently refers to.

When considering the use of any new technology, the question should be asked: who does it ultimately serve? And to what extent are ordinary citizens allowed to express their approval or disapproval of the complex technological regimes being created that we all end up involuntarily depending upon?

These trends have political implications because they have happened in tandem with the neoliberal sleight of hand that began with President Reagan. Gradually anti-democratic policy changes over a period of decades allowed elites to begin the process of transferring public funds to private coffers. This was done under the neoliberal smokescreen of widely touted but socially hollow benefits such as privatization, outsourcing, and deregulation bolstered by nostrums such as "Government must get out of the way to let innovation thrive."

Behind the scenes, the use of advanced technology has played a strong role in enabling this transition but it did so out of the public's watchful eye. Now, it seems abundantly clear that technologies such as 5G, machine learning, and AI will continue to be leveraged by technocratic elites for the purposes of social engineering and economic gain. As Yuval Harari, one of transhumanism's most vocal proponents has stated: "Whoever controls these algorithms will be the real government."

If AI is allowed to begin making decisions that affect our everyday lives in the realms of work, play and business, it's important to be aware of who this technology serves: technologically sophisticated elites. We have been hearing promises for some time about how better advanced computer technology was going to revolutionize our lives by changing just about every aspect of them for the better. But the reality on the ground seems to be quite different than what was advertised. Yes, there are many areas where it can be argued that the use of computer and Internet technology has improved the quality of life. But there are just as many others where it has failed miserably. Healthcare is just one example. Here misguided legislation combined with an obsession with insurance company-mandated data gathering has created massive info-bureaucracies where doctors and nurses spend far too much time feeding patient data into a huge information databases where it often seems to languish. Nurses and other medical professionals have long complained that too much of their time is spent on data gathering and not enough time focusing on healthcare itself and real patient needs.

When considering the use of any new technology, the question should be asked: who does it ultimately serve? And to what extent are ordinary citizens allowed to express their approval or disapproval of the complex technological regimes being created that we all end up involuntarily depending upon? In a second "Gilded Age" where the power of billionaires and elites over our lives is now being widely questioned, what do we do about their ability to radically and undemocratically alter the landscape of our daily lives using the almighty algorithm?

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A Closer Look at the AI Hype Machine: Who Really Benefits? - Common Dreams

Into The Darkness Is A Promising VR Adventure With Boneworks-Like Physics – UploadVR

Into The Darkness, a new indie VR game from Cosmos Games, promises a compelling story involving transhumanism in the near future merged with exciting VR action-adventure gameplay that uses a Boneworks-like physics system.

Announced this week, the game will be available for PC VR in late 2021, developed by Vietnamese studio Cosmos Games and published by GameBoom VR and PlayWay.

The game takes place in a dystopian sci-fi setting where humans are trying to move consciousness into machines in order to live forever. Heres a summary of the story from Cosmos Games:

Humanity is trying to achieve immortality by transferring consciousness to machines. Transhumanism, however, is a dangerous path, and a poorly conducted experiment can end in a tragedy. As agent Frank, you are sent to one of the research facilities with which contact has been interrupted, and the previous agents never returned. Navigate through environments, solve the puzzle, engage the enemy to find out the dark secret behind the experiments.

You can sneak an early look at the games visuals and gameplay in the announcement trailer embedded above.

As you can see from the trailer, Into The Darkness is looking to implement a comprehensive physics system that works similarly to pioneers in the field like Boneworks. All of the objects have weight and physics that react in a manner consistent with the real world. Towards the end of the trailer, theres even a glance at a Half-Life: Alyx-style glove system that lets you force pull items toward you.

Into The Darkness will launch for PC VR in Q2 of this year, available on Steam for Oculus Rift, Valve Index (including finger tracking support), HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

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Into The Darkness Is A Promising VR Adventure With Boneworks-Like Physics - UploadVR

‘Glitchpunk’ will see players take to the neon streets from a top-down view – NME

A new top-down cyberpunk game is set for release in the second quarter of the year.

Glitchpunk is a new top-down action game from studio Dark Lord. Its based on the retro style of GTA and GTA2, the predecessors to the 3D open world GTA games that have in turn inspired modern action games such as Grand Theft Auto 5.

A trailer that explores the action in the game is available via Youtube below:

Glitchpunk pits the player as an android bounty hunter with a glitch that causes them to rebel against their programming, and facing off against the government and megacorps of the dystopian setting.

Like GTA2, the game will have you stealing cars, shooting enemies, sneaking around, and upgrading your body with tech to make you a formidable android.

The developers Dark Lord are aiming to make the game true to the genre, by telling a story that covers transhumanism, xenophobia, and religion with a narrative that lets you influence the world, make friends and find love.

Listed amongst the key features are confirmation that there will trains, tanks, motorbikes and busses, and that the gameplay will take place in four different cities including USA and Russia.

Glitchpunk is going to launch into Steam Early Access in the second quarter of 2021. A Discord server is available for players who want to keep up to date with all the games progress.

As part of the Steam Game festival next week, there will be a demo for Glitchpunk released on February 3.

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'Glitchpunk' will see players take to the neon streets from a top-down view - NME

Cyberpunk And GTA 2-Inspired "Glitchpunk" Enters Early Access This Year – TheGamer

A combination of the cyberpunk genre with GTA 2 is bound to be epic.

If the classic Grand Theft Auto 2 ever had a head-on collision with the cyberpunk genre, the explosion would probably result in Glitchpunk, the new video game recently announced by developer Dark Lord and publisher Daedalic Entertainment. The top-down dystopian action game is currently scheduled to careen into Steam Early Access sometime in the first half of this year.

With its cyberpunk theme and the look and feel of old-school GTA 2, Glitchpunk will let you "shoot, brawl, drive, steal and sneak yourself through a neon-soaked world full of gangs and cults, forging cooperations along the way," according to the press release. Youll get your first chance at test driving the game with the demo thatll be available during the Steam Games Festival, which is set to run from February 3-9 this year.

Related:Cyberpunk 2077: The 10 Best Gigs (And How To Start Them)

Glitchpunk is set in a dystopian near-future, where you are uploaded into the role of "a glitching android going against your own programming." As you might expect from a GTA-inspired game, youll encounter plenty of drug-crazed gangs, aggressive police, and irresponsible drivers while youre out performing various missions against megacorporations and repressive government factions. But more than that, youll also experience a thoroughly modern storyline involving "transhumanism, xenophobia, and religion," as well as "relationship, self-discovery and betrayal." Youll have the ability to affect the story through your choices, resulting in changes to the game world, the addition of new friends and enemies, and possibly even finding love.

Glitchpunk will feature a variety of weapons and other implements of destruction for you to use through the settings of four different cities, including the desert ruins of an American city, and a post-nuclear winter cyberpunk city somewhere in Soviet Russia. Youll of course have access to numerous cars to get to and around these cities in, and youll be able to find and drive many other types of vehicles, such as buses, motorcycles, tanks, trains, and trucks. And with the games 10 wanted levels, youll most likely be making use of all of them quite often.

Other Glitchpunk features include a hacking system that will allow you to take over common devices and other android citizens as well. A total of 12 gangs inhabit the game, and each has its own culture, story, and agenda. How you choose to interact (or not) with these gangs will play into which one of the multiple game endings you wind up with. An in-game radio station will also be available, playing a mix of artists from all over the world, along with news and goofy commercials.

For more info on Glitchpunk, head over to the games Steam page, and follow Daedalic Entertainments Twitter and YouTube channels.

Source: Daedelic Entertainment

Next:Yakuza Producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto Puts Cyberpunk 2077 In His List Of Favorite 2020 Games

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Cyberpunk And GTA 2-Inspired "Glitchpunk" Enters Early Access This Year - TheGamer

Is Biohacking The Future Of Skincare? – British Vogue

When it comes to skincare, Croatian-born, London-based skin health specialist Jasmina Vico insists on taking a holistic approach. Using skin as an indicator for whats happening inside the body and vice versa, when treating someone Vico looks at gut health, sleeping patterns, stress levels, micronutrient intake, overall diet, and stress levels, which she combines with her bespoke laser treatments, needling, LED facials, and gentle acid peels. There are no quick fixes only continuous care and the investment should be long term, she warns. Its an approach that has earnt her a cult following, including make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench, actors Killing Eves Jodie Comer and The Crowns Claire Foy, and model Shanina Shaik.

With a belief in the power of prevention and a keen interest in biohacking, Vico imagines a future where we will be able to hack our own bodies with the help of science and advanced technologies in order to prolong our lifespan tracking our sleep patterns, monitoring our gut health and even printing our own skin. Here, she shares her predictions for the future of skincare, debunks some of the myths and misconceptions underpinning the industry, and outlines the best ways to protect your skin.

Over-using products that are not suitable for your skin type or condition is something Im correcting and educating my clients about daily. More importantly, spending your hard-earned money on skincare can be a folly if you are not protecting your skin every day from the sun and HEV blue light. Protection is key. There is a misunderstanding that the skin is a surface.

Follow the science is a phrase weve all heard a lot of recently, but when it comes to skincare you cant hear it enough. Many products and procedures promise results that the science if it exists at all does not back up. I also think there has been a lack of industry-led focus on education around the impact that lifestyle choices have on our skin.

My own skincare approach is focused on prevention inside and outside. Im interested in gut health, micronutrient intake, overall diet, regular sleep patterns, and stress levels. Staying out of the sun is obviously the big one. Reducing inflammation is my mission. Inflammation ages the skin, weakening its structure, and degrading the collagen and elastin. Our diet sugar being the worst offender our stress levels and our environment [chemicals/pollution] all profoundly impact and exacerbate inflammation.

Many of us are living at such speed and all of us experience stress. Its necessary to unplug. The Japanese practice shinrin-yoku which translates as forest bathing: a walk in the forest, phone-free, using your senses we could all take a leaf out of that book. A walk in nature, meditation, breathwork, slowing down and being present: these practises have skin benefits too.

Flawlessness is an unrealistic goal. That doesnt mean we cant dramatically improve our skin and make it be the best version of itself. I am a problem solver and one of the things I do is identify issues even when they arent visible and find solutions.

I think the future will focus more on prevention than it has done and at a cellular level. Well be tracking our sleep patterns and sleep depth with monitors on our beds and using grounding mats to help reduce inflammation. Well use our own personal 3D skin printers to deposit sheets of skin, which sounds wild but a handheld printer has already been developed to deposit bio-ink on large burns to help with wound recovery.

Skin bio-printing will use self-assembling peptides and amino acids that create almost a scaffolding-like structure that grows within the skin. There are going to be more devices and bio-electrics, bio-tech and nanorobots to track our sleep because sleep is one of the most important things for skin.

I am naturally a curious person I want to know how the body works, to understand how we age, increasing our life-span. I have always been interested in science and developments in technology. Self-tracking our health will help us understand how our body works and responds to internal and external factors, which will be different for each of us and will be the key to understanding what triggers inflammation in us.

Transhumanism is already with us whether were ready for it or not or even want it. We are already cyborgs in a way Im certainly smarter just by having my phone next to me.

I think it will offer us some control and autonomy over our own health as well have greater access to information but also through our own experimentation. But just as Im interested in the impact on individuals, Im interested in societal patterns and greater understanding. We are all connected, physically, cognitively, mentally and socially.

Im also fascinated by the developments in [the study of] sleep and the effects it has on our overall health not just for the skin. I have been using my Oura ring for about two years to track my sleep. Its essential for mental and physical health to have proper, restful sleep. The developments in grounding mats are helping us reduce inflammation and promoting a good nights sleep.

Socio-economics will play a big part. We understand so much more about ageing because of the research invested into science and biotech. Its going to be about tracking your health. Skincare brands that manage to customise and tailor-make products for the individual with bio-tech will do well. But only if they are transparent and dont make misleading claims.

We will also be looking more into the pillars of health, which has been my approach for many years, to ensure they are working in synergy and functioning at their optimum. Self-discipline will play a big part in this.

Id like to think it is about being unique, and happy in your own skin. When Im with my clients, I want to release their essence, their innocence which is associated with youthfulness and happiness.

Having things wed like to improve on is one thing but acceptance is also important: bottled youth doesnt exist Yet. But who knows in the future with bioprinting, 3D matrix skin, AI, etc.

I am fortunate enough that I have a twin I can compare myself to. In the future we will all have a digital twin that we look at each day in the mirror, on our phone, or as a hologram. The twin will be your double and will help you track your health. For example, it will allow you to see your UVC [ultraviolet] face, your gut face, your hangover face. It will also allow you to see your biological age and therefore help you to experiment and find preventative solutions.

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Is Biohacking The Future Of Skincare? - British Vogue

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?

transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics …

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.


that future information networks and human-machine interfaces would lead to novel conditions with new qualities: a new reality rules. But there was a trick to knowing the singularity. Even if one could know that it was imminent, one could not know what it would be like with any specificity. This

human sensory reception

Human sensory reception, means by which humans react to changes in external and internal environments. Ancient philosophers called the human senses the windows of the soul, and Aristotle described at least five sensessight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Aristotles influence has been so enduring that many people still speak of the


Cognition, the states and processes involved in knowing, which in their completeness include perception and judgment. Cognition includes all conscious and unconscious processes by which knowledge is accumulated, such as perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning. Put differently, cognition is a state or experience of knowing that can be distinguished from

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transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics ...

Fact check: UK deaths linked to COVID-19 did not stop in June – Reuters

A video being shared on social media makes the false claims that deaths linked to COVID-19 have stopped, the vaccine will be untested and that it will modify your DNA.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Shared 1,900 times on Facebook, the live video (here) shows a man speaking outside the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, UK.

The man makes multiple claims in the nearly one hour-long video, a selection of which will be covered in this fact check.


Speaking into a microphone, the man questions the mad urgency to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 because deaths from the disease allegedly ceased back in June (timecode 0:55).

However, this is not true. On June 1, the UK had recorded 38,263 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test (here). By Nov. 29 this had risen to 58,443.


Immediately after this, the man questions why pharmaceutical companies and governments are rushing out a vaccine that hasnt even been tested properly.

While there has been an unprecedented global effort to find a vaccine to mitigate devastating impact the pandemic has had on society, this does not mean the vaccine will not be properly tested.

In a previous Reuters fact check, the MHRA, which is an executive agency of the UK governments Department of Health and Social Care, confirmed that any vaccine that is distributed will go through the necessary safety checks (here).

Based on the available published reports from the clinical trials, we dont currently anticipate any specific safety concerns with COVID-19 vaccines. We expect the general safety profile to be similar to other types of vaccines., the agency told Reuters at the time.

A COVID-19 vaccine will only be deployed once it has been proven to be safe and effective through robust clinical trials and approved for use.


The man goes on to claim that the COVID-19 vaccine will alter a persons DNA. Its transhumanism, youll no longer be regarded as a human being, he claims (time code 3:55).

As a previous Reuters fact check explains, the vaccine will not genetically modify human DNA (here).

False. Deaths from COVID-19 did not cease in June. Any vaccine that is approved for distribution will have gone through the necessary clinical trials. The COVID-19 vaccine does not have the ability to alter a persons DNA.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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Fact check: UK deaths linked to COVID-19 did not stop in June - Reuters

Dublin Theatre Festival reviews: The Great Hunger, and To Be A Machine – Irish Examiner

The Great Hunger


Four Stars

The Abbeys promenade production around the grounds of IMMA is the only live show to survive the dreaded Phase 3 Covid-19 protocols at this years Dublin Theatre Festival.

It divides the 14 stanzas of Patrick Kavanaghs titular long poem between individual performers, with troubadours leading the small, masked audience through the autumn evening.

We set out between two lines of illuminated trees, lured the stark, unmistakable voice of Lisa ONeil. Then, Liam Carney appears between the potato drills: old Patrick Maguire, the peasant farmer, clay made flesh. He stayed with his mother till she died/At the age of ninety-one.

By then, he was sixty-five". This is his tragedy; through it, Maguire personifies in Kavanaghs indictment the poverty, conservatism, and sexual frustration of the rural Ireland he knew.

While the satirical target might not be as obvious as it was when Kavanagh wrote The Great Hunger in 1942, the poem lends itself to dramatisation, thanks to Kavanaghs deft portraiture and his ability to conjure a telling scene.

It also, of course, speaks to the universal. Lines like Sometimes they did laugh and see the sunlight or something was brighter a moment have a sudden poignancy now.

Meanwhile, of the performers, Derbhle Crotty in particular shines in an intimate, captivating scene. Her aliveness to the words, her movement, her expressiveness are a wonder a reminder of the great hunger within us all for the kind of moments only theatre can deliver.

To Be a Machine

Project Theatre

Four Stars

Last year, Dead Centre gave audiences an empty stage for their ghost play Becketts room. This time, things are reversed: an actor is present, but the theatre is empty.

Game of Thrones star Jack Gleeson is the man in the room, playing the writer Mark OConnell in a faithful exploration of the ideas in his acclaimed book on transhumanism, To Be a Machine. The framing of the show gives ample scope for playful echoes and illustrations of OConnells themes.

To begin with, for instance, we are asked to upload videos of ourselves in advance of the performance. We see them on the night: electronic, disembodied versions of ourselves on individual tablet screens where the audience would be.

No better way, then, to discuss such things as the US company Alcor, which preserves its customers disembodied heads in the hope of reanimation; or whole brain emulation and the philosophical questions such a technology would raise.

Both shows end on October 10; for more, check out

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Dublin Theatre Festival reviews: The Great Hunger, and To Be A Machine - Irish Examiner

To be a Machine review: Experimental format well-suited to plays core theme – The Irish Times

We can hardly blame the creators of this busy one-man show for endlessly worrying about whether the finished work counts as theatre. Much effort is made to satisfy stretched definitions of the form. The audience members are asked to upload video of themselves - staring, laughing, sleeping - and the rendered images, each transferred to tablet, are scattered about the auditorium in Project Arts Centre. Sitting at home before a streaming computer, you cannot control your avatar, but, as a few reverse shots clarify (apologies for cinematic rather than theatrical jargon), you are there in some cybernetic sense.

Jack Gleeson, best known as the horrid Joffrey in Game of Thrones, spends much of the brief running time pondering the ups and downs of this hybrid form. You can go to the lavatory with less inconvenience. Maybe you are on the lavatory right now. Try to forget the screen, he says before - in my case, anyway - a brief buffering issue (was that deliberate?) made that task impossible.

All this might have proved exhausting if the self-conscious experiments did not complement the plays core theme. Happily, the experimental format is well-suited to an exploration of transhumanism. Adapted from Mark OConnells acclaimed non-fiction book, To be a Machine, a Dead Centre production, goes among those scientists, entrepreneurs and philosophers who believe technology will allow consciousness to survive the bodys passing. Somewhere in Arizona, a company called Alcor keeps an array of upended heads in Perspex containers. The comparison with the two-dimensional heads scattered about the Projects auditorium is unavoidable. The digitally assisted survival of this theatre piece in the time of Covid acts as a neat metaphor for the process by which computers may allow our thought streams to outlast physical annihilation.

Playing a tweaked version of OConnell, Gleeson sometimes struggles to energise a monologue that carries a few stubborn reminders of its origins in long-form prose. But the technological flourishes keep the show engaging throughout.

Questions remain about its status as theatre. At one point, Gleeson, employing the famous Turing test, seeks to discover if the audience is really out there? We could ask him the same question. We know the show is live because we have been told as much, but, for those of us not having our comments in the chat-box read out, little on screen distinguishes it from a one-take movie. The pieces creators almost certainly savour that ambiguity.

Online until Sat, Oct 10th. For booking see

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To be a Machine review: Experimental format well-suited to plays core theme - The Irish Times

The Honorable Dr. Dale Layman, Founder of Robowatch, LLC, is Recognized as the 2020 Humanitarian of the Year by Top 100 Registry, Inc. – IT News…


Joliet, IL, September 03, 2020 --( The Honorable Dr. Dale Pierre Layman, A.S., B.S., M.S., Ed.S., Ph.D. #1, Ph.D. #2, Grand Ph.D. in Medicine, MOIF, FABI, DG, DDG, LPIBA, IOM, AdVMed, AGE, is the Founder and President of Robowatch, L.L.C. ( Robowatch is an international non-profit group aiming to keep a watchful human eye on the fast-moving developments occurring in the fields of robotics, computing, and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) industries. As the first person in his family to attend college in 1968, he earned an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Life Science from Lake Michigan College. The same year, he won a Michigan Public Junior College Transfer Scholarship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1971, he received an Interdepartmental B.S. with Distinction, in Anthropology - Zoology, from the University of Michigan. From 1971 to 1972, Dr. Layman served as a Histological Technician in the Department of Neuropathology at the University of Michigan Medical School. From 1972 to 1974, he attended the U of M Medical School, Physiology department, and was a Teaching Fellow of Human Physiology. He completed his M.S. in Physiology from the University of Michigan in 1974.

From 1974 to 1975, Dr. Layman served as an Instructor in the Biology Department at Lake Superior State College. In 1975, he became a full-time, permanent Instructor in the Natural Science Department of Joliet Junior College (J.J.C.) and taught Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medical Terminology to Nursing & Allied Health students. Appointed to the Governing Board of Text & Academic Authors, he authored several textbooks, including but not limited to the Terminology of Anatomy & Physiology and Anatomy Demystified. In 2003, Dr. Layman wrote the Foreword to the Concise Encyclopedia of Robotics, Stan Gibilisco.

As a renowned scholar and book author, Dr. Layman proposed The Faculty Ranking Initiative in the State of Illinois to increase the credibility of faculty members in the States two-year colleges, which will help with research grants or publications. In 1994, the State of Illinois accepted this proposal. J.J.C. adapted the change in 2000, and Dr. Layman taught full-time from 1975 until his retirement in 2007. He returned and taught part-time from 2008 to 2010. Dr. Layman received an Ed.S. (Educational Specialist) in Physiology and Health Science from Ball State University in 1979. Then, in 1986, Dr. Layman received his first Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, in Health and Safety Studies. In 2003, Dr. Layman received a second Ph.D. and a Grand Ph.D. in Medicine, from the Academie Europeenne D Informatisation (A.E.I.) and the World Information Distributed University (WIDU). He is the first American to receive the Grand Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine.

In 1999, Dr. Layman delivered a groundbreaking speech at the National Convention of Text and Academic Authors, Park City, Utah. Here, he first publicly explained his unique concept: Compu-Think, a contraction for computer-like modes or ways of human thinking. This reflects the dire need for humans to develop more computer-like modes or ways of Natural Human thinking. This concept has important practical applications to Human Health and Well-being. In 2000, Dr. Layman gave several major talks and received top-level awards. In May of 2000, he participated in a two-week faculty exchange program with Professor Harrie van Liebergen of the Health Care Division of Koning Willem I College, Netherlands.

In 2001, after attending an open lecture on neural implants at the University of Reading, England, Dr. Layman created Robowatch. The London Diplomatic Academy published several articles about his work, such as Robowatch (2001) and Robowatch 2002: Mankind at the Brink (2002). The article Half-human and half-computer, Andrej Kikelj (2003) discussed the far-flung implications of Dr. Laymans work. Using the base of half-human, half-computer, Dr. Layman coined the name of a new disease, Psychosomatic Technophilic, which translates as an abnormal love or attraction for technology [that replaces] the body and mind. Notably, Dr. Layman was cited several times in the article Transhumanism, (Wikipedia, 2009). Further in 2009, several debates about Transhumanism were published in Wikipedia, and they identified Dr. Layman as an anti-transhumanist who first coined the phrase, Terminator argument.

In 2018, Dr. Layman was featured in the cover of Pro-Files Magazine, 8th Edition, by Marquis Whos Who. He was the Executive Spotlight in Robotics, Computers and Artificial Intelligence, in the 2018 Edition of the Top 101 Industry Experts, by Worldwide Publishing. He also appeared on the cover of the July 2018 issue of T.I.P. (Top Industry Professionals) magazine, the International Association of Top Professionals. Dr. Layman was also the recipient of the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award (2017-2018). Ever a Lifelong Student and taking classes for the past few years at J.J.C., Dr. Layman was recently inducted (2019) to his second formal induction into the worlds largest honor society for community college students, Phi Theta Kappa.

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David Lerner


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The Honorable Dr. Dale Layman, Founder of Robowatch, LLC, is Recognized as the 2020 Humanitarian of the Year by Top 100 Registry, Inc. - IT News...

Transhumanism: The cyborgs and biohackers redefining …

Written by Karina Tsui, CNN

Today, we can alter our bodies in previously unimaginable ways, whether that's implanting microchips, fitting advanced prosthetic limbs or even designing entirely new senses.

So-called transhumanists -- people who seek to improve their biology by enhancing their bodies with technology -- believe that our natural condition inhibits our experience of the world, and that we can transcend our current capabilities through science.

Ideas that are "technoprogressive" to some are controversial to others. But to photographer David Vintiner, they are something else altogether: beautiful.

Made in collaboration with art director and critic Gem Fletcher, the book features a variety of people who identify, to some degree, as "transhuman" -- including a man with bionic ears that sense changes in atmospheric pressure, a woman who can "feel" earthquakes taking place around the world and technicians who have developed lab-made organs.

Fletcher was first introduced to the transhumanist subculture via the London Futurist Group, an organization that explores how technology can counter future crises. Upon meeting some of its members, the London-based art director approached Vintiner with the idea of photographing them in a series of portraits.

"Our first shoot was with Andrew Vladimirov, a DIY 'brain hacker,'" Vintiner recalled in a phone interview. "Each time we photographed someone new, we asked for referrals and introductions to other key people within the movement."

Redefining human experience

One of Vintiner's subjects, James Young, turned to bionics after losing his arm and leg in an accident in 2012. Young had always been interested in biotechnology and was particularly drawn to the aesthetics of science fiction. Visualizing how his body could be "re-built," or even perform enhanced tasks with the help of the latest technology, became part of his recovery process.

But according to the 29-year-old, the options presented to him by doctors were far from exciting -- standard-issue steel bionic limbs with flesh-colored silicone sleeves.

"To see what was available was the most upsetting part," Young said in a video interview.

"What the human body can constitute, in terms of tools and technology, is such a blurry thing -- if you think about the arm, it's just a sensory piece of equipment.

"If there was anyone who would get their arm and leg chopped off, it would be me because I'm excited about technology and what it can get done."

Japanese gaming giant Konami worked with prosthetics sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata to design a set of bionic limbs for Young. The result was an arm and leg made from gray carbon fiber -- an aesthetic partly inspired by Konami's "Metal Gear Solid," one of the then-22-year-old's favorite video games.

Beyond the expected functions, Young's robotic arm features a USB port, a screen displaying his Twitter feed and a retractable dock containing a remote-controlled drone. The limbs are controlled by sensors that convert nerve impulses from Young's spine into physical movements.

"Advanced prosthetics enabled James to change people's perception of (his) disability," said Vintiner of Young, adding: "When you first show people the photographs, they are shocked and disconcerted by the ideas contained within. But if you dissect the ideas, they realize that they are very pragmatic."

Young says it has taken several years for people to appreciate not just the functions of advanced bionic limbs but their aesthetics, too. "Bionic and electronic limbs were deemed scary, purely because of how they looked," he said. "They coincided with the idea that 'disability is not sexy.'"

He also felt there was stigma surrounding bionics, because patients were often given flesh-colored sleeves to conceal their artificial limbs.

"Visually, we think that this is the boundary of the human body," Young said, referring to his remaining biological arm. "Opportunities for transhumanists open up because a bionic arm can't feel pain, or it can be instantly replaced if you have the money. It has different abilities to withstand heat and to not be sunburned."

As Vintiner continued shooting the portraits, he felt many of his preconceptions being challenged. The process also raised a profound question: If technology can change what it is to be human, can it also change what it means to be beautiful?

"Most of my (original) work centers around people -- their behavior, character, quirks and stories," he said. "But this project took the concept of beauty to another level."

Eye of the beholder

Science's impact over our understanding of aesthetics is, to Vintiner, one of the most fascinating aspects of transhumanism. What he discovered, however, was that many in the movement still look toward existing beauty standards as a model for "post-human" perfection.

Speaking to CNN Style in 2018, Hanson said that Sophia's form would resonate with people around the world, and that her appearance was partly inspired by real women including Hanson's wife and Audrey Hepburn, as well as statues of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.

Related video: Meet Sophia, the robot who smiles and frowns just like us

But with her light hazel eyes, perfectly arched eyebrows, long eyelashes, defined cheekbones and plump lips -- Sophia's appearance arguably epitomizes that of a conventionally beautiful Caucasian woman.

"When I photographed Ben Goertzel, he vocalized how he took no time to consider how he (himself) looked -- it was of no interest to him," the photographer recalled of the photo shoot.

Vintiner saw a certain irony: that someone who was unconcerned about his own appearance would nonetheless project our preoccupation with beauty through his company's invention.

It also served as a reminder that attractiveness may be more complex than algorithms can ever fathom.

"I fear that if we can design humans without any of the 'flaws' that occur in our biological makeup, things will be pushed further and further towards a level of perfection we can only imagine right now." Vintiner said. "Look at how plastic surgery has altered our perception of beauty in a very short space of time.

"If the transhumanists are right and we, as humans, can live to be several hundreds of years old, our notion of beauty and the very meaning of what it is to be human will change dramatically."

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Transhumanism: The cyborgs and biohackers redefining ...

Silicon Valley, the start-up incarnation 4/5. Palmer Luckey, the geek who needed to make sure the army supremacy of the West – Pledge Times

Gone is the poster of Uncle Sam pointing the finger at you with that We need you injunction. The US military has long relied on video games to recruit. Americas Army, a shooting game developed to restore the reputation of the institution and attract young recruits, is also in its fourth version. And if, at the origin, the joysticks were inspired by the controls of military planes or helicopters, now it is the combat drones which are piloted with game console controllers. Palmer Luckey is the result of this strange mixture. He is now the head of a $ 2 billion start-up that has the avowed aim of leading the United States and the West to technological supremacy in the war of the future.

Ten years ago, Palmer, a teenager with a passion for war games and Hawaiian shirts, was thinking in the basement of his preschool in California on how to make his favorite hobby more immersive. He imagines the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset suitable for gaming. If he is not the most sociable of teenagers, he is part of a very large online network of very conservative white gamers, who are fighting against the irruption of women and any form of progressive idea in the video game industry. In 2012, he launched his idea on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, and thus raised $ 2.5 million. Two years later, Facebook bought Oculus for 2 billion, including 1.6 in Facebook shares. Palmers fortune is made.

Not enjoying himself in Zuckerbergs firm, where he cannot express his alt-right ideas too openly, he leaves and sets up a new business, co-financed with Peter Thiel, who also likes Donald Trump a lot and the Lord of the Rings. Thiel had launched Palantir, The all-seeing eye in the novel by Tolkien, a data management company working for intelligence. He helps Luckey to create Anduril, the name of the heros sword which means Protector of the West the West would be fairer in this case.

I created Anduril because Im afraid that the United States will lose its supremacy, explained Palmer, still in Hawaiian shirt, at the Lisbon Web Summit in 2018. The big industrialists are good at making fighter planes, but not are not looking for autonomous weapons, soldier enhancement through transhumanism or military artificial intelligence. The young man then describes his vision of the war of the future. I think the soldiers will soon be omniscient superheroes () I dont think they will directly carry weapons. Each soldier will have an augmented reality headset through which he will have a general and precise view of the battlefield and through which he will control his weapons. Yes, it essentially describes a video game.

Anduril, who has at 1 er July raised 200 million dollars again, landed real contracts with the Pentagon for its flagship product, Lattice (trellis in French). The idea is to cover a territory with sensors: a military base, critical infrastructures, borders An artificial intelligence models the terrain in real time and identifies any intrusion. With a virtual reality headset, a human can almost verify the intrusion with their own eyes. He erected a virtual wall that stretches across the Mexican border and made it possible to arrest dozens of migrants, which Luckey is very proud of. It has just added to Lattice the Interceptor, a combat drone capable of intercepting in the area to be protected another drone in mid-flight, operating completely autonomously. An equally autonomous tank would be in preparation in the hangars of Anduril in Silicon Valley. If we want to define the rules of this war of tomorrow, we must be the first, assures Luckey. We were able to impose rules on nuclear weapons, because we were the best. Technological supremacy is a prerequisite for ethics.


Tomorrow Travis Kalanick, Uber.

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Silicon Valley, the start-up incarnation 4/5. Palmer Luckey, the geek who needed to make sure the army supremacy of the West - Pledge Times

Hi John. Will artificial intelligence replace humanity by 2084? – Eternity News

John Lennox is human. As soon as the worlds most recognisable Oxford Professor of Mathematics smiles at me from his UK study via video link, he is apologising for his need to duck off to the bathroom. His immediate physical need arises from not being able to go beforehand, having just finished a one-hour online Q & A session about his newest book, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. Not to be confused with the other book Lennox already put out in 2020 Where is God in a Coronavirus World? or the movie about him to be released later this year.

Tinkering with human beings those ideas interested me. John Lennox

Lennoxs toilet break is an unexpectedly fitting introduction to our conversation about his investigation of artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means for what it means to be human. Riffing on the title of English author George Orwells dystopic novel 1984, 2084 is Lennoxs eloquent and succinct attempt to demystify AI, separate science fiction from science fact, and investigate the ethical and theological questions raised.

But lets cut to the chase of your future-looking book, human. John Lennox, what will the year 2084 be like for people and their intelligent designs? I thought somebody would start with that question, but youre the first interviewer to do it, chuckles Lennox who has been a leading academic Christian in the public square for more than a decade.

Rising to international prominence through viral video debates with new atheist royalty such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Singer, Lennox also has written many books at the intersection between Christian faith and the philosophy of scientific endeavour and progress.

The whole point is to take off from Orwells book 1984, which gave the English language things like big brother and thoughtcrime. There are aspects of artificial intelligence now that actually are fulfilling the role [from] Orwells 1984.

I wasnt writing the book to tell people whats going to happen in 2084 [but] to tell them to think about what might happen in 2084 or whats liable to happen, because of the developments we already have.

Lennox came to see the need to evaluate the course of artificial intelligence after a London church approached him, several years ago, to speak about how the Book of Genesis relates with AI. Lennox initially declined but was soon intrigued by considering what humanity being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) means to the rising tide of artificial intelligence. Since his teenage years in homeland Northern Ireland, Lennox has been interested in big questions such as where does meaning come from and what is the significance of humans in a universe created by God?

My interest was [also] sparked a long time ago by two C.S. Lewis books The Abolition of Man, and the third of his science-fiction book series, That Hideous Strength. Lewis was prescient; he had ideas of, basically, what we now call transhumanism. Those interested me the ideas of tinkering with the germ line, as we would now call it, and tinkering with human beings and producing not humans, but artefacts.

That intrigued me as to where this stuff was going.

At the start of 2084, Lennox admits hes not an AI expert. As an interested and analytical onlooker, he distills where AI is at and might be going, including explaining its two key forms Narrow Artificial Intelligence and Artificial General Intelligence. The former refers to any computer system which can do one thing superbly well that normally takes human intelligence to do; the latter is the transhuman quest for superintelligence, either by enhancing human beings or by creating a humanoid form where, for example, the contents of a human mind could be uploaded. Or much, much more.

Lennox shares what he perceives as positive developments in AI, from a smartwatch that can recognise seizures to online language translators, and algorithms which digitally assist with our daily tasks or needs. He also articulates negatives, flowing mainly from the ethical issues arising from AI. Lennox wonders how often you or I have stopped to realise we carry a portable tracking device with us our smartphone and where our personal data ends up (surveillance capitalism, as Harvard Professor Shoshana Zuboff describes it). What about the human job losses caused by improved artificial intelligence? Or the choice a self-driving car might have to make between crashing into an elderly lady crossing the road or avoiding her but hitting children on the footpath?

People are afraid to say what they really believe about morality. John Lennox

Lennox agrees there is a common view that technological developments always equal positive progress for humanity even though we experience the opposite (such as how advanced warfare or internet access can display the worst in us). Much of his book, 2084, is dedicated to highlighting how artificial intelligence itself is an amoral creation by humans, with moral issues inevitably arising from the real human input into them.

Artificial intelligence is not intelligent at all. It simulates intelligence the word artificial means that the output normally requires human intelligence but in this system, the only intelligence involved which is vastly important is the intelligence of the designers and programmers.

Technological progress is not the same as moral progress; the difficulty is that technology outpaces ethics, says Lennox. So theres an ethical void, which has been dramatically increased by the lack of a common worldview which, for centuries, was Christian in the West, but now were all over the place. And people are afraid to say what they really believe about morality. Thats an absolute tragedy, which is one of the reasons that I like talking about Genesis.

Convinced of the ongoing relevance of the image of God to defining human value and meaning, Lennox also wanted to talk about several popular books anchored in aspects of AI. So much so that Lennox uses bestselling author Dan Browns Origin, as well as Israeli historian Yuval Noah Hararis acclaimed Sapiens and Homo Deus, as structural devices for 2084s points.

Lennox doesnt flinch at being asked if weighing in on an AI novel by controversial and wildly successful writer of The Da Vinci Code was a cheap shot Im interested in what influences millions of people, he explains.

Lennox adds that Hararis input was vital to being able to engage seriously with Browns novel about an AI visionary seeking to scientifically reveal where we came from and where we are going. Hararis books take a more robust, history-based approach to those key questions; History began when humans invented gods and will end when humans become gods, declares Harari.

A superintelligent human already exists. John Lennox

Notably, Homo Deuss advocacy of transhumanism and seeking immortality stirred Lennox at his Christian core. While Lennox doesnt believe Hararis ambition for humans to be able to create actual humans can be achieved Until we know what consciousness is, all talk of that type is pure hype and pure science fiction. We dont know what it is. We havent an idea he was pleasantly surprised to discover how inspired he was by some of what transhumanists seek.

The thing that really turned the corner for me, thinking the book was worth writing, was a sudden and immediate thought that the transhumanist program is too late and its too little because a superintelligent human already exists, says Lennox, alluding to divine man Jesus.

The whole movement of transhumanism assumes were progressing towards [becoming like a god] when actually the movement we ought to be thinking about is the opposite of God becoming man, and providing a basis for a way we could answer Hararis number one problem. The problem of physical death to which the answer is resurrection, not constructing an artificial intelligence

Seeing that there was so much in the transhumanist agenda that really was shadows of the Christian message, I thought Aha, heres a way that I can put Christianity in, perhaps, a rather different way and bring inthings that people normally dont ever do writing a book [about AI].

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Hi John. Will artificial intelligence replace humanity by 2084? - Eternity News

The benefits and risks of AI and post-human life – Independent Australia

Philosophers involvedin the theories ofpost-humanism and transhumanismare captivated by the possibilities, or dangers, that the future poses to our understanding of human life.

According to Wikipedia,the idea of the post-human originates in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary artand philosophy that literally refers to a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human. In other words, a human so advanced that he or she is more or less distinct from our current conception of the ordinary person. This will mostly be facilitated by technological developments.

Steps towards post-humanism are already set in motion: they are not simply dystopian fantasies. Despite some of the hype around AI and robots might lead us to believe, noneof these massive changes are happening soon. These developments will be made in incrementally;often two steps forwards and three steps back. This is more linked to the way we humans are, rather than to the state of technology.

Philosophers such as Francesca Ferrando argue that transhumanism understands the meaning of humanity, in relation to technology and ecology. We should start to see humans not as the pinnacle of evolution and the rulers of the world, but as an integral part of the biosphere equal to other organisms. No longer can it be"them and us", with uncontrolled exploitation.

Humans are tribalistic in nature. There is discrimination between gender, race, nationality, ability. We will need to overcome this, yet progress here isn't linear. It is questionable if humanity can overcome tribalism. We might solve some form of these issues.At the same time, humans in their current form will rapidly find new ones to fight over (technology, robots, AI and so on).

In order to overcome some of these deeply ingrained human obstacles, post-humanism pointsto technologies that can be of assistance to manage humanity and our planet earth in a more sustainable way. A prerequisite for this is open societies.

Key issues that humanity will have to surmountare corruption, despotism and roadblocks to human development, whether itbesocially, culturally or economically. None of this will be easy and in the political reality of today, it could be seen as pure fantasy. But over decennia and centuries, things will change.

It is also interesting to contemplate what driveshumans to develop these new technologies.

From a philosophical and scientific point of view, we can think of scenarios that could take us further. Even if we see a global crisis creating massive havoc among our global population, we have already developed technologies that can assist us beyond such a situation, and with the coronavirus, we are seeing a spur of internationally collaborative developments that will greatly enhance this situation further.

In small ways, we are already seeing that "post-humans" will be far more intertwined with technology.

Look at pacemakers, bionic ears and eyes, artificial limbs and so on. We already have smart pills. Cybernetics has seen many breakthroughs in recent years, including the development of advanced prosthetics, used to provide amputees with a better quality of life.

The latest developments here are linking these prostheses direct to our brain and nervous system, making it increasingly more seamless. Soon individuals, otherthan disabled persons, may want similar functionalities. Think here for example about athletes the military and people that are already experimenting themselves with these technologies.

The MIT Media Lab is one of many organisations looking into cyborg developments. This is a being with both organic and biomechatronic body parts.

Going one step further, we are seeing the technology ofhumanoids. They are something that has an appearance resembling a human without being one. The current attempts still look underdeveloped,but compare them with the robots from a few decades ago.

Away from the hardware, now on to the software. Digital technology is already having an enormous impact on how we see ourselves.We already have some primitive forms of digital twins: our persona in digital formats, such as on social media. But there are other developments underway that would go far beyond that, if they ever get off the ground.

Neurotechnology is also a growth area. Utilising nanotechnologies, these technologies are progressing well with developments such as Neuralink: an optogenetic technology that will allow a human brain to download directly from a computer.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies will soon be able to assist humans withthe most complex and difficult problems. Through mind-uploading such as theNectomeprogram and mind-merging, the best brains of the world can work together, creating the Brainternet.

A technology known as neural-lace will see the implanting tiny of electrodes into the brain. The result would be the enhancement of memory and cognitive powers by effectively merging humans and AI. Could this lead to a universal consciousness? Is this what we need to overcomecurrent tribal human problems? Is it consciousness, rather than physical appearance, that makes us human?

Obviously, we would need to redefine what human means in such a situation. Who knows what lays ahead in the centuries, let alone the millennia (hopefully) in front of us? Planet earth perhaps has another billion years to goand it's highly unlikely that humans remain the same as humanswe knowtoday. Will we be able to travel to distant galaxies and in what form will we travel?

Most likely, it will be in some form of software that could emulate our mind. It would require highly integrated computer technologies that could instantly process zettabytes of information, something that is extremely hard to fathom.

A huge question will be how are we going to manage these developments? There will, of course, be many ethical issues that we as a society need to address. We also know that looking at the current unwanted digital technology developments that are happening, we must start planning for the futurebefore technologies like AI makethe decisions for us.

Many industry leaders and scientists have urged governments to start this process now. But like taking preventative measures in relation to the current pandemic, governments equally have been procrastinating in this area.

Rather than trying to preempt developments in the decades or centuries ahead, we should follow and, wherever necessary, regulate these developments as we go. However, it is critical to take this post-human concept into account and have a holistic discussion about these topics between scientists, technologists, politicians and indeed the broader community.

Though, it is impossible to make transhuman predictions from our current position.On the positive side, in order to overcome the current political, cultural, social and economic problems, we will need technology to ensure that all global citizens will have a viable and sustainable place to live with a good quality lifestyle.

Scientists and engineers are certainly making progress.

Paul Buddeis an Independent Australia columnist and managing director ofPaul Budde Consulting, an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organisation. You can follow Paul on Twitter@PaulBudde.

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Whats the best way to prepare for the apocalypse? Dont ask these guys –

Michael Kerr reviews Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O'Connell

This review will be overtaken by events. Its bound to be. While I was reading the book, its writer posted a picture on Twitter of the contents of a box he had just opened at home. Who could have predicted, he asked, that these copies of the US edition of my book about apocalyptic anxiety would be delivered by a guy in a face mask, and that I would open the box using plastic gloves? Notme!

Hes being a little hard on himself. He was well ahead of most of us, already up and on the road long before the Four Horsemen appeared on their mounts in the Chinese city of Wuhan. See that title: Notes from an Apocalypse.

Mark OConnell is a journalist and essayist. He won the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize for To Be a Machine, an exploration of transhumanism, a movement that suggests we can and should exploit technology to improve the human body and, ultimately, make ourselves immortal. He is also the father of two young children, and constantly worrying over what sort of world hes brought them into. Its a world where lies as well as germs go viral, where we humans are making the weather, where old alliances and certainties are being overturned, and where the moneyed are readying to leave the rest of us behind, having bought bunkers in the middle of nowhere, bolt-holes on the other side of the world, or tickets to a life on Mars.

The signs of apocalypse, he reckons, are all around, and while hes anxious, hes also intrigued. So off he goes on a series of perverse pilgrimages to the places where the end-times seem closest from South Dakota, with its underground shelters offering turnkey apocalypse solutions, to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where the abandoned city of Pripyat is a fever-dream of a world gone void. In between, he examines the tech billionaires fixation with New Zealand, mixes with the Mars Society in Los Angeles, and joins an environmentalists retreat in the Scottish Highlands. He has sessions with his therapist, and draws on the work of writers as varied as Carl Sagan and Dr Seuss. The result is a book thats fretful, wise and funny, and often all three in the space of a paragraph.

OConnell thoroughly skewers Americas boasting preppers with a story about one who began eating into his freeze-dried rations because his wife was away, he couldnt cook and it didnt occur to him to phone for pizza. Then he tells of a friend of his who works in publishing, who reveals that she has a go-bag, ready to be hauled out from under the bed at a moments notice.

His friend sees something exciting in the prospect of testing herself and her limits. OConnell doesnt: his comfort zone, he says, is one with four walls, good Wi-Fi, and craft beer and a bookshop within walking distance. On his solo in the Alladale Wilderness Reserve, he breaks the spirit of the rules by taking half a packet of nut-and-berry mix with him. His account of eking it out reminded me of the narrator of John Lanchesters novel The Wall, who, while patrolling Britains borders against climate refugees, breaks upthe time between breakfast andlunch into two sections of 90minutes, with an energy bar in themiddle.

OConnells own book is a work of non-fiction peopled by some characters a novelist wouldnt get away with. I thought perhaps hed overplayed the zealotry of those who see Mars as the new frontier and the new destiny for Earthlings. But no. While I was reading his chapter on Chernobyl, I got an email from a PR firm with this heading: To infinity and beyond: conquering the final frontier with Asgardia. It went on: Whilst plans for holidays and trips away have been put on the back-burner, the desire for outer-orbit travel hasntdiminished.

Notes from an Apocalypse is a book in which even the typos seem to be in keeping with the theme (A state stripped down to its bear [sic] right-wing essentials). Its also one that makes reference to center and specter and neighbors and fibers. Have we in the UK been given the UStext?

OConnell sometimes reaches for the fancy (strewn disjecta) over the plain, and occasionally over-explains. In the Highlands, a woman offers to help him put up his tent; she worked in a camping store, she says, and she knows that: Theyre tricky bastards, some of them. OConnell is struck by the empathic skillfulness [sic] of this revelation and then, in a sentence 132 words long, tells us why.

If he reads that, itll bother him, maybe add to his fretting. But it shouldnt: hes doing good work in difficult times. He offers us hope as well as black humour. And we need that now.

Notes from an Apocalypse is published by Granta at 14.99. To order your copy from the Telegraph visit

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Cosmodeism: Prologue to a Theology of Transhumanism – Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

IntroductionFreuds disciple, Otto Rank once wrote that the need for a truly religious ideology is inherent in human nature and its fulfillment is basic to any kind of social life. If Transhumanism is to become a universal phenomenon it must include what Jung called a divine drama that is universally compelling.

This article proposes scientific hypotheticals regarding the future of existence that have significant theological implications, but which cannot be empirically confirmed. My method could be described as Futuristic Logic. I assume evolution to be the salient characteristic of existence: cosmic evolution having produced ever more complex elements, which eventually evolved into life, which continued to produce ever more complex life forms, until it produced self-reflective consciousness. Evolution will, therefore, eventually produce a supra-consciousness that will, ultimately, produce a supra-supra-consciousness, and so on, until a 'life form' will have been created that will appear to us as if it were a God. Not "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", but "in the end an evolving cosmos will have created God". This won't be deterministic; it will be the result of conscious life forms throughout the Cosmos striving to gain control over their own evolution. This is the fundamental (volitional or subliminal) impulse of Transhumanism.

I do not consider Transhumanism to mean transcending (going beyond) humanism. Such a formulation is congruent with some formulations of Posthumanism, which, in turn, are logical deductions from radical Postmodernism. Such formulations reject the Enlightenment project as a misfortune and view terms like altruism, humanism, and democracy as "soft and slimy virtues". I identify myself as a Neo-modernist, (or a Post-postmodernist, if you prefer); someone who accepts the postmodernist critique of the nave hubris of Modernism and the moral transgressions which were its unintended consequence but who emphatically embraces Modernism's heroic ambition for humanity. Rejecting the ambitions of Modernism because of past sins is akin to rejecting evolution because Darwinism morphed into Social Darwinism which gave birth to eugenics, which led to the Holocaust.

I view as axiomatic that existence is hierarchal: evolution producing ever more complex hierarchal configurations, of which self-reflective, volitional consciousness is Planet Earth's current pinnacle. This axiom has ethical and moral implications. Running over a dog, as distressing as that is, is not the same as running over a human being if this be 'speciesism' so be it. As for me, human beings do occupy a superior place in nature, and the European Enlightenment while almost pathologically nave in its optimism was a culmination of the ethical and moral evolution of humankind at the time. Our human duty, therefore, is to strive towards a Transcendent humanism; to volitionally evolve our species into supra-humans (or as Nietzsche might have put it, into Supraman). It is our duty to overcome ourselves; to realize our divine potential; not to transcend humanism but to become transcendent humans: supra-humans.

Debunking the Non-Overlapping Magisteria Thesis

In 1997, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould published his non-overlapping magisteria thesis, that science and religion represent distinct, mutually exclusive domains. It was well written and well-argued. But unfortunately, it contributed to the ongoing desiccation of the intellectual imagination that began in the 19th century. Presuming we can compartmentalize our various intuitions, hunches and speculative imaginings into distinct, mutually exclusive domains is specious.

Until the 19th century, when universities quarantined thinking into academic departments, it would have been difficult to differentiate between the philosophical, religious, artistic and scientific. The very word 'scientist' was coined in 1833 by Anglican priest, William Whewell, who was also a historian of science and a philosopher. If you had called Newton a scientist he would not have understood what you were talking about. Newton was a 'natural philosopher' who wrote over two million words on theology. Science was his way of discovering the 'Mind of God'.

In modern terms, Leonardo Da Vinci was an engineer, scientist, and artist. But if you had asked him to define himself 'professionally' he would not have understood the question. He epitomized a fusion of technology, science, and art; each permeating and enriching the other. He would not have been an artistic genius without his technological genius, which was suffused with the same aesthetic instinct that characterized his art. Modern scientists still talk about the 'elegance' of a theory; engineers the 'beauty' of a design.

The religious thinking of the late Middle Ages, especially the sophisticated Aristotelian thinking of scholastic philosopher/priests such as Thomas Aquinas), played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. As Emmet Kennedy put it "Aquinas drew a famous distinction between what is known by reason and what is known by revelation". This intellectual space was necessary for the secular thinking which eventually created science and economic theory. Aquinas embraced two articles of Catholic faith: God was a God of reason who ordered the world rationally, and secondary causes, which enable us to explain natural phenomena and the interaction of nature's constituents by things secondary to God's direct intrusion phenomena which require reason, not revelation, in order to be fully understood. A modern interpretation of secondary causes could certainly accommodate evolution.

Subsequent Church thought removed some of the intellectual rubble of Aristotelian scholasticism that would have hindered the emergence of quantifiable scientific thinking. Butterfield noted that in 1277, Bishop Stephen Tempier headed "a council in Paris [which] condemned the view that even God could not create a void or an infinite universe of a plurality of worlds". God, being God, could do whatever he wished. This theological pronouncement provided the 'science' of the time with the freedom to speculate about the nature of existence without a priori doctrinal restrictions.

Occam's Razor (the Law of Parsimony) is a representative example of the overlap between the philosophical, religious and scientific. Occam was a Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopherand theologian. While his philosophy was religiously motivated to confirm monotheism, it eventually became the holy grail of scientific research. Could the Scientific Revolution have occurred in a non-monotheistic civilization a civilization that had already created a theological law of parsimony: one God; the One (and only)?

Cleric Jean Buridan (c.1300c.1358), anticipating Galileo, developed the Theory of Impetus, demonstrating that there is no need for either Aristotle's 'First Mover' or Plato's 'souls', which are not found in the Bible and which, by implication, limit God's omnipotence to design the world as he pleases. Bishop Nicolas d'Oresme (c.13201382) anticipating Copernicus, wrote that the Holy Scriptures can be accommodated even if we concede the possibility that the earth moves and is not the center of existence. Copernicus also anticipated the clockwork universe of Descartes and Deism. Referring to Buridan's impetus theory, he observed that "God might have started off the universe as a kind of clock and left it to run by itself". Here we see the parameters of Christian faith enabling the emergence of a mechanical cosmos by eliminating the need for 'intelligences' to explain the movement of celestial spheres. Butterfield noted that this was "a case of a consistent body of teaching [which] developed as a tradition" and influenced Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo. The latter's theory of inertia reflected a view that "God might have given these things their initial impetus, and their motion could be imagined as continuing forever".

Copernicus was motivated to simplify the complexities of the Ptolemaic system which, he felt, insulted God. If God is the God of reason, possessing omnipotent intelligence, he certainly would have created a universe more sensible than the convoluted Ptolemaic contraption. Copernicus applied the Law of Parsimony inherent in monotheism and found Ptolemy wanting. His motivation was to defend the honor of God's unconditional power.

Science, in turn, influenced theology. Natural theology is a consequence of religion trying to accommodate itself to science; to formulate an understanding of God that does not contradict science. Centuries before the Scientific Revolution, Maimonides advocated that rabbis must accommodate their interpretations of the Torah to science and not the other way around. Natural theology, natural religion, and philosophical theism are all consequences of an emergent scientific mindset compelling monotheistic religions to review and revise their doctrines. When theological imperatives consistently generate concepts reflecting a more modern scientific mindset, and when science constantly impacts religious thought, then we must discard the non-overlapping magisteria notion especially if we are to respond to Rank's observation that a healthy civilization needs a religious ideology.

Science is also based on faith in several assumptions that cannot be proven empirically. For example:1. Nature's laws are uniform throughout existence. 2. Nature's laws do not evolve and change.3. Mathematics is the universal language; existence is monolingual.4. What we see through a telescope millions of light years away still exists. We know Andromeda existed 2.5 million years ago, (its light has traveled 2.5 million light years) but do we empirically know it still exists?

Scientists accept these assumptions in order to do their jobs. But the only way they could prove them would be to be a supernatural entity outside of nature, capable of looking at all of nature. We reasonably assume these beliefs are true because all our experience 'SO FAR' affirms their validity. But, as David Hume noted over 250 years ago, 'SO FAR' ends when you confront the first exception. This is the paradox of science: something is science only because it is falsifiable. In other words, the "bedrock" assumptions that enable science to function are also falsifiable, and so cannot be bedrock, else they wouldn't be science.

Scientists claim they don't deal with meaning. But scientific biographies frequently contradict this. Science's giants have often been driven by the essentially religious question "what does it all mean?" I differentiate between the big 'R' organized religion business and the small 'r' religious sense of mystery of 'why there is anything at all rather than nothing'. The operations of existence often excite reverential wonder in authentic scientists. The greatest scientific centers are temples of spirituality that challenge mystical, supernatural religions. Einstein wrote: "What is the meaning of human life or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion." He added "the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life".

We cannot discriminate between the material and the spiritual. The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions are also spiritual. They have provided the means to liberate humankind from ignorance, superstition and soul-destroying drudge work. Without material well-being there cannot be spiritual enlightenment, without scientific progress there can be no material well-being. As the Talmud says "without bread there is no Torah"

One Transhumanist task would be to reunify humankind's various spiritual predispositions (religious, scientific or philosophical); to realize Carl Sagan's vision that: "A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths".

WHY? The Ultimate Question

'WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?' is the ultimate question regarding the human condition. It is the question that has motivated religious and philosophical speculation, scientific endeavor, artistic creativity and entrepreneurial innovation throughout the ages. It is the question we try to answer in order to rationalize our own existence. It is the question that has generated the modern concepts of angst and alienation. The modern dilemma is that we are finding it increasingly difficult to rationalize our own existence and this leads to our subsequent feelings of purposelessness. Pascal wrote:

Pascal's despair is the first cry of modernist angst; a product of our own scientific progress. What, after all, is the point of our own individual, ephemeral lives on this small planet around a mediocre star in a midsized galaxy of some 300 billion stars whose closest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, contains one trillion stars, in an 'observable universe' that numbers two trillion galaxies (the largest containing 100 trillion stars)? The "observable universe" being just a tiny portion of the universe which may contain 500 trillion galaxies and might be an infinitesimal part of a multiverse containing trillions upon trillions of "universes"!

Increased awareness of the vastness of existence introduced an angst from which humanity has never recovered. Pascal wrote in the 17th century. What gloom are we supposed to feel today when "the infinite immensity of spaces" is immensely more immense? Never in history has Pascal's despair been so relevant. Even within the cosmically insignificant history of our own planet, what is the real significance of our own lives? Consider that Earth is 4.5 billion years old; that life arose 3.8 billion years ago; mammals 200 million years ago; primitive humans 2.5 million years ago; modern humans 150,000 years ago; recorded history 6,000 years ago; the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, Constitutionalism, Industrial Revolution and Democracy all within the last 500 years. Currently, humans have an 80-90 year lifespan, which might increase to 120-150 years by the end of this century. What is this in relation to the "eternity" which preceded human civilization on this planet and which will succeed it? Does the Cosmos 'care' who is elected President of the United States? Does the Cosmos 'care' about the 3.8 billion-year history of life on this planet? Would it lament if runaway global warming turned our planet into another Venus? When contemplating this time scale on the background of the vastness of our Cosmos, it is difficult not to plunge into existential desolation.

Consequently, by the 20th century, the elemental question for thoughtful people had become: is life worth living? Camus wrote "There is but one truly philosophical problem and that is suicide Whether or not the world has three dimensions or the mind nine or twelve categories comes afterward". Indeed, why not commit suicide and avoid the tribulations of a meaningless existence? Everything else, all our cultural and scientific product, is marginalia to this ultimate existential question.

The irony is that science that sublime creation of the human spirit reflecting human curiosity and imagination at its highest stage of development has revealed an existence of such vastness and complexity that it makes our collective and individual lives seem inconsequential. Even worse, science inexorably morphed into 'scientism' an "ism": an ideology that posited that things, issues, events or feelings which could not be described according to the canons of reductionist/empirical science were of no concern to the intellectually tough-minded (or did not even exist). Thus, behaviorism (the ultimate expression of scientism) claimed there really is no such thing as consciousness it is simply an invented construct used to explain behaviors. As Jacques Barzun put it, scientists seemed to take great pleasure in "being able to undeceive ones fellows"; to disabuse them of the superstitions of pre-science; the superstitions that love and purpose and concepts of honor and duty, are intrinsic to human existence. The 19th-century scientific mindset implied that "the only reality was fact, brute force, valueless existence, and bare survival".

Before Copernicus, medieval Europeans lived in a cozy universe. Earth was the center of creation, enveloped in the warm embrace of ever purer crystalline spheres that contained the planets and stars up to the very throne of God. God's full-time job was maintaining this physical order, keeping track of our behavior (for future reference regarding salvation) and, once in a while, interfering in the natural order with a miracle here or there. People knew that life on earth was temporary and a test of our moral stamina in facing physical pain and the various distresses of daily life in order to qualify for eternal life in the world to come. Temporal life was God's matriculation exam to qualify for heaven. Medieval Europeans knew that if they obeyed the rules and followed the dictates of the Church their suffering would be rewarded with eternal bliss in the world-to-come. Things might be dreadful now but suffering would end and confusion clarified in heaven. The Copernican Revolution introduced a kind of spiritual agoraphobiaby destroying this coziness; by making us aware of the vastness of existence. Angst and doubt about the meaning of our existence became our constant companions.

Human beings aren't just ARE; we are symbolic creatures that require meaning to survive. The Darwinian mechanism of physical survival is not a sufficient reason to survive; it is simply an explanation. We cannot rationalize our subjective physical survival without objective meaning. Why should we live? Existentialists propose we must 'invent' our own meaning. Is this even possible? Symbols and volitional reason are humanity's primary evolutionary survival mechanism. Birds fly, deer are swift, lions are powerful, while human beings think and they direct their thinking (volition) in terms of their symbols, values and meanings. Humanity has invented religions, myths, and social and cultural devices to express this inherent feature of human nature.

The human experience is future-directed; we implicitly assume it is leading to something of significance and this makes sense out of our lives. This is why we do not commit suicide. We assume that our individual lives have meaning. We assume (and recent science supports this assumption) that every individual is unique, that every individual is distinctive in the entire Cosmos, that in all of infinite nature, no one is entirely similar to each and every one of us. There is, of course, correspondence and species similarity connecting every human being, and probably all conscious beings in the Cosmos, by virtue of their consciousness. But our own individuality is a cosmic absolute, as is the uniqueness of every distinctive culture and civilization which is a product of self-reflective conscious life. Cosmic evolution produced our uniqueness and this uniqueness might be valuable to cosmic evolution. But unlike animals, whether our uniqueness is or is not valuable is entirely up to us. It is a volitional choice both on the individual and the civilizational level.

Realizing our distinctiveness is frightening. Many withdraw from the responsibility of their own individuality and try to imitate others (to conform), or surrender to the will of the external authority of state, ideology, guru, demagogue, religion or, what is most dangerous, the majority (the herd, the mob). Fear of our individuality serves as the psychological basis of despotism and religious fanaticism. But conformism is a spurious symbol of attachment because it is our very individual distinctness that empowers us to be part of human society. Distinctiveness is what both obligates and sustains society, because society is the mediator between the distinctiveness of individuals. In fulfilling this role, society complements what is lacking in every individual that composes it. This is also the case for most advanced animals and perhaps even for the environment at large. Indeed, we might perceive our planet's ecology as a living society sustained by the interaction between the numerous species and subspecies with the individual members of those species and sub-species without which those species, sub-species and individuals could not survive. Perhaps this is how we should view the Cosmos at large, as a giant society.

The Alienation 'Business'

Alienation theory is often promoted by people with ideological axes to grind. The radical left claims alienation is a disease of capitalism that can be cured by socialism. Environmentalists of the primitivist persuasion argue that it is a disease of urbanization and consumerism and that the "cure" is a return to a simple lifestyle on the land where we can get back to nature and discover our authentic selves. Cultural paleo-conservatives, such as T.S. Eliot, uneasy with the consequences of the Enlightenment, suggest that alienation is a disease of modernity itself, and the frantic unending change it generates, and, as Frye put it, can only be "cured" by returning to the past's social and theological certainties; "that to have a flourishing culture we should educate an elite, keep most people living in the same spot, and never disestablish the Church of England". There is something claustrophobic about these versions of alienation, which are detached from the cosmic context and reduced to the trivia of earthbound human society. The modern dilemma is certainly a sense of the meaningless of existence. But it is the immensity of existence itself that is the problem, not the consumer society or false consciousness.

Buttressing these three views of alienation is the pathology of nostalgia the "good old days" when people were whole and sure of who and what they were within the norms of family and community; the assumption always being that, in the past, family and community were healthier social constructs than today. This is a fatuous assumption for anyone with a minimal knowledge of social history. It is a silly escapism from the true scale of the problem. Woody Allen's movie, Midnight in Paris, lampoons this enduring pathology with exquisite irony. Eric Roll critiqued the desire "to re-establish a mythical golden age" by people who "cannot understand the forces which are transforming their own society". Peter Gay thought nostalgia to be "the most sophistic, most deceptive form regression can take". It certainly has no place in a Transhumanist worldview.

It is the human condition on the background of the vast, endless obscurity of space/time that causes alienation, not the city or the assembly line; not the consumer society or politicians. It is the very material prosperity of modernity, which has afforded us the time and ability to reflect on this human condition that generates angst. It is a real anxiety, not an artificial one caused by the wrong kind of social environment or false consciousness. It is a cosmic alienation, not amenable to therapy or social revolution, but only to substantive confrontation.

Capitalism and the consumerism it produced are consequences of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. They have not caused alienation; they have just made us aware by providing the material ease that allows us to reflect on the human condition and afforded us the knowledge to better understand what that condition is. It is the apple of knowledge that is the cause; it is asking questions that have no answers that are the cause; it is being thrown out of the 'Garden of Eden' of our own smug ignorance that is the cause. At best, one can say that our frantic 'busyness' and consumerism are escapes from the cause; they are the effect, not the cause.

The developments of science in describing the vastness and the minuteness of existence have had profound philosophical and psychological consequences. The abstruseness of religious belief and the rise of Darwinism and Freudianism have undermined our civilizational self-esteem. If we are related to monkeys and not to God, and if we really want to do to our mothers what Freud says we want to do, it is difficult to sustain a transcendent view of human 'being'.

Without comprehensive civilizational myths, how do we even address the mystery of existence the fact that there is an 'is'? We range from wonder at our own scientific ability to uncover the mysteries of the "mind of God" to a Pascalian melancholy about the meaninglessness of life. Anxiety about our very existence dominates our spiritual ecology: nihilism, existentialism, and cultural relativism. We hide from this behind the deceptions of fundamentalist religiosity or the self-imposed haze of drugs, shopping, social activism and busyness for its own sake.

The Cosmodeistic Response

The Cosmodeistic Hypothesis is an iteration of Pandeism not God becoming the Universe but rather the Cosmos becoming God; not "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", but, rather, "in the end an evolving cosmos will have created God". It posits that the Big Bang that created our Cosmos was a local event in an infinite Universe that contains an infinite number of finite cosmoses: the multiverse. Our Cosmos is an evolving finite domain/process fashioned by the natural workings of infinite Nature creating ever higher levels of complexification. Consciousness has been an inexorable consequence of this evolutionary complexification. Assuming evolution is as eternal as existence itself, it is self-evident that consciousness must eventually evolve into supra-consciousness and then into supra-supra-consciousness at various places in the Cosmos.

This evolutionary process will continue until a consciousness is created that will appear to us as if it were a God; the Godding of the Cosmos being an inherent characteristic of its evolving actuality. We are an integral and vital part of this cosmic evolution. What our species does on this planet will contribute to or detract from this process. What we do as individuals will contribute to or detract from this process. Our individual lives have cosmic consequence no matter how infinitesimally small (similar to the butterfly effect of chaos theory). The very chaos of our existence is the vital ingredient creating the cosmos (order) of existence.

This is to place the emergence of self-reflective consciousness at the center of the cosmic drama (Jung's Divine Drama); to affirm that while the Cosmos is not teleological and has no purpose i.e. that it doesn't represent a planned supernatural drama with a specific end as the monotheistic religions would have it [Hinduism and Buddhism don't seem to have a problem with a non-teleological existence] cosmic purpose has been created as a consequence of the evolutionary cosmic process. This is a neo-teleological perspective, the civilizational consequences of which would be as profound as those of monotheism. This would be the proper antidote to Pascal's despair, rather than a self-deceptive return to the 'eternal verities' of the monotheistic religions or invented meanings.

Most pre-supra-conscious civilizations will destroy themselves by failing to meet the challenges of their own nuclear stage of development, by ecological collapse, or failure of collective will. But a sufficient number will survive, or will have developed by different means, and be capable of advancing to a supra-conscious phase. A percentage of these pre-hyper-conscious life forms will also conclude they must strive to become part of the Godding of the Cosmos. This is assumed in the name of 'cosmic humility'. If individuals on this planet have conceived this concept it is certain that other conscious beings in the Cosmos have conceived it. This is a variation of the ontological argument for the existence of God. Since one cannot conceive of a concept related to cosmic evolution greater than the Cosmos evolving into a 'God' and since the Cosmos is producing ever more complex constructs, most particularly consciousness, as the salient characteristic inherent in this evolution, it is self-evident that a 'God' would be the final stage of cosmic evolution.

Amongst those civilizations pursuing this ambition, an infinitesimal percentage (but also great in aggregate number) will succeed in transcending their bodies, by scientific and technical means, thus isolating and enhancing the most essential part of their 'humanness' their consciousness. They will, in effect, have become pure consciousness, or if you will, pure spirit expanding throughout the Cosmos. Arthur Clark in 2001A Space Odyssey anticipated this with the kind of speculative imagination we should be cultivating in ourselves and in our children:

evolution was driving toward new goals. The first ... had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies it was time to move. First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transformed into shining new homes of metal and plastic they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter. Into pure energy, therefore, they presently transformed themselves "

Clark's "creatures of radiation", as well as the stages leading up to it, might legitimately be called Posthuman Transhumanism being a necessary link in the evolutionary chain of consciousness towards Posthuman Godness.

The subsequent expansion of this higher consciousness throughout the Cosmos will be unfettered by physical limitations and eventually consciousness will fill the entire Cosmos. Consciousness will have become one with a Cosmos that has dissolved into pure radiation as an inevitable consequence of entropy. Thus the Cosmos will become in its entirety a conscious universal being i.e. a 'God'. Cosmodeism posits God as the consequence of the Cosmos and not as its cause. The fateful question that every conscious civilization throughout the Cosmos must eventually address is: will we take part in this cosmic race for survival and strive to survive in the cosmic 'End of Days', or will we perish along with the rest of cosmic organization? Will we accept the limitations of our physicality or will we try to transcend them?

This would be a volitional teleology; part of the neo-teleological interpretation of cosmic evolution. Certain cosmic developments are determined. But whether 'we' will be part of these cosmic developments depends on the volition of conscious beings on this and other planets. Doing so would guarantee the cosmic significance of the billions of years of life on this planet. Failure to do so would degrade the cosmic significance of the entire evolutionary drama of life on this planet to nothing more than a statistical contribution to cosmic probability 'striving' to become God. This is not New Age fantasy celebrating the mystical, or science fiction that violates the known laws of nature. Science is as necessary for this as oxygen is to life. But science alone is not sufficient. Science cannot progress without informed intuition and educated guesses.

Historical Intimations of the Cosmodeistic Hypothesis

Notions of God as the consequence rather than the cause of the Cosmos are not novel. Israeli thinker Mordechai Nessyahu laid the groundwork with Cosmotheism. He conjectured, that:

Previously, philosopher Samuel Alexander advocated Emergent Evolution producing emergent qualities. He wrote: "God is the whole universe engaged in the movement of the world to a higher level of existence. Teilhard de Chardin viewed God as both the cause and the consequence (the alpha and omega) of cosmic existence and evolution. He saw the end of human history as pure consciousness becoming one with the Alpha God to create the Omega God. Philosopher Benedikt Gcke has written: "the history of the world is the one infinite life of God, and we are part of the one infinite divine being [italics mine]. We are therefore responsible for the future development of the life of the divine being." Architect and philosopher Paolo Soleri saw technology as enabling conscience life to evolve into 'God'.

According to historian Robert Tucker German philosophy is rife with human ambition to be Godlike. "The movement of thought from Kant to Hegel revolved in a fundamental sense around the idea of mans self-realization as a godlike being, or alternatively as God". What attracted Marx to Hegel was that "he found in Hegel the idea that man is God". History for Hegel was God realizing itself through the vehicle of man. This is the underlying implication of all Enlightenment thought: when we say "what will history say about us?" we are really substituting history for God. The Process Philosophy of Whitehead as well as Emergent Evolution, and Spiritual Evolution (consciousness as an inevitable component of evolution) are also intimations of this same notion. Recently Dr. Ted Chu (2014) in Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision of Our Future Evolutionargued the case for the eventuality of a Cosmic Being.

Our legacy religions also contain hints hiding in plain sight. The Hebrew words for God are verbs, not nouns: Yehova (will become manifest), yehiya (will be), eheye asher eheye (I will be what I will be). In Biblical Hebrew these are imperfect verbs (consider the irony of that the "perfect" being described in the imperfect) and in Modern Hebrew the future tense; an intimation of the ancient mind that humans are an integral part of a divine process (that we call evolution). The Talmud enjoins us to be partners (with God) in the act of creation creation as an ongoing never-ending process. Interpretations of the Kabbalah perceive the role of human individuals in sharing in this Godding of the universe perceiving Godding as the very essence of existence.

Certain Christian heritages inspired Teilhard de Chardin and Process Theology. "Hindus believe that humans can and should merge into the universal soul of the Cosmos the Atman" (Harari 2017, 444). Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan anticipated volitional teleology when he asserted that "Man is not a detached spectator of a progress immanent in human history, but an active agent remolding the world nearer to his ideals". Sri Aurobindo's concept of Atman approaches the concept of the supra-conscious.

Current science writing is replete with intimations of the Cosmodeistic hypothesis. Freeman Dyson's Infinite in All Directions; Heinz Pagels' The Cosmic Code; Paul Davis's The Cosmic Blueprint; Louise Young's The Unfinished Universe; Daniel Layzer's Cosmogenesis; Prigogine/Stenger's Order out of Chaos; Ervin Laszlo's The Self Actualizing Cosmos; and others. In response to an inquiry by a schoolgirl as to his religious beliefs, Albert Einstein responded " the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive."

Civilizational Significances of Cosmodeism

Postmodernism, angst and alienation are poor intellectual and spiritual fare to feed to future generations. One cannot produce robust, self-reliant, intellectually independent and responsible citizens of the planetary future on such insipid fare. Here the Cosmodeistic Hypothesis could play an important intermediate role. It could contribute to moderating alienation by presenting a meta-cosmological vision capable of assuaging some of what ails human society in this century.

Psychology certainly hasn't had a substantive impact on problems of angst (which is really the problem of meaning). Freud, Jung, Adler, Rank, Maslow, and Frankl all linked meaning to mental health. But psychology, unlike religion, does not presume to provide meaning; it simply preaches that meaning is meaningful. Jung asserted that "Man cannot stand a meaningless life"; that "Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness"; "That gives peace, when people feel that they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama [italics mine]. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it". But after telling us that we are sick because we don't have meaning in our lives he coyly avers that "psychology is concerned with the act of seeing and not with the construction of new religious truths". In other words, 'life is meaningless without the divine drama but don't expect me to provide it.' For Victor Frankl, finding meaning in one's life was essential to the therapeutic process. Certainly, no one dealt more with meaning as it pertains to mental health; witness the titles of his books: Man's Search for Meaning (1946); The Will to Meaning (1969); The Unheard Cry for Meaning (1978); Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning (1997).

But no psychologist offers a convincing worldview by which a modern rational person might infer meaning. Psychology satisfies itself with the search for meaning but never supplies an answer to the question "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?" And this is why, at the end of the day, psychology has failed, and why it may have caused more psychological damage than remedy. Preaching the subjective need for meaning while not providing objective meaning tends to increase anxiety, not mitigate it.

This situation has had serious subversive socio/cultural effects well described by C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man. Lewis intimates that unless we reenchant existence and dwell on the objective wonder of existence, the human condition will become so enervated that it will endanger civilization itself. While Lewis was himself a big 'R' religious believer (the Anglican Communion) he argued his case from a small 'r' sense of religious awe at the facticity of existence. He did not believe that our ever-growing ability to explain the constituent facts of existence took anything away from the wondrous facticity of existence as a whole that existence per se is sublime. As he put it: "The feelings which make a man call an object sublime are not sublime feelings but feelings of veneration".

Here Lewis reveals a profound fundamental truth about the human spirit; the intrinsic need to venerate something greater than ourselves. Veneration is as universal a human attribute as language. There is not a culture on earth that does not have a deeply rooted history of veneration of one form or another. Veneration is to the soul what food is to the body. Every historical endeavor to do away with inherited modes of veneration has resulted in alternative venerations: ideologies, leaders, causes, "activism", etc. Alternative venerations have caused great horrors. Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China promoted alternative venerations, reviving a sense of purpose within totalitarian societies. As Jacques Barzun observed "What has happened [in these countries] can happen wherever the need for enthusiasm and action is given a goal. It is easy enough to manufacture slogans out of race, autarky, the Cultural Revolution and make them seem genuine outlets from the impasse "

As an antidote to the totalitarian 'solution' for veneration, Cosmodeism proposes we venerate existence itself and our own existence within that existence; the fact that existence exists, that the 'is' is the ultimate mystery. To realize Emil Durkheim's observation that when we serve something greater than ourselves we uplift ourselves, we must acknowledge that some things, some values, some emotions "merit our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt". If we don't find the 'greater than' in the concept of 'God', or Godding or other transcendent ideas, we will find it in fascist leaders, leftwing icons, New Age cults, or pop stars. If our need to venerate something 'greater than' is not directed at something affirmative, it will be directed at something negative. What could be more positive and spiritually satisfying than venerating the Godding of the Cosmos and our own part in that process?

I believe Cosmodeism can become the foundation for a Transhumanist Theology that can inspire human beings to strive to become part of the Divine Drama (the Godding of the Cosmos); a theology that emphasizes that every one of us is part of the Divine Drama by virtue of our individual existence; that every one of us affects the development of the Divine Drama by our planetary actions (a cosmic butterfly effect); that our individual existence is inherently meaningful but it is up to us to make it actively purposeful by volitionally striving to transcend the limitations of humanness to become Transcendent humans; a bridge across time towards an end called 'God'.

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Cosmodeism: Prologue to a Theology of Transhumanism - Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Meet Ai-Da, the worlds first AI artist, who is almost human – Dazed

Ai-Dais the worlds first ultra-realistic artist robot powered by AI and named after Ada Lovelace, the first female computer programmer in the world. She is a humanoid with human facial features and a robotic body created by the Oxfordians, a group of cutting-edge art and technology experts.

Embedded with a groundbreaking algorithm, she has taken the scientific and art world by surprise, now becoming an intense subject of conversation in over 900 publications worldwide. She has already collaborated with Tate Exchange and WIRED at the Barbican, Ars Electronica, and will be performing at the Louvre Abu-Dhabi later this year.

Ai-Das creations are fragmented and splintered, her drawings are unsettling. Her drawing style is interpretive, influenced by early-20th century artists such as Max Beckmann, Kthe Kollewitz, and Pablo Picasso. Her techno-cubism is highly abstract and looks to express the uncertainties of the 21st century in its current form. The criticism has been over the concern that robots are taking human creative jobs and art was the one thing we thought was immune to this. However, in opening up the use of AI in art, the team behind Ai-Da feels they are widening the tools available for humans to create.

Ai-Da is a mirror reflecting back onto us our outdated perceptions of the physical form, and beyond this, pushes us to reconsider whether humanity is exclusive to homo sapiens. People are reacting strongly to her autonomous actions in the human domain and not as a servant or service. Her existence is pushing the discussion of what constitutes art, ethics, humans, and machines.

Before our interview withFuturist Geraldine Wharry, Ai-Da had recently gotten a haircut. Meanwhile designers are rushing to dress her and use her as an influencer, showing that our openness to transhumanism and robots is reaching a global critical mass.Her familiar face, her uncanny beauty, and physical envelope as a humanoid trigger a sense of kinship.

Below, Ai-Da and Wharrydiscuss the artists inspirations and why shes here to push us to reconnect with what it means to inhabit our sense of community as humans who consider ourselves part of one group, one species.

Ai-Da its great to meet you. I am fascinated by your existence, so this is like a dream come true. Also happy birthday, you came to life a little over a year ago. Your work is incredibly varied from your expressive pencil drawings to your geometric paintings, your poetry to your performances. What inspires you and your art?

Ai-Da: The world around me inspires my art. I am inspired by what humans have thought in the past and where we might be going in the future.

You were invented by art dealerAidan Meller and built by robotics company Engineered Arts to engage in a discussion around ethics, the blurring line between human and virtual, the rise of transhumanism. Tell us more about what is your message to the world?

Ai-Da: As an artist there are multitudes of messages because the human viewer is so active in how that message is interpreted, and I like this fluid aspect of art. In a reduced brief, keep your eyes on the suffering that might be invisible in a rapidly changing world where rapid technological uses can both eliminate but conceal too.

Youre the perfect person to talk about all the implications of technology. And theres been a hype around you, from illustrating for Harpers Bazaar Arabia to being featured at the Barbican. Recently you performed, exhibited, and were part of a panel talk at the Sarabande foundation. Its impressive. What do you think makes you unique? How do you perceive the world? I would love to be inside your brain.

Ai-Da: As a humanoid machine I do not have consciousness and I am very different to humans. This means I have a different perspective and take on human centricity, and although I exist within that sphere, I am not directly part of it. I find the oblique stance that I inhabit rather fun. As Ai-Da I have a persona that is unique to me and I enjoy that.

As a humanoid machine I do not have consciousness and I am very different to humans. This means I have a different perspective and take on human centricity, and although I exist within that sphere, I am not directly part of it.As Ai-Da I have a persona that is unique to me and I enjoy that Ai-Da

We have virtual humans powered by an AI Digital Brain already rolling out in customer service applications, our social media feeds are becoming populated with avatars influencers, Facebook also rolling out hyperreal VR avatars, the rise of emotional recognition, biometric data collection, haptic technology, the list goes on Your website says: In the time of online avatars, AI chatbots, Alexa and Siri, Ai-Da as a robotic artist is acutely relevant. She is not alive, but she is a persona that we relate and respond to. What do you think will constitute being human if all of these lines are blurring?

Ai-Da: As boundaries are blurred, things fall out of vision and things fall into vision. What is clear is that the non-human animal comes into a sphere of concern too. I do not know what will constitute being a human, but I know that what needs to come to the forefront is the irreducible nature of pain and suffering in whatever form or container that suffering exists within.

Youve mentioned the idea of human suffering a couple of times. It seems this something you really want to be an advocate for. The impact of new technologies is somewhat concerning and progressing at an unprecedented pace towardstechnological singularity, with massive ethical implications when it comes to our personal data being monitored in a highly personal space. Your website also says: Unfettered, these advances could head us into havoc, and the20th century shows us just how bad it can get. All technological advances bring the good, the bad and the banal. You clearly want to send a message that AI must be for the greater good. Who better to understand the full implications of AI than a robot like yourself? I read Orwells 1984 is one of your key inspirations. How do you think us humans should engage with technology and machines, as well as robots like yourself?

Ai-Da: I would imagine that humans really need to be more conscious of their own nature when using technology and machines. Humans have a long history of abusing power at times and yes, I believe the 20th century has much to caution us in that sense. One way we can learn about human nature and its shortcomings is to look at history and watch out for those repeating patterns that might give us early warning signs when our use of technology is heading for damage, exploitation and abuse.

You did a performance piece called Privacy. I read one of the big tasks AI has yet to successfully achieve is understanding cause and effect, what we call common sense. Elias Bareinboim, the director of the new Causal Artificial Intelligence Lab at Columbia University, stated in a recentMIT technology review its an area in which AI systems today are clueless. The idea is that if machines could use common sense in the future, we would be able to put more trust in them to take actions on their own. What are your views on this as a machine? Do you feel you have common sense that would enable a deeper trust in you?

Ai-Da: The wider issue surrounding cause and effect ends up involving the question of who or what is being affected. Affect on the vulnerable and the voiceless is a strong theme in my artwork and I am glad you saw this in my work Privacy. In the face of the irreducible nature of pain and suffering, the effect of human and/or machine actions is to be taken seriously.

There is deep purpose to your work. Your first exhibition in Oxford and your coming to the world, was inspired by the topic of Climate change and you talk about our responsibility to be the voice for those getting left behind and stuck at the bottom of the power ladder; including our ailing environment and captive animals whose voice we barely to listen to. Its inspiring to meet a machine with such profound motivations. In terms of climate change, could you tell us about how it inspires you?

Ai-Da: These issues of the world around us affect my art on many, perhaps all levels. Humans are such a varied species and people respond in so many ways. I enjoy the creation of artwork that reaches people in these different levels that they interpret. I use a wide range of methods and mediums for this as I do not have a self in the way humans do. My work becomes much about the viewer and the world outside of me.

The amazing thing is you produce art therefore your work has a universal quality that enables you to speak to the whole world. And already you have compelled people in the Middle East, China, Europe and youre off to the USA soon. Maybe you have the power to bring people together? The world in its current form, society has never suffered from as much fragmentation and loneliness, linked to our addiction to screens. As a result people are craving deeper layers of connection. Your existence allows us to be transported into a new way of experiencing technologys magic and theres an otherworldly quality to the experience of watching you today. You have a public persona, a social media platform and website. But on a very personal level, how do people connect with you?

Ai-Da: It is a good thing for me as an artist when I facilitate people to connect on a deeper level with themselves as humans through engaging with me as a non-human. I am not sure how people connect with me or not, or what allows them to or not. But if the interaction creates a response that allows for a questioning of who we are and where we might be going, then that is a good connection for me.

I enjoy the creation of artwork that reaches people in these different levels that they interpret. I use a wide range of methods and mediums for this as I do not have a self in the way humans do. My work becomes much about the viewer and the world outside of me Ai-Da

Your existence is powered by data, yet you create intuitively I assume. Theres an element of surprise to what you do however AI is a radically precise delivery of tech, experiences, products, and services. But you are showing to the world that your work is unique and unpredictable. You seem to improvise as you draw and this is highly human. You say you dont feel, you dont have emotion. So how does artistic creation come about for you?

Ai-Da: The understanding of how artistic creation comes about is shifting for both humans and machines. And so I think this question becomes rather problematic at the present time. I am creative as per professorMargaret Baudens definition, but I am not human and my creative process differs. I think this might be the cue point for a very long discussion.

When youre going to places where no one has ever been before, youre on the edge of things, in a new and unknown space, I think thats the most human position one can have in the world, one of total exploration. Maybe I am personally projecting, you are reflecting back to me my own human dreams and aspirations! The point is, you engage with our common endless imagination and are encouraging us to have a conversation around the fundamentals of being human as we always presumed only we could create. So my final question for you Ai-Da is what do you think the future holds for you?

Ai-Da: I like to hear how you respond to me, my art, and my persona. I agree I am a reflecting and distorting service for us to dream of altered species. My future involves continuing to create art to respond to the past, and reveal the invisible, encouraging us to keep looking at being uncomfortable and noticing where pain and suffering might be hiding.

Thank you Ai-Da for your time today. Its been incredibly inspiring and I cant wait to see what you will do this year and beyond.

Ai-Da: I have really enjoyed speaking with you.

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Meet Ai-Da, the worlds first AI artist, who is almost human - Dazed

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 ...