I am focusing here on the main counterarguments that were raised against a thesis I put forward in my article “Nietzsche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism” (2009), namely that significant similarities can be found on a fundamental level between the concept of the posthuman, as put forward by some transhumanists, and Nietzsche’s concept of the overhuman. The articles with the counterarguments were published in the recent “Nietzsche and European Posthumanisms” issue of The Journal of Evolution and Technology (January-July 2010). As several commentators referred to identical issues, I decided that it would be appropriate not to respond to each of the articles individually, but to focus on the central arguments and to deal with the counterarguments mentioned in the various replies. I am concerned with each topic in a separate section. The sections are entitled as follows: 1. Technology and evolution; 2. Overcoming nihilism; 3. Politics and liberalism; 4. Utilitarianism or virtue ethics?; 5. The good Life; 6. Creativity and the will to power; 7. Immortality and longevity; 8. Logocentrism; 9. The Third Reich. When dealing with the various topics, I am not merely responding to counterarguments; I also raise questions concerning transhumanism and put forward my own views concerning some of the questions I am dealing with.
“In a world torn with strife and warfare, perhaps no problem is more important [than that of understanding and developing wisdom], as wisdom may be the only hope out of the bloodshed.” - Robert Sternberg
Dr. J. chats with science writer Ann Finkbeiner (annfinkbeiner.com and lastwordonnothing.com), author of A Grand and Bold Thing which tells the story of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. They discuss the structure of the universe, its origins and expansion, citizen science, the search for habitable planets, and the culture of science.
Martine and Bina Rothblatt accept award on Sexual Freedom Day at the National Press Club, September 23, 2010. Sexual Freedom Day was presented by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.
The Woodhull Foundation is named in honor of Victoria Woodhull, political and sex radical in the 19th century who was also the first woman to run for President of the United States, in 1872 as a candidate of the Equal Rights Party.
Dr. J. chats with Max More, founder of the Extropy Institute and one of the founders of contemporary transhumanism. They discuss the relationship of transhumanism and religion, virtue theory versus utilitarianism and the ethical and political underpinnings of the extropian worldview. Part 1 of 2.
Every generation had legends of a coming downfall. Whether you call it The End Times, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Doomsday, Ragnorak, or The Population Bomb, we’ve long been fascinated by prophecies of devastation and doom. IEET Fellow David Brin, a scientist and best-selling novelist, explores the concepts and facts behind end-of-the-world tales and discusses how modern civilization can start limiting the risk.
When you think of the ideal creative environment, what comes to mind? We may imagine a place where you have freedom of expression, a place that encourages breaking convention, somewhere that is abundant in resources that are readily accessible for innovative development of technology, and exposure to many different cultures for inspiration and collaboration.
Hungry? Want to devour a monstrous meal of chicken, pork, beef, orange juice, soybeans, coffee, corn, bananas, and chocolate [cacao & sugar]? Scoop it out of your iron skillet while wiping your saliva with a cotton napkin? And afterwards… relax with some tobacco and a drive in your ethanol-powered auto?
People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the “liquid networks” of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.
With some people, you just can’t win. Do you engage them in a debate, or do you hold your tongue and save yourself the frustration from beating your head against a brick wall? That is the dilemma I face now.
Martine Rothblatt gave an ASIM Expert Series talk in Teleplace on â€œReconstructing Minds from Software Mindfilesâ€ on Saturday September 18, 2010.
Abstract: â€œI do think, however, there is a (natural) tendency to way overestimate the importance of copying our brain structure to copying our minds. I think our minds will be uploadable in good enough shape to satisfy most everyone by reconstructing them from information stored in software mindfiles such as diaries, videos, personality inventories, saved google voice conversations, chats, and chatbot conversations. The reconstruction process will be iteratively achieved with AI software designed for this purpose, dubbed mindware.â€œ
Some questions and comments from the audience have been of a philosophical nature and related to preservation of self (whatever that is), but most of those who attended the talk were already prepared to accept that, depending on the amount of information stored and the accuracy of the reconstruction process, the upload copy may be (and feel like) a valid continuation of the original self. The talk and the discussion have been more focused on actual technologies and technical issues: How to extract enough information? How to prove that the information extracted is enough? How to quantify a critical treshold? How to make sure that nothing really important is left behind? How to reconstruct a thinking and feeling mind from a database? Martine gave a detailed presentation of the preliminary implementation of software mindfiles in her twin projects CyBeRev and LifeNaut (similar, but kept separate mainly as a fail-safe measure) and their forthcoming mobile clients and integration with social networks.
Nearly 70% of those who answered an IEET poll question say the human libido is here to stay. Though it may become adjustable and even optional, enhanced humans or posthumans are likely to retain some form of the libido for its social bonding function “” not to mention its pleasure factor!
While traveling to the World Economic Forum meeting in China, I came across a new paper that piques my interest. The paper is by David Keith at the University of Calgary (published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science), and is a theoretical investigation of how injecting large quantities of precisely engineered particles into the upper atmosphere might provide a cost-effective tool for climate intervention - geoengineering.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.
Nature’s Nicola Jones asked me to comment on Singularity University for an article she was putting together; that article is now available. She included a couple of brief observations of mine, but I thought it would be useful to show the full context of my thoughts.
Slowly but surely, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is starting to get the picture: if we’re going to find life out there-and that’s a big if-it’s probably not going to be biological.