Who are transhumanists and who are the stakeholders?

Transhumanists are people who want to transcend the current human experience. Humanists move at their own leisurely pace, while transhumanists advocate for the merger of man and machine in order to live remarkably longer than what our human biology allows us to. Transhumanists are people who love technology and what it means for our human existence. Not only are transhumanists keen on being healthy physically, but allowing technology to increase our intelligence. Also, removing the length it takes for humans to evolve. Transhumanists believe in prolonging our existence by moving to new worlds and discovering new, Earth-like planets. transhumanists are environmentally friendly, as technology that we believe in will one day be able to reverse the carbon emission effects that humans have disgraced the world with. We believe in the fact that little nano bots will be able to eliminate cancerous cells without one symptom of a side effect. Genetic manipulation is a must for transhumanists, as currently all humans have limits. Transhumanists believe in limitless human conditions, both physically and intelligently. Transhumanists are educated about current technology and its relation to biology, and work towards a goal that has bigger implications than saving for retirement.

Stakeholders include companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, which are currently some of those popular and well-regarded companies in the world. They are deep into technology and are increasingly coming out with gadgets that are becoming closer and closely integrated with our human bodies. Although wearable technology is not necessarily transhumanist, this is one step closer to that end.

Ray Kurzweil is a promoter of transhumanism and believes that one day technology will exceed human biology, and thus, in order to survive, humans will have to integrate themselves with the technology around them in order to move forth in the world.

It is interesting to note that perhaps some of us alive today won’t be able to make it to the point where we will have the option to live forever. However, it will one day be possible to do so, assuming humanity doesn’t destroy itself or be destroyed by an asteroid or something.

When did the celebration of birthdays begin? In what culture did the celebration of birthdays begin?

Today is my father’s birthday, and today he is now a senior citizen. He has never been one to celebrate a birthday. From what I hear, when he joined the Navy when he was 19, he never received too many gifts except from his mother. Not receiving gifts isn’t what disheartened him about birthdays, to him it’s another day. I think I’ve grown up to enjoy that sense of non-receiving as well, as I don’t want much for my birthday other than the usual pat on the back or whatever. Let’s make it an occasion to get together, that’s all.

One of the purposes of this blog is to think about where humanity will be in the 22nd century. Why look so far ahead in the future, instead of looking at the issues that will hit us within the next 9 decades? Well, for one, I don’t think there is much I can do to change the fact that we have global warming, deepening hatred between religions and cultures, and Mother Nature just not giving a f***.

I think humanity will prevail. Perhaps we may have many setbacks in these coming decades, but I think in the 22nd century we will finally see a Utopia-like environment for humanity. But what about birthdays?

In Ray Kurzweil’s “The Singularity” he discusses the fact that humans will be able to basically transplant themselves from one physical body to another. The body acts as an encasing of the mind, essentially allowing the individual to live forever.

Birthdays in the 22 Century: The birthday party supplies business will thrive. Cakes will still be made (who knows out of what, though), and abundant prodigy children will no longer receive hand rattles for their first birthdays, but instead books that they can read before they can talk. Damn technology…just keeps making everything easier for us! And already grown folks will, like I said, essentially live forever. SO maybe the birthday business will actually die, because birth no longer has meaning in the 22nd century, as humans are cultivated as soon as they are conceived to live without fear of death.

I know that I am a thinker, one that thinks all the time. I drive a lot, for long durations, with thought-making music blasting. I think about love, evil, work, art, the future, past, and present, among other things. Sometimes I think about puppies running in the wind. I like the ones on the Viagra commercials. Or is it Cialis? I have a dry sense of humor, but it depends on my mood.

What will philosophers think in the 22nd century, less than 9 decades away? How will they produce logic with human biology and man-made technology influencing their thoughts from the beginning of their birth? Exponentially, we are achieving the one goal man has searched for since the beginning: the route to God, or whatever you want to call him regarding your own beliefs. But hey, what do I know, it’s 2013!

I think about myself, too. But I’m not selfish. I just like to think, and analyze, and determine, and conclude.

Anyways, as for the future, whether one second into it or one century, things will be different. More words will have been written, more years will have passed. More faces becoming wrinkled and more children losing their innocence to the effects of adulthood. But it has happened forever since we have existed, and will continue until we are extinct.

I’m excited for the 22nd century. You know why? Because Ray Kurzweil thinks anyone will be able to live forever. In a machine!

Hehe, maybe I can continue this forever! And Ever! AND EVER!!

Whether I live forever or not, the fact of the matter is that one day people WILL live forever if they choose. Enough of that “we live forever because of God…” stuff, we really will live long enough to become Gods. Too soon?

When trying to keep the momentum alive for the transhumanist movement that many fear could mean despair, it is important to know what to measure when figuring out the ideas, emotions, and behaviors of both sides of the field.

What kinds of people don’t believe in your movement? Who does believe in your movement? What’s their age, race, level of education? What’s their level of income? Profession?

All of this information is needed when determining or pinpointing the reason for someone’s belief or non-belief in your movement. But this is just the start. There’s a lot that goes into why or why not someone is or isn’t a transhumanist.

One aspect to analyze is education. Not just formal schooling…but how much does this segmented group of people actually know about transhumanism? Do they fear or not believe because of ignorance to what the movement entails? This makes me think of Will Smith in I, Robot, where his reoccurring dream is due to a robot saving him, and not a drowning girl, ONLY because he had a better chance of surviving. Of course, in the movie, the robots were programmed to kill eventually. But there was one good robot that made a human connection with the audience….another subject!

Is someone a follower of transhumanist thought because they’ve already been affected by the movement? Some people in the world are already benefiting from transhuman technology, such as Lisa Kulik, who went blind slowly over 15 years. When opthamologist Mark Humayun created Argus, Lisa’s world became bright again.

Getting a sense of why someone thinks of transhumanism the way they do is what will help form a strategy on convincing people that transhumanism is the future. Unless the world is destroyed by humans, asteroids, aliens, or whatever, technology will take over the world and be integrated within human biology. Technology already controls us and is a apart of us on the outside. But at the rate we are going technology will be within us, and not just in our hands. Persuading the world that this can be used for good is hard, so here are some things to ask when researching public perception of transhumanism. Using a Likert scale, ask the respondents their agree-ability with the following intial statements:

  • Future technology will create 100% clean energy
  • Humans will one day be super-intelligent
  • Technology will speed the evolution of human beings
  • Technology will be used against humans to control populations
  • Nanotechnology will one day cure cancer
  • Nanotechnology will one day be used to assassinate public figures
  • Humans will need future technology to survive

The above questions offer good and bad sides of technology transhumanists believe the world will experience. This initial set of questions focuses on the beliefs of what technology will do, and not necessarily the opinions of why or why not transhumanistic thought is bad or good. This gives the researcher insight into what people think technology will offer in the future. Follow-up or additional questions may be presented in the future, either on the same survey, or on a follow-up survey (again, a Likert scale) to find opinions on those initial questions:

  • Biotechnology should be controlled by the government
  • Humans should be super-intelligent
  • Private companies should be in control of nanotechnology patents
  • Humans should be able to live forever
  • Parents should be able to choose the traits of their children
  • The most important part of future technology is ethics

Using the answers to the initial questions and follow-up questions, running tests on what types of people (demographics) consistently answer similarly will offer insight into how the leaders of transhumanism can cater to the needs of believers and non-believers. Most people who fear future technology, may fear it because of that technology getting into the hands of evil humans, which is generally a well-accepted concern. Saddam Hussein started wars due to the use of chemical weapons on his own people. Prevention is key, so being proactive is a major part of the transhumanist movement as it becomes larger.

With technology, humans will become more than human. But what about those skeptics out there who believe that robots will eventually take over the world and kill off humans? Could they be right?

I’m not sure, but I’d rather become half-robot than dead-human!

To transhumanists, technology will be the key to the survival of human existence and ultimately our immortality. But technology is also which caused today’s current epidemics in the world. Technology spurred overpopulation, if you follow the chain, and caused disease and greed and wealthy economies and poor economies and wealthy families and poor families and more!

Without technology, however, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with you via this blog post. I wouldn’t even exist in your memory. Maybe I’m blabbering, but the future of technology can only go in one direction, and that is UP!

Transhumanists need a way of relaying information to skeptics as to inform them of its benefits. Many of these skeptics believe we shouldn’t mess around with God’s plan for us to die eventually. But many transhumanists are also atheists or agnostics (not all). Transhumanists take their fate into their own hands and make a choice on whether to utilize the technology at their disposal for the good or bad of humankind.

Many technologies transhumanists look forward to can be used in evil ways. Nano-bots are looking to be used to cure cancer by inserting them into the body. These nano-bots would be programmed to “search-and-destroy” all cancerous cells. But….nano-bots could also be programmed by terrorists to spy on governments. Even worse, mass quantities could be programmed to wipe out a country’s entire ecosystem by destroying agriculture, poisoning water supplies, and even infecting specific populations with diseases.

This causes a major problem with speaking about the ethics of transhumanist thought.

With that being said, transhumanism needs help when it comes to the perception of its intentions. How can we make this experience better for the world to understand?

For those Ray Kurzweil’s, Aubrey de Grey’s, and David Pearce’s of the world, I would recommend aiming to change the perception of what transhumanist life could be like. You’ve already got some of us hooked, but let’s go for the skeptics.

First, those pushing a transhumanist agenda need to reach those skeptics by finding them. To do this, research needs to be conducted. Push surveys on websites with transhumanist, biotechnology, or subjects alike. Record demographics, record their views on humanity, record their views on transhumanism. And then find the groups of people based on that data that are skeptical of the intentions of transhumanists.

Second, start reaching out to those people that belong to the demographic you’re targeting as “non-transhumanist” and ask them why they don’t believe transhumanism to be a “good” thing. Ask open-ended questions to receive real responses. Find out their past experiences to understand why that aging and death should not be tampered with, or why humans should not have super-intelligence. Are they afraid that these abilities will get into the wrong hands?

Finally, analyze the data and figure out a way to address the concerns of these skeptics of transhumanism. Companies with technologies of a transhumanist stature should establish programs and processes not just for ethical reasons but because the concerns of skeptics are real and true concerns. We don’t want terrorists to have super-intelligence or access to world-destroying technology. Once there is a plan in place, stress and publicize this plan to those skeptics and the rest of the world on why we can still utilize the power of transhumanist tendencies and still be moral human beings.

Since technological advancement is inevitable (minus the world reaching the apocalypse), these are ethical dilemmas that governments should begin dealing with. But governments do already deal with technology and ethics, correct?

Take for instance the nuclear bomb. We have international governments that routinely make sure that countries with bad intentions do not acquire this technology. We have technology in place to protect our electrical grids from cyber attacks.

All of this is possible with any new technology that is born. The future is scary, but if you won’t have a future and decide to waive your immortality, then should you care about the future of those that do?

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.