What seemed to be an intractable puzzle, with significant religious overtones, has been solved. J Craig Venter, Ham Smith, Clyde Hutchinson, Daniel Gibson and a team of scientists at the Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., have made a new living bacterium from a set of genes they decoded, artificially combined and then stuck into the cored out remains of the bacterium of another species. In other words, they created a living thing from man-made parts. Or, in more important words, they created a novel lifeform from man-made parts.
We have been brainwashed to believe that “blood is thicker than water.” But we lack familial shared genes with spouses and best friends. In reality what is most important is shared thoughts, experiences and feelings. Affinity based upon genes is as obsolete as loyalty based upon melanin. The beme is mightier than the gene.
Humanity is devoting some of its best minds, from a wide diversity of fields, to helping software achieve consciousness. The quest is not especially difficult as it is a capability that can be intelligently designed; there is no need to wait for it to naturally evolve.
Cyberconsciousness implies techno-immortality. Immortality means living forever. This has never happened in the real world, so we think of immortality as a spiritual existence (as in heaven) or as a non-personal existence (as in ‘Bach’s music will live forever’). With cyberconsciousness it will be possible, for the first time, for a person to live forever in the real world. This unique, technologically empowered form of living forever is called techno-immortality.
I am often asked what is the single most important issue that needs to be resolved in order to insure that health care reform moves forward in America. The answer is actually quite simple. If the key reason to reform the health care system is to extend health insurance coverage to the tens of millions of Americans who have none, then all those promoting reform but especially President Obama must drive home the ethical position that health care is a right.
We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Arthur Caplan, one of the world’s foremost bioethicists, has agreed to serve on the IEET’s Board of Trustees. The other current member of the Board is Martine Rothblatt. We are in the process of gathering a few more members for this body to help the IEET establish a serious philanthropic base, and promote our technoprogressive policy options in the marketplace of ideas.
We are 37th! We are 37th! No, this is not the cheer to be heard this week at a Notre Dame football pep rally. Rather, it is, according to the last rankings done by the World Health Organization, the chant appropriate for the U.S. health care system. What does the rest of the world know that we don’t?
The term “mindclone” evokes a wide range of sci-fi images from the “Cylons” of Battlestar Galactica to the “Mr. Smiths” of The Matrix. While it is indisputable that we are creating large mindfiles, as described in Question 1, and surely there are geeks working hard on mindware, as reviewed in Question 2, how close could we be to an actual mindclone when computers can’t converse on their own much better than a two-year old kid?
A mindclone is a software version of your mind. He or she is all of your thoughts, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, and is experiencing reality from the standpoint of whatever machine their mindware is running on. Mindclones are mindfiles being used and updated by mindware that has been set to be a functionally equivalent replica of one’s mind. A mindclone is your software-based alter ego, doppelganger, or mental twin. If your body died, but you had a mindclone, you would not feel that you personally died, although the body would be missed more sorely than amputees miss their limbs.
Mindware is operating system software that (a) thinks and feels the way a human mind does, and (b) sets its thinking and feeling parameters to match those discernable from a mindfile. Mindware relies upon an underlying mindfile the way Microsoft Word relies upon a textfile. When appropriate parameters are set for mindware it becomes aware of itself and a cyberconscious entity is created.
A mindfile is the sum of saved digital reflections about you. All of the stored emails, chats, texts, IMs and blogs that you write are part of your mindfile. All of the uploaded photos, slide shows and movies that involve you are part of your mindfile. Your search histories, clicked selections and online purchases, if saved, are part of your mindfile. Your digital life is your mindfile.
The IEET does a lot with very little, and a lot of that little over the last couple of years has come from Dr. Martine Rothblatt. We are delighted to acknowledge her most recent gift of $5000. Her support means a lot to us, and we’re looking forward to the release of her new film Transbeman.
The Order of Cosmic Engineers are a group of transhumanists who are focused on “turning this universe into a ‘magical’ realm.” They focus on building their activity in online virtual reality worlds. They include IEET Board member Giulio Prisco and IEET advisor Martine Rothblatt. They have recently issued the “YES! to Transhumanism” statement which is a call to arms for defense of radical transhumanism against pressures to downplay the more challenging and futuristic aspects of the transhumanist perspective.