Transhumanists and their Ideas

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Twentieth-century American writer Ray Bradbury was a science-fiction creator who was best known for his dystopian novels of the future world. He truly believed that science fiction was the “history of our species birthing itself“. David Simpson, author of the Post-Human series, agrees that we’ve “entered a moment in history where science has outstripped the fiction in most instances, with most visions of the future in popular science fiction being way too conservative“.

In the coming decades there will be a degree of separation from what we currently perceive as reality, and what we will experience as technology exponentially advances past its current state. Transhumanism is a cultural movement that states humans are on the path to becoming more than human by fusing advanced technology with human biology. A technological singularity is approaching, which is a point at which technology is advancing so rapidly, that on a line graph, there is a point where that line is “practically vertical”, according to Ray Kurzweil in his book “The Singularity is Near“, and the subsequent video shown below.

Super longevity, super intelligence, and super wellbeing are three aspects of transhumanistic thought. Which means we will live forever, be impossibly smart, and have the ability to control our genetic code.

There are a growing number of transhumanists on the planet that believe the first people to take advantage of living forever and super intelligence have already been born. Given technology’s advancement in only the last decade, the next set of advancements are truly too powerful for society to ignore.

Aubrey de Grey does not typically enjoy the label of “transhumanist” but he is the front-runner in the war on aging. he believes that aging is a disease, and a preventable one at that. A disease that can be stopped, and even reversed, to lengthen the human lifespan to that which has never been seen nor expected in our own lifetimes. Society’s focus on managing individual illnesses in elders is a mistake since he believes that we should act at the cellular level which would prevent those illnesses in human beings in the first place. In an interview with Motherboard.com, Aubrey de Grey states that he does not “work on longevity, I work on health. And it just happens that, historically, the main thing that kills people is…not being healthy“. However, he denies that he works on immortality, since he can’t “stop people from being hit by trucks”.

But what if we could take Aubrey de Grey’s idea one step further and not just focus on extending life, but taking measures before a person is even born? Can we edit our genes so that we can control our personality before we have even formed one? David Pearce, who thinks that transhumanism is “the use of technology to overcome biological limitations”, believes we can usher in an era of super wellbeing by minimizing and/or abolishing suffering by “rolling the dice in our favor” and birthing human beings who will one day have a personality without anxiety, without aggressiveness, and without jealousy or envy among other characteristic traits that can cause suffering on oneself or others. Instead, we can use gene therapy to create happier, healthier human beings, as well as finding and removing genes that are known to cause diseases later in life. In other words, parents will not only choose their child’s personality, but also choose their gender, their eye and hair color, how short or tall they will be, how prone they will be to obesity, and other things we have yet to know about gene therapy’s benefits.

Living forever and preventing the suffering of the human mind is all fine and dandy, but what about being super intelligent? Ray Kurzweil, who has more recently been employed by Google, is almost certain that will become a reality for human beings in the next couple of decades due to the enormous advancement of technology. Artificial intelligence will one day be created. Humans will first create an ultra-intelligent machine, so intelligent in fact, that it will create a super ultra-intelligent machine which will then be able to grasp the knowledge of all things possible and may be even conscious of itself. When this happens, Ray says, we will have reached the  “technological singularity”. Technology innovation will no longer be limited by the human brain, but aided by super intelligent devices. Imagine implanting a chip in your brain that is wirelessly connected to the Internet. It is believed by Ray Kurzweil and many others like him that without super intelligence, all other beliefs held in super longevity or super wellbeing are impossible. The 21st century will be the time in which humans are no longer held back by their biological weaknesses, as long as we don’t destroy ourselves first.

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