Enlightenment values presume an independent self, the rational citizen and consumer who pursues her self-interests. Since Hume, however, Enlightenment empiricists have questioned the existence of a discrete, persistent self. Today, continuing that investigation, neuroscience is daily eroding the essentialist model of personal identity. Transhumanism has yet to come to grips with the radical consequences of the erosion of the liberal individualist subject for projects of enhancement and longevity. Most transhumanist thought still reflects an essentialist idea of personal identity, even as we advance projects of radical cognitive enhancement that will change every element of consciousness. How do ethics and politics change if personal identity is an arbitrary, malleable fiction?
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An interview with PETA shows that the group is helping with the destruction of current technologies contributing to the suffering of animals worldwide while embracing emerging technologies that will help the fight for animal rights.
If you could take a pill that would instantly improve your memory or increase your ability to make sense of complex ideas, perhaps even make discoveries worthy of a Nobel prize, would you? What if you could enhance your capacity to assimilate new languages in a fraction of the time than would otherwise be necessary to become fluent? Answers to these questions may now become more urgent as a range of cognitive enhancements are quickly becoming available via pharmaceutical research.
‘Occupy Wall Street’ is furious that the nation’s largest banks grossly mismanaged the citizenry’s funds but were rewarded anyway with a bail-out by the government. Today many of those frivolous financiers are thriving with obscene salaries while millions of their victimized clientele have lost their homes to foreclosure and are under-or-unemployed.
DARPA, the Pentagon’s advanced concepts think-tank, is looking to take propaganda to the next level, and they’re hoping to do so by controlling the very way their targets perceive and interpret the flow of incoming information.
Two Mormons—Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney—are campaigning as Republicans for President of the United States, with Romney currently favored to nab the nomination. In recent days their faith has been derided by some as a “cult.” Although Mormonism is an ‘indigenous’ American creed, and has over 14 million followers internationally, the average American knows little about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
The liberation of people through technology, and the liberation of technology from the oppressive forces that want to control it, is part of the pirate DNA. This will be reflected at some point in actual policies of the Pirate Party, the party of the future.
In the U.S., bipartisan group of scientists and national security experts has recommended further research and testing of extreme geoengineering projects, or climate remediation, to assertively lessen the effects of global warming before it “reaches a tipping point.”
Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters’ demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn’t be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.
Even the sympathizers don’t always get it. I’m sure I get a lot of things wrong too, but here’s one thing I do understand: Change doesn’t begin with policy. It begins with perception. And you don’t change things by asking. You change them by acting.
While watching the Occupy Wall Street movement gain momentum and challenge the status quo, we in the transhumanist and technoprogressive communities should take note of differences between this movement and those earlier in the 20th century that were in direct opposition to some set of conservative policies.
IEET’s Kyle Munkittrick debated human enhancement with Brad Allenby, author of The Techno-Human Condition, and Nick Agar, author of Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Life Enhancement, over at Slate. Check out the fascinating results.