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Transhumanism

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Aleenik, May 18, 2011.

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Do You Support Transhumanism?

  1. Yes

    67.6%
  2. No

    32.4%
  1. Aleenik

    Aleenik Deity

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    Check out the following for info as well. However, I reccomend that you don't base your decision of support on humanity+ alone, as it's an organization that obviously promotes transhumanism aka h+ or H+. Nonetheless, there is a lot of info on that website.
    http://humanityplus.org/learn/philosophy/
    http://humanityplus.org/learn/transhumanist-declaration/
    http://humanityplus.org/learn/transhumanist-faq/

    Do you support it and why or why not? I personally feel like I do. The reason is fairly simple. I believe a longer lifespan and a life without as many health issues would be awesome. As technology keeps advancing and gives us the ability to do so, I don't see why we shouldn't use technology to help take charge of our future as a species. Of course, there are risk, but technology has always presented risk and benefits. Yet, we have kept advancing technology and improving our lives through it so far... why stop now? Why not go further? Since I'm an agnostic atheist, the issue of "playing God" doesn't matter to me. A few quotes that I feel help show my opinion on this subject.

    If you want to read more on transhumanism, you could either check out some books (Ray Kurzweil is a fairly well known author on the subject) or just simply google transhumanism and look up info on it on the interwebzorz.
     
  2. bernie14

    bernie14 Filter Manipulator

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    sure, eugenics + gattaca + borg sounds like the way to go....

    "transhuman" sounds doubleplusgood!!!
     
  3. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    If it's feasible, sure, I'd rather like it.

    I'm not planning to live my life with the expectation that it will ever be feasible for me.
     
  4. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    French Civ Fan - are you rich enough to get the cure? If not, would you allow the rich to improve without you?
     
  5. Aleenik

    Aleenik Deity

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    A technological singularity is discussed by some, but who knows if that is even for real. So far just a hypothetical event. Guess we will see... or our future descendants will.
     
  6. Aleenik

    Aleenik Deity

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    No, I'm not rich. The idea is to make the technology advances available to everyone. Of course, that is one of the risk of transhumanism it could be argued, that the elite could try and keep the technology for themselves. However, the same could be said about other technological advances I'd argue.
     
  7. Kozmos

    Kozmos Jew Detective

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  8. Eat_Up_Martha

    Eat_Up_Martha Prince

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    I'm not actively opposed to the idea, but some of the changes strike me as so extreme as to be nearly incomprehensible. For me, probably the most significant component of the human condition is our limitations and our relationship with them. While I understand that the proper approach to transhumanism would be considering this an expansion of our limits, not a complete removal of them, I still have difficulty trying to imagine the kind of creature we would be afterwards. I just can't relate. That's what's so terrifying.

    I don't want to sound like a Luddite, I'm not. But I place great value in humanity (both as a species and a greater, somewhat nebulous, idea) and I feel like it would be completely lost with extreme transhumanist practices. Not to say that that is necessarily wrong, it's just a hell of a change to stomach.
     
  9. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    I think we need more concrete examples before we can seriously be asked to give our opinions on them. Do you have some?
     
  10. Aleenik

    Aleenik Deity

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  11. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Wearing glasses or teeth implants is transhumanism too.

    So in principle, I see no problem with it.
     
  12. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    As much as I like eyeglasses, I think the first real signs of transhumanism are things that modify the inside of our body via the application of technology. Now, it's all gradients on a curve, so primitive counter examples can easily be transhumanist. However, a technology really should be knowledge-based before we consider it to be really contributing to our technological curve.

    The idea is that we use technologies to discover new sciences that allow us to create new technologies. We use these technologies to augment humans to increase our capabilities, and hopefully create some type of feedback loop.

    I consider these technologies to be obviously transhumanist. You'll note that we very rarely get a technology that augments a person above the human standard. Those are still somewhat of a holy grail.

    Organ/tissue transplants
    Wires in the brain (e.g., deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's or depression)
    Machines in the body (e.g., pace-makers)
    Steroids (which augment us above the human standard)

    There're places we could go, however. Gene therapy can easily create augmentive effects (if we figure out how to do so). The number of wires going into the brain can increase. Hormonal stabilizers can be put into the body, as well (I'm thinking insulin, but there could be more). We have artificial limbs, but they suck: there's always the possibility such that limbs could be invented that we're jealous of. When I get my color vision, I could get it with more than just the tri-color spectrum y'all have.

    People're working on fuel cells that would use blood glucose. That might really open up some possibilities.

    There's a market for both human body repair and human body augmentation, but it's not as strong as it could be. The sciences are naturally limited by the lack of funding, and regulatory agencies don't have a strong mandate to allow therapies that augment. What can a transhumanist do? Well, try to get more money into the sciences. Politically agitate to allow more augmentative experiments. Be willing to experiment.

    As for this problem, there're two solutions. Firstly, is to ensure that the cure is invented well before you need it, and such that it's off-patent by the time you need it and therefore cheap. (This is my preference, because it helps the greatest number of people). Alternatively, make sure you're wealthy enough to afford it by the time you need it.
     
  13. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Well, the inside/outside view strikes me as rather artificial or culturally motivated, i.e. we are used to outside "augmentations" like glasses because they usually involve low technology and therefore were invented earlier. This difference gets fishy with things like contact lenses or tooth implants anyway.

    You do have a point about a perceived "normal level" for humans we still don't like to exceed. That's mostly for the reason there are not many possibilities to do so that don't involve rather high risks. Some leg protheses already allow a trained user to run faster or jump higher than a "normal" person, though.
     
  14. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Well, using outside tools, we (I think) have already created a feedback loop of recursive augmentation. I'm pretty sure that the steam engine was not only important in producing more clothing, but also a critical step in creating the internet :)

    But transhumanism, to me, means beginning the process of fundamentally changing what it means to 'be human'. IMO, this means some type of internal modification.

    You're right, it's a function of risk. Low-hanging fruit, and all that, too. I think that this human transformation will happen (baring some type of environmental or political catastrophe), so it's more a question of how fast and how many people we can help
     
  15. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    I wouldn't underestimate the influence of technology skepticists, romanticists, religions and greens today. We already have strong opposition to stem cell research and even green genetics currently, and in the eyes of the critics, I expect transhumanism to rank even worse.
     
  16. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    I don't know if this is related or not, but I recall a fascinating show on discovery about what some scientists were saying we'd have to do to ourselves genetically if we ever want to colonize deep space. I was enraptured...then remembered that I've always held the position that we cannot play God with our own DNA. Talk about a catch-22 for me!
     
  17. PeteAtoms

    PeteAtoms FormulaRandom

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    I'm not opposed to any of this. However, I can't help imagining huge amounts of discrimination and division of society into even more dramatic "haves" and "have nots," as the acceleration of tech advancement creates huge strides within a single generation or even year to year.

    Will we find ourselves with varying social classes of "obsolete" and "cutting edge?" Just sounds like a recipe for societal unrest and problems.

    EDIT: Not that we don't have that now, but the degree to which I am imagining this is much more dramatic.

    Not just sci-fi cybernetics and hokum, eugenics poses the same issue. I just saw Gattaca for the first time btw :p
     
  18. Rashiminos

    Rashiminos Fool Prophet

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    I think some of our other areas of knowledge need more pursuit at this time, lest those technologies be used for nefarious, or worse, ignorant purposes.
     
  19. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Just make sure that when it comes out, you label all the stuff to do with cloning and whatever high-tech shenanigan was involved in the making so foolsconsumers can make their own choice.
     
  20. Rashiminos

    Rashiminos Fool Prophet

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    If they can beeline the right technologies first, then the "consumers" will become redundant to them.
     

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