Should a person become a transhumanist before he is a humanist or is she to become a humanist first before becoming a transhumanist? A well-crafted question but one that deserves serious thought as to its purpose.
True Blood seems to continuously illustrate all the things that could go wrong with human enhancement. Whether it’s non-humans being taken advantage of by humans, or non-humans being unable to control their powers, it all looks pretty bleak.
Can current approaches to doing science sustain us over the next one hundred years? An increasing reliance on technological fixes to global challenges demands a radical rethink of how we use science in the service of society.
IEET Senior Fellow Jamais Cascio spoke recently at the “Futuro Ã¨ Sostenabilita” (Futures and Sustainability) conference in Rome. He gave a short interview there to discuss the difference between predicting the future and thinking usefully about it.
You can also watch a video recording of his full talk, beginning with Part 1 here.
I’ve now read the full (138 page) judgment in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger. To be candid, just reading it with a degree of care took me quite a bit of time, so I won’t be spending a similar amount of time writing a detailed commentary. Let me make just a few quick points.
In many of the sci-fi futures that we know and love, racism, sexism, and homophobia are often scrubbed out of existence. Caprica/BSG, Star Trek, Torchwood, Mass Effect, even less thoughtful fare like Starship Troopers, depict residents of the future who are less interested in the permutations of human identity and more interested in the qualities of a person’s mind and spirit. Even Futurama’s “Proposition Infinity,” concerning the fake-contentious “robosexual marriage” controversy, spoofs this tendency.
In the 1660s the scientist and philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-1691) revealed the importance of the transhumanist imagination when he penned a wishlist for the Royal Society, one of the first scientific organizations in the world.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jason Beard, a 25 year old man that received a cochlear implant in May of 2009. Jason was hearing impaired from birth but was able to hear some sounds with the help of a hearing aid however he was not able to carry on conversations. With the help of a CI his life has changed.
Dr. J. chats with Phllip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birth Rates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It. They discuss the factors behind the (liberal, secular) birth dearth, the effects of a growing old-age dependency ratio problem throughout the world, and the effects of greater fundamentalists’ fertility. Then a bit of an essay by IEET Affiliate Scholar Andrea Kuszewski on the beneficial effects of sex, and potentially virtual sex, on the brain. Part 2 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Phllip Longman co-author of The Next Progressive Era: A Blueprint for Broad Prosperity, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. They discuss the need for progressive policies to break up the concentrations of industrial and financial capital, and to support small, local banks and businesses. They also discuss the proposal for all American youth to receive “stakeholder accounts” as proposed by Thomas Paine. Then a short essay by Robert Reich, and a piece from Marcelo Rinesi on “Peak Oil and Climate Change.” Part 1 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Nigel Cameron, director of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies and Research, founder of several other biopolicy organizations such as the Center on Nanotechnology and Society and the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future, and author of Human Dignity in the Biotech Century, and The New Medicine: Life and Death After Hippocrates. They talk about the political marginalization of bioethics, the history of the enhancement debate, and the importance of engaging the business community and inventors in technopolicy discussions.
Dr. J. chats with Melanie Swan, a futurist and entrepeneur, and principal of MS Futures Group and DIYGenomics. She is involved with Equal Rights Advocates, Lifeboat Foundation and Accelerating Studies Foundation, and the Singularity University. We discuss her recent work on direct-to-consumer genetic testing, electronic patient-driven health tracking, anti-aging research and the future of intelligence.
Given the current state of technology, reproductive cloning is not a safe and effective means of human reproduction. Cloning reduces genetic diversity, is beneficial neither for the child nor the parent, and without restrictions could create many legal and social problems.