In this episode IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher talks to Professor Steve Fuller about his sometimes controversial views on transhumanism, religion, science and technology, enhancement and evolution. Steve is Auguste Comte Professor of Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick. He is the author of a trilogy relating to the idea of a ‘post-’ or ‘trans-‘ human future, all published with Palgrave Macmillan: Humanity 2.0: What It Means to Be Human Past, Present and Future (2011), Preparing for Life in Humanity 2.0 (2012) and (with Veronika Lipinska) The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism (2014). Their conversation focuses primarily on the arguments and ideas found in the last book of the trilogy.
Implicitly, I’ve been a Transhumanist since childhood. My Mormon parents taught me, from before my earliest memories, that we are all children of God with potential to be God. And not just any kind of god. Not the kind that would raise itself above others in hubris. But rather the kind of God that would raise each other together. We all, they taught me, have potential to be like Jesus. We all have potential to be Christ, a unified community of compassionate creators. Faith in God, then, signified trust in human potential as much as trust in grace that affords such potential.
When people worry about the dark side of emerging technologies, most think of terrorists or lone psychopaths with a death wish for humanity. Some future Ted Kaczynski might acquire a masters degree in microbiology, purchase some laboratory equipment intended for biohackers, and synthesize a pathogen that spreads quickly, is incurable, and kills 90 percent of those it infects.
Via the following link you can access the CFP’s of the 9th Beyond Humanism Conference which will take place from the 19th until the 22nd of July 2017 at John Cabot University in Rome. It is a meeting of scholars from all parts of the world who are interested in and excited about dealing with the challenges related to emerging technologies. This year’s event will be dedicated to the topic “Posthuman Studies”. During the conference, the newly established “Journal of Posthuman Studies” will be launched. It is being edited by IEET Fellow Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and the director of IEET James Hughes: http://beyondhumanism.org/
Amongst the criticisms often directed at transhumanist ideas, one of the most common is the prediction that access to the technologies on which it depends will mostly be limited to a small affluent minority. This veritable “apartheid by technology” would create a divide into the commonality of the human race, and produce two or more human classes moving at different speeds, which would be the source of inequality and new forms of exploitation.
John Iadarola of The Young Turks interviews Andy Zee. Andy is the spokesman for New York City’s Revolution Books, the bookstore that proudly claims to serve as the “political, intellectual and cultural center” of a movement for an actual revolution.
IEET affiliate scholar Steve Fuller has just published at the London School of Economics European Politics and Policy website on the ‘meaning of life’ in a transhumanised capitalist order. The article can be found here.
We write to draw the attention to the need for increased support for biological research of ageing and improving healthy longevity for the population in India. This subject is pressing and urgent for the global society, and for Indian society and economy in particular.
Stuck Between Fantasy And Reality
From the very beginning of industrial era, the idea of replacing humans with machines caught on and has persisted, to the point of appearing credible today. Indeed, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are raising concerns about the significance of humankind in the future. That still far event horizon forecasts a society lead by strong artificial intelligences which may bring us to our obsolescence. Homo sapiens will be at best forced to the margins of active duty like the utopian post-work post-scarcity society in Iain M. Banks’s science-fiction The Culture Series,; and at worse, wiped out. Because, as Eliezer Yudkowsky said: “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.”
It has been a common conviction among atheist life-extensionists that religion generally, and particular branches of Christianity, are somehow intrinsically averse to far-reaching biomedical interventions or even to the idea of human life-extension, placing a greater emphasis on faith-healing and life in the world to come.
Five years ago, TED Fellow Jennifer Brea became progressively ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness that severely impairs normal activities and on bad days makes even the rustling of bed sheets unbearable. In this poignant talk, Brea describes the obstacles she’s encountered in seeking treatment for her condition, whose root causes and physical effects we don’t fully understand, as well as her mission to document through film the lives of patients that medicine struggles to treat.
What does it tell us when leading Democrats are more upset about alleged Russian election-rigging than they are about proven Republican election-rigging? After all, American oligarchs like the Koch Brothers have no more right to undermine our democracy than Russian oligarchs do.
Inspiring and catalyzing creativity worldwide, Mark Hatch has been instrumental in jumpstarting the Maker Movement. He has now joined Network Society Ventures as a General Partner, leveraging his knowledge, skills, and passion to invest together with us in a new generation of startups.
When it comes to Cabinet-level appointments, Donald Trump hasn’t lost his ability to astonish and dismay. At this point his staffing process has pretty much turned into an extended exercise in trolling, a test to see how much humiliation the American people will endure.
Les perspectives démographiques envisagées par les transhumanistes n’impliquent pas seulement un allongement radical de la durée de vie en bonne santé mais aussi une diminution de la part des plus jeunes dans la population. Quelles conséquences pourraient avoir une raréfaction de l’enfance ?
At CES 2017, Toyota announced its AI research teams are working on a new user interface for the smart cars of the future. It’s called Yui and it could become your navigator, your protector and even your road trip buddy.
IEET Fellow Prof. Dr. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner gave a talk on Posthuman Perspectives in Bratislava in December in 2016. The spoken presentation is longer than the written text, as it also provides a brief historical insight into the movements of the posthuman debates. Both provide a summary of many of his positions, and how they relate to various posthuman issues. http://questionofwill.com/en/stefan-lorenz-sorgner/
In his blog Erasmatazz, Chris Crawford recently published the thoughtful piece: “The Crisis of Legitimacy.” His main thesis is that the legitimacy of Trump’s forthcoming presidency is very much in question. First of all, Clinton received almost 3 million more votes than Trump so it is “reasonable to conclude that Mr. Trump won on a legal technicality …” In addition the legitimacy of the election itself is questionable, inasmuch as it was affected by Trump’s mendacity, fake news stories, FBI intervention, Russian influence, voter suppression targeting minority voters, flawed vote counting, and more. As Crawford puts it, the election hardly looks“free and fair”.
This is the time of year when people try to make sense of the preceding twelve months. It’s a fool’s errand, in one sense. A year is an arbitrary division of time. We decide what it means in retrospect, and we never get it exactly right. But the meaning we give it will guide our actions in the future, in thousands of conscious and unconscious ways.
It is a noticeable feature of intellectual life that many people research the same topics, but do so using different conceptual and disciplinary baggage, and consequently fail to appreciate how the conclusions they reach echo or complement the conclusions reached by others.