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IEET > Rights > PostGender > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Implants > Vision > Futurism > Staff > Hank Pellissier

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Transgender and Transhuman - the alliance, the complaints and the future


Hank Pellissier
By Hank Pellissier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jun 15, 2012

Transhumanism and Transgenderism enjoy a close relationship due to mutual interest in enhancement technology. Multiple transgenders are valuable spokespeople in H+, such as IEET fellow Martine Rothblatt, IEET contributor and KurzweilAI editor Amara Angelica, and the brilliant tech writer for Acceler8or and hplusmagazine that I interviewed for this article: Valkyrie Ice.

Hank Pellissier: Hi, Val. Let’s begin with your introduction.

Valkyrie Ice: I didn’t start out as Val… No, my “legal” name is Lance, and I am a transgendered M2F. Like most transgenders, I didn’t really know why I felt so different as a child. My parents worried about my difficulties “socializing with my peers” and about how picked on I was in school for being “different”. Even I had no clue as to why I was so different until I was reading the “The Marvelous Land of Oz” one day, and reached the end of the book. If you’ve never read this particular OZ novel, the spoiler ending is that the “hero”, Tip, turns out to be the “princess” Ozma, hidden as a boy to protect her from the evil witch Mombi. I was floored when I first read that scene, because it was like a thousand light switches suddenly went off in my brain all at once as I finally knew with perfect clarity exactly what the problem with my reality was.

But, it was the 70’s. No-one would listen to an 8 year old boy who thought he was a girl back then. I learned very fast to simply keep that to myself after my parents took me to the shrink to be told how wonderful it was that I had a penis, and how could I possibly desire to be an “inferior” female. Besides, I’m female oriented, which back then meant I couldn’t possibly “seriously” desire to be female, because only M2F’s attracted to men were considered “real” transsexuals. When I sought reassignment previously, I was denied precisely for that reason. That’s changed over the years, but I’ve yet to reach the point in my life where I can devote the enormous financial resources needed to seek reassignment again.

That hasn’t stopped me from being the real me online though, and for over twenty five years, I have existed as Valkyrie in cyberspace; it’s been my name on the internet from almost the very first time I signed onto a BBS. Val feels more like the real me than that endless succession of masks I have to wear every day. When I’m online, I usually feel like I’ve taken off this massive coat of lead armor and get to stretch my wings a little.

And yes, I did say wings. Did I forget to mention that I am also a succubus? [1] And that I have been that entire time. From the earliest days in the moos and mushs, I’ve been a horned, hooved, batwinged and spaded tail demoness. If you want to know why, I recommend reading my article “Dreams of a Succubus”, especially the commentary.

Hank Pellissier: What in your opinion are the mutual interests of transgenderism and transhumanism?

Valkyre Ice: At it’s heart, I see both as about embracing change. As a transsexual, I suffered from a genetic mix-up that resulted in a feminized brain inhabiting a masculinized body. In the past, there was no way to change this. The technology simply did not exist to enable a physical change to be made and allow this error to be corrected. Now, it does. I can change my body to be a match with my brain.

In much the same way, the human being has been relatively unchanged for thousands of years, our physical shells unable to match the adaptivity of our brains, and the rapid evolution of our social and mental structures. Our knowledge and culture has advanced by leaps and bounds, while our bodies are still chained to the slow pace of biological evolution. We’ve been trapped by our DNA as a species in the exact same manner I have been trapped by mine in a physical shell that does not mirror our inner selves. And just like the technology now exists to change my body, so too will we soon have the technology to allow all of humanity to bypass random mutation and become a self directed, consciously evolving being.

So, as a transgender, I am merely a singular example of the transformation humanity itself will undergo as we move out of the era of limits, and into the era of limitlessness.

Yet despite this fact, society is much slower to accept that such corrections are possible. Even with all the advances made by transgenders over the last few decades, I still have to deal with people who flat out refuse to accept transgendered individuals on the basis of their mental self identity, but must instead insist that I act “male”.  I cannot even count the number of times I’ve been told to “act like a man!” with the person telling me this acting like I’ve committed some crime by daring to not meet their expectations of what I should act like. When I reveal to many people my further desires to be a succubus, and can even tell them precisely why I see it being a strong possibility, even many transhumans dismiss it as fantasy. It’s this struggle to open societies eyes to the changing reality that the future is bringing that makes being transgender and being transhuman inseparable to me.

Hank Pellissier: What drew you to transhumanism? Did it have anything to do with your transgender status, or not?

Valkyrie Ice: Not directly, no. The simple fact is that I grew up being a Sci-fi junkie, and a typical computer geek. This lead me to enroll in a course in electronics repair, and during that course, I became interested in reading more about how electronics worked. That’s when I encountered the second book that made my brain explode in pyrotechnics.

That book was “Nano” by Ed Regis. It introduced me to a man named Drexler, and the concept of nanotechnology. That, more than even “Engines of Creation”, “Unbounding the Future” and “Nanosystems” made me the transhumanist I am. I’ve read all of them, and they merely underscored the brain shattering epiphany I had the night I read Nano, then looked at my hand and realized that everything I was, everything around me, indeed, every form of life on Earth itself, was the most irrefutable PROOF that nanotechnology was not only feasible, but inevitable. Since then, I have as avidly pursued the course of research as I once devoured the science fiction shelves at my library.

Basically, you could say I was a transgender first, became a transhuman, and only later realized that they were linked.

Hank Pellissier: Do you have any transgender or transhumance heros/role models?

Valkyrie Ice: To be honest, I can’t actually point to anyone in particular I consider a hero/role model. There are many people I respect, and many people I envy, but I’m vain enough to consider myself as uniquely “me”. I admire Martine Rothblatt for her accomplishments, and I’m intensely jealous that she’s already been able to become what I’m still stuck dreaming about, but I’m one of those really annoying people who simply cannot bring myself to view anyone as either a superior or inferior to myself, which is pretty much what is needed to “look up” to someone. Credentials really don’t mean a damn to me, nor does social status. The only thing I value is whether or not your viewpoints and conclusions make rational sense. I am extremely biased against blind faith, whether it is in a religious dogma, or a political ideology.

Hank Pellissier: Are there any pop culture heros that mean a lot to you?

Valkyrie Ice: Illyana Rasputin, aka Majik of the New Mutants. Why? Because to me, more than most other superheros in pop culture, she represents the struggle humanity itself faces against it’s demons of the Id. As a child, she was kidnapped to be raised as a demon sorceress. By all rights, she should have become a true evil. Yet despite this, she fought against her natural impulses, against her urges to slaughter and torment the entire world to instead try and be a force of good. In this same way, we as humans have to struggle against our animal natures, against the urges we have to exploit others, or inflict harm against them, in order to achieve some short sighted goal of personal gain. It is all too easy to ignore the pain we inflict on one another in our efforts to “get ahead” on the social pecking order, and to think that it’s okay to shove some else under the bus so that we can rise just one more step up the ladder. But, like Illyana, we have it within ourselves to overcome these animal urges, and look for ways to benefit all of us mutually, even as we derive personal benefits through co-operative effort.

Hank Pellissier: Do you have complaints about transhumanism’s relationship to transgender people? Do you think most H+ people are interested in transgender issues?

Valkyrie Ice: I do feel that many transhumanists share in the same prejudices against transgenders that the common society does, in that despite the seeming beliefs that humanity is capable of overcoming its limitations, they place undue importance on the current physical form and in the conventional definitions of identity. One issue I run into all too frequently is people accusing me of “hiding” behind a false name, when I view Valkyrie as my real name, and female as my real sex, with my “legal name” merely a fiction I am forced to endure because society insists I *have* to play at being male. Anyone who runs a simple Google of my name will find that not only has Val been my name for my entire existence on the internet, but that it is inextricably linked to my “legal” identity, and is not a “fake name” but a “Unique Identifier.”

And this is despite the fact that many other “Unique Identifiers” are commonly accepted not merely by transhumanists, and transhumanist organizations, but by the academic community as well. R.U. Sirius, my publisher at Accelor8or, appears to have little issue with publishing in both popular and academic venues under his pen name, and “The Amazing Randi” spent many years being accepted as a serious academic under his stage name. Yet time and again, I have faced serious opposition to my viewpoints based on no better reasoning than claims I am hiding behind a avatar and a pseudonym. Even Kevin Kelly has stated (in response to a comment I made on his article about unique names)  “Way to go Valkyrie Ice. Wish I had that foresight.”

Hank Pellissier: What do you think H+ can be doing for transgender people?

Valkyrie Ice: More than anything else, H+ is about CHOICE. It is about enabling humanity to choose what it will be, rather than passively accept the dictates of biology and random evolution. It embraces those who have overcome limits, who have chosen to ignore society’s demands that we “not rock the boat.” To BE H+, we have to believe that we have the ability to improve, to change, to become something other than what we were, or are. As transgenders, we are merely precursors of the changes that humanity will have to face as we enter into a future of unlimited choice. Soon, we will have the ability to change nearly every aspect of our physical selves, from gender to race, even to species. Our right to be the sex we feel we should be is trivial compared to the right everyone should have to BE whatever they wish, be it elf or centaur, human or inhuman, or even biological or non. If H+ cannot even accept transgenders on their own terms, how can they justify humanity’s right to even greater morphological freedoms? We cannot selectively fight for one, and deny another.

I am Valkyrie Ice, Succubus. My current physical form and gender might be outside of my control at this moment, but they will not always be. I have no right to tell you what you should be, and by extension you have no right to tell me what I should be. Accept me on my terms, and I will accept you on yours, and together we can both become greater than we are apart.

And what else is H+ if it is not the dream that we can become greater than what we are now?

Hank Pellissier:  What do you see as the future of gender? What would you like to see happen?

Valkyrie Ice: I honestly don’t see gender being something that humans will “abandon”. I think that instead, we will explore an infinite number of permutations. Use SL as a “lab” and you can get a pretty good idea of what is likely to occur. There will be hims and hers and hyms and hirs, and any combo you can possibly think of. While I prefer to think of myself as female, I’m perfectly willing to admit to enjoying sex as a male, and once I can experience sex as a fully functional female, I’ll be able to decide which I prefer, or even decide I like to switch back and forth, or maybe be both at once. Who knows. We humans are sexual animals, and eliminating that drive is probably not going to be something more than a small percentage of the population will embrace.

I do think that we will completely divorce sex and gender from the reproductive process. We will find ways to increase sexual pleasure, endurance, and frequency while removing any possibility of reproduction except under mutual consent by all parties involved. As for gender, I think we will have to grow accustomed to a reality in which no-one’s gender is fixed, and in which most people will be whichever gender they feel most comfortable as for any given situation.

Hank Pellissier: What do you see as the future of H+? what would you like to see happen?

Valkyrie Ice: I’ve already answered that one Hank. In fact, I’ve been writing on that topic for a few years now.


[1] Succubus (wikipedia) - In folklore traced back to medieval legend, a succubus is a female demon or supernatural being appearing in dreams who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual intercourse… In modern fictional representations, a succubus may or may not appear in dreams and is often depicted as a highly attractive seductress or enchantress…


Hank Pellissier was IEET’s Managing Director on January-October in 2012, and an IEET Affiliate Scholar. He’s the author of two e-books, Invent Utopia Now and Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so High? He is currently at BrighterBrains.org
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COMMENTS


Thank you for the interview, Hank.

For those interested in reading more, the following is a short list of what I consider some of my most important articles discussing the implications of what I see developing:


http://www.hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/virtualization-rise-avatar-open-sim-project

http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/virtualization-avatar-mirrorworlds-part-two

http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/virtualization-virtual-reality-part-3

http://hplusmagazine.com/2010/05/18/ten-thousand-waves-change-welcome-tweens/

http://valkyrieice.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-government.html

http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/quantum-dots-future-vr

http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/02/14/adding-our-way-to-abundance/

http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/02/18/watsons-descendants-will-make-you-obsolete/

http://www.acceler8or.com/2011/10/how-transparency-will-end-tyranny/

http://www.acceler8or.com/2012/01/le-future-according-to-val-part-one-when-technologies-meet-interact-and-things-go-boom/

http://www.acceler8or.com/2012/01/the-future-according-to-val-part-2-consequences/

http://www.acceler8or.com/2012/03/kara-the-lesson-of-adam/

http://www.acceler8or.com/2012/05/3460/





Interesting. As our forms become more fluid through technology, do you foresee a day when some people will need to access help to determine the form/gender/self that they are?





Actually, as I currently see it, far too many people rely on external factors to define who they are. They have no sense of self identity beyond what others define them as.

You have to ask yourself, “What Am I”, and if your identity is “Banker, Janitor, Jock, Pastor, Lawyer, etc, then yes, in the not too distant future, and I mean quite possibly by the end of this decade, you are likely to suffer from a crisis caused by a loss of identity.

We are entering into a period where so much is in the process of changing so quickly that our current social structures are on the verge of collapse. And despite what some people would have you believe, this is not a bad thing. Our current social systems were designed to cope with a world in which very little of anything was under our control, and in which survival itself was a zero-sum game. Just to live from day to day, we had to form groups to maximize our chances of survival, and assume roles within those groups as “specialists” to maximize our abilities to collect and use resources. And once you became a “specialist” you pretty much were stuck doing it for all your life. Even our family names reflect this reality. 

This is no longer the case, and becoming less so. We are becoming specialists of a different sort, one where our “specialty” is not imposed on us by society, but one which we ourselves must discover. Many of us are still trapped in socially defined roles for which we are ill suited,  perform badly as, and would gladly change given the chance, others are more contented, but performing jobs which will all too soon become obsolete. The social structures we have are all designed to support a very unequal system of resource distribution, in which the overwhelming majority of the human population is engaged in production of resources, which are in turn claimed as tribute by the least productive members of society.

And there are numerous factors all supporting this “pecking order” that has grown up along side the development of human culture, including genetic causes which make it inevitable. The problem is that anyone who defines their identity by their role or status in the pecking order is going to rather suddenly find themselves cast adrift as the continued advance of technology shatters every support for the “social ladder.”

Ask yourself what a racist will do once anyone can change skin color? What is going to happen to his smug assumption that he is higher on the pecking order than someone of a different color?  We are already seeing this in effect with the massive unrest caused by Obama’s election, in which everyone claims race is not an issue, but who want ANYONE else in office, so long as they are white.

Ask yourself what the “jocks” will do when augmentation means a “geek” could play sports better than a hall of famer?

What will “Geeks” do when anyone with a mental augmentation can debate physics with Hawking?

What will the “Pretty girls” do when there are no longer “ugly girls”?

What will male supremists do when they discover that millions of “males”  would prefer to be female? (and believe me, I know far too many males who play exclusively females online, but who wouldn’t consider themselves “transgender” simply because transitioning is far too difficult for them to wish to cope with, but who would likely become a woman if it was cheap, easy and reversible if they changed their minds.)

And this is far from a comprehensive list.  Every “certainty” we have grown up with is about to come crashing down around us as we enter a world of enormously greater choice.

And no. I don’t think the overwhelming majority of the human race is either ready, or capable of coping without help.

http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/04/07/dreams-of-a-succubus/ discusses this as well.





I’m just gonna throw it out there, but what about all the furries out there?

My money’s on they’ll be among the H+ early adapters, since it’s basically that or nothing.





Heya sister. Uncanny is it?





@Chrontius

Read my links hun.  I’m one of the few futurists actually willing to admit to being a furry, having furry friends, and taking the efforts of furries to achieve morphological freedom into account.





I found this an interesting read since being trans in RL and having an interest with the OZ books I could in some part identify with Val.

It may be that transgender folk and transhumanist folk both suffer from a tendency to be judged (by the cisgendered and others) by the effort and permanency of the changes they make. By that logic cross-dressers and drag queens are taken “less seriously” than say, someone who is “post-op” and taken some time and effort in changing their physical and social selves. But another assumption comes with that and that is to assume the lowest degree of change in someone you’ve “read”. Both attitudes are little more than bigotry, but they are common.

By extension what is the equivalent for transhumanists? Effecting a different persona in Second Life is one thing, but just how seriously is that taken outside the virtual world. The cost common thing in virtual worlds is cross-gender roleplay. And yet there are those who engage in romantic and other relationships within virtual worlds who are still shocked when they discover that real-life gender and appearance in no way matches that in the virtual. Perhaps this is why Furries cause problems in certain quarters.

But there are other issues here as well. I am one of five alts in SL, and together we make webcomics for our “owner”. Two are almost always female, two are almost always male, and the fifth changes depending upon the script. One is almost always a Furry. But in general social events only two are very active otherwise in SL, and have more of their owner’s personality invested in them. For a while they shared two relationships with two other alts that had the same owner. And yet those relationships were very different. So who’s to say that any of us are more or less real than the original (real world) personality behind us?

Conversely Live2Give is/was a collective of of people with cerebral palsy who all own an avatar in Second Life (I don’t know if this is still active). In this case one avatar represented several people, instead of one person having several avatars. The base assumption of most folk in SL is that there’s only one person behind each avatar, and that may not always be the case. People have been known to give or sell avatars as well. Ultimately though, it may not matter.

Lastly I suspect that the issue of CHOICE is a red herring. Earlier today I watched an RSA Animate video on Choice. It suggested that in a Capitalist society having “too much choice” is actually counter productive and serves to reinforce existing social orders. Rather than people following choices on what they really want, there is a tendency to make choices which are a compromise. Many apparently made choices which are more socially acceptable because they are afraid of ridicule and criticism over their preferred options.

In a virtual world like Second Life that may not be the case, as one can find all sorts or communities and interest groups for any number of tropes and interests. Why else would there be so many Gorean Sims and groups?





It was a pleasure reading this interview. Thank you, Hank and Valkyrie Ice.

Valkyrie, I hope you can fulfill your desire to become on the outside the succubus you feel on the inside as soon as you can.

In my personal case, my ultimate goal would be to exist without a body. Not as a “ghost”, but as a mind entity able to interact with both the physical and the virtual world (or any other alternative worlds that are discovered or created in the future). But in the meantime, my preferences float around the concept of gynoids. I want to be a synthetic female.

It feels uneasy when people expect to act as the macho you aren’t. I’m tired of that. It was particularly uneasy during my teens, when I wasn’t very aware about the existence of the paths of self-observation, self-understanding and self-definition. At least now I have a goal along these lines.

I’m one of those who have great expectations of the many social / cultural paradigm shifts working in synergy which we are going to witness within the short/mid term. That is, if the global economic crisis can be stopped. I’m very worried about that, but that’s a different topic. Let’s see what happens in Greece today.


I would like to take this opportunity to launch a question to everyone:
What are your personal goals with regards to radical change in physical appearance?

The more we talk about this, the better smile





It was a pleasure reading your elegant defense of my article on privacy and secrecy as well Leyvenn.

As for my personal goals, I think I will at first work towards becoming simply female. Once I have achieved that goal, I actually plan to deviate from immediately pursuing becoming a full fledged demoness for awhile simply because two of the aspects, the wings and horns, would not merely be difficult to accomplish, but without the needed technology to enable me to shrink or grow them at will to accommodate current human architecture such as doors, low ceilings, and so forth, it will simply be easier to assume one of my more comfortable alternate forms, my “Neon Jackal”

(WARNING NSFW) http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i237/Valkyrie_Ice/ValNG.jpg (Warning NSFW)

which will merely require a tail prosthetic, a face prosthetic, ear prosthetics, and modified skin and hair colors.

My full succubus form is likely going to need to wait until we have significantly advanced nanotech to enable the extreme physical makeover required to make both the external and internal modifications I envision. If sufficient interest in the details of that is expressed, I will post the extremely long overview of those mods. However, since I am a shapeshifter, my appearance is subject to change at a whim. I do view myself as having a “base form”, but the details of hair and skin tone are malleable.





Oh, and on the topic of “global economic crisis” It’s a symptom of the paradigm shift from scarcity to abundance. It more or less has to happen, because we’ve reached a point where scarcity can no longer be artificially propped up, and the overabundance of nearly every raw material is eroding the “value” of manufactured products which forms the basis for the entire economic model. It sucks. It will cause a lot of people a lot of suffering. It will lead to some very nasty situations as the “elite” strive to hold onto the “status quo”, but once the transition has been made, things will be radically better.





@ Elsie

Yes, due to “peer pressure” many people do make choices other than what they would naturally be inclined to chose. That is due to the current structure of the pecking order, which is based on the assumptions that many things “cannot be chosen” and in which attempts to make choices contrary to “status quo” can result in loss of “status”.

However, as I have pointed out numerous times, the “pillars” that support the current “pecking order” are about to be shattered, and that will leave the “status quo” in ruins.  We will have little “choice” but to abandon many of our concepts of “immutability” and find new systems to determine “status” that will not rest on “unchangable accidents” but on “conscious choice” and “maximized diversity.”

As Leyvenn stated recently ” in the process of understanding what a different future could mean to us, we need to rethink society from a radically different set of collective and individual rules and preconditions.”  The RSA video examines current society, but does not address a society in which very different social conditions exist.





Undoubtedly people will be familiar with the performance artist Orlan (see http://www.orlan.net/) whose performances included videos of her cosmetic surgery set to music and commentary. That fact that this is “Art with a capital A” has allowed her to explore issues surrounding body modification outside the normal contexts.





I find it strange that Samuel R Delaney has never come up in any of these conversations.

He is the first Sci-Fi writer to have explicit homosexuality as a topic among Sci-Fi, and I think he is also the first Sci-Fi writer to deal explicitly with the topic of Transexual Characters (it is a theme in three or four of his works, one of which dates to the 1970s).

And I think focusing upon purely gender or sexual issues for identity is probably far too narrow.

Some people do tend to define themselves sexually. Furries, for instance.

Great, create something to allow them to turn into giant teddy-bears, anthropomorphic kittens and puppies, Inari, or Pikachu/Kyubi no Kitsune hybrids.

But what about people who want to be a truck?

Or a desk? Or a cell-phone?

Is this really any different than a person wanting to be a stuffed-animal sex-toy?





@Valkyrie:

“My full succubus form is likely going to need to wait until we have significantly advanced nanotech to enable the extreme physical makeover required to make both the external and internal modifications I envision. If sufficient interest in the details of that is expressed, I will post the extremely long overview of those mods.”

I find it to be a very interesting topic. When you mentioned wings with the ability to shrink and grow at will, did you mean some kind of dynamic contraction and dilation of matter? Has anything to do with shape memory materials or would it entirely be a complex nanosystem that expands from pre-recorded shape patterns?





@Leyvenn

Actually, as I envision my final form to retain a “pseudo” biological framework, more akin to actually moving the cells out of the wing structures to allow them to “ungrow” and “grow”, essentially distributing the cells temporarily elsewhere in my body. I don’t really envision actual change of mass, just change of structure. At least initially. Later versions utilizing string tech could possibly perform actual matter/energy conversions, but that will depend on whether string theory proves a viable theory or just a mere mathematical fantasy.





@Matthew

Nope. Not at all. I’ve encountered furries, vamps, klingons, Cylons, Cyborgs, and even those who would gladly exchange their bodies to become full metal robots.

And yes, that does include those who would kill to be “transformers”, or a car like “Lightning McQueen”

People want what they want, and when not feeling pressured to “fit in” they will opt to go with their personal desires, no matter how “odd” others might find it. And that will mean we will have to accept them for what they desire to be.

SL has already had some examples of this, that they have opted for repression of, such as people who chose to play childlike characters. As the technology develops, we will have to face situations like this, and it might even be hard at times to bite our tongues and live and let live, but eventually, we will have little choice but to accept that one man’s evil is another man’s good, and find ways to allow maximum diversity, and promote absolute tolerance. So long as we do not harm others, every path must be tolerated.





See? I *so* take the more low tech approach to this. I’d have my wings, horns and tail animate and functional all the time. It would be “there”, and I’d deal with it, including ripped sweaters and sewing a small hole in my jeans to have my tail dangle out. No contrived nano-wings and such for me; I’d want the whole immersive experience.

Or maybe I’d have to store my tail somewhere convenient in some other way. I am sure I can think of something.

If I want big tits I don’t want big tits part time, or when “convenient” or anything like that. Big ones come with issues when jogging, right?





As for the age play topic - whereas I am not interested in pre-teen partners myself (I like my toys rugged and well-developed!)  I’d certainly would LOVE being “pretty damn young” once, myself. My default self-image is of a “pretty well-developed” woman in her mid 20s, but I like variation and I would certainly not mind exploring having a body of, say 13. And yes that would entail having sex me being in a body of 13.

Now anyone who is reading this who would be offended - this would not be engaging anything illegal since I would have a mature mind, and would engage in sex with a mature partner. Male or female.

But strictly as an exercise in trolling the legal system (is what I do unacceptable) this whole experiment would be frigging hilarious, since I’d be a consenting adult. Hopefully even a consenting adulteress.

Major dilemma right?





@Khannea

*giggle*  I am a shapeshifter hun. That makes every detail about me malleable. I’m also one of those annoying types who loves her creature comforts - including internal structures to provide lift and support, and minimize such issues while jogging. What can I say? I’m a demoness, and want all the benefits while eliminating anything I see as a hassle.





And once we’ve eliminated the possibility of accidental pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, and start having to face the reality that sex no longer leads to any “dangers” beyond a “broken heart”, I think you’re not going to be alone in exploring former “taboos” Khannea dear. Current sexual “mores” are vastly different than they were just a century ago, much less several centuries ago.  It will be interesting to observe, to say the least.





See… I don’t buy into the whole “every path must be tolerated” thing (to say nothing of the fact that it appears that you are conflating “tolerate,” and “accept”).

Already, humanity has ruled out a fairly broad section of behaviors and desires that are not just forbidden, they are intolerable.

The many and various psychopathies we have Identified as being dangerous to society, for instance.

I don’t think we should be encouraging people to explore these, even in a virtual world.

Do you really want to give people the permission to create worlds where it is OK for them to act out genocide upon sentient beings within that world?

What makes this different from acting out those same urges in this world upon the sentient beings of this world?

Making some sort of excuse along the lines of “some people might want to be tortured,” or “we can create sentient beings who want to be tortured” tends to suggest that one is rather blind to the nature of the problem with these suggestions, or with the psychopathies of those who wish to act out such brutal fantasies to begin with (such people are rarely satisfied with willing victims).

But, these specific instances of intolerable realities mean that the set of intolerable realities that we do not wish to enable is probably larger that just these examples.





@Matthew:  I want to be a starship when I grow up.

@Valkyrie:  In the mean time, I intend to be a small green dragon, or perhaps a Beowulf cluster of up to a half-dozen simultaneous incarnations of same.  (Is there a term for that sort of existence yet?)  I’d probably keep another half dozen clones in cold storage, and a similar number of purely mechanical, heavy-duty bodies suitable for manual labor.  (One of them picks up the back end of the car, another changes the tire…)

@Khannea:  “If a man could have half his wishes, he’d have double his troubles.”  Ben Franklin, if I recall.  And that’s probably far more fun than the alternative, to the extent you can fit into a typical residential building.

@whoever:  Are aerogel breast implants feasible, or would a utility fog filling be necessary?

@Matthew:  I thought I read something about “if it harm no other” in one of Valkyrie’s posts.  I’ll quote for simplicity’s sake:  “So long as we do not harm others, every path must be tolerated.”





Matthew I Hear you.

But - what if I do it anyway, and technology allows me - what would be the consequence you propose? smile

Because I agree with you. How do we deal what what the many regard as intolerable, and “you can’t even talk about it” ? This is damn tricky (and maybe I raise this topic to explore the legal implications rather than the act itself).





@Matthew: I agree that some paths are dangerous, and tolerance should have its limits. With the arrival of fully immersive virtual reality, sex-bots, haptic technologies, etc., as a society we’ll be forced to use the old ‘trial and error’ method. We’ll need a growing presence of values regarding tolerance, and at the same time we’ll be constantly readjusting and even redefining our levels of tolerance. As individuals we’ll feel too tempted to experiment with a growing myriad of desires and news ways to feel, while as members of a society we’ll deal with complex questions about what we should tolerate about the sensory paths of others. We’ll be exploring many different paths, and some of them will cause some victims here and there (from slight physical, psychological or economical harm to death). If the victims and the degrees of harm are numerous enough and the majority agrees that something in particular is not acceptable, as a democratic system society will put limits, ranging from laws to group psychological/moral pressure.





@Matthew

Actually, you are making a rather large assumption there Matthew.

I’ve stated repeatedly that a basic inviolate right is the right to be free from having harm inflicted on you by another. That does not mean that society must allow harmful actions to occur.

To answer your example, sure, I have not one single problem with someone creating a virtual world where they can slaughter at will. However, if they attempt to carry out such actions outside that world, I also have not the slightest problem with confining them within that world forever, and erasing them from the rest of society. They can spend eternity locked inside their own personal little reality.

Toleration means everyone is free to do as they wish - WITH THE FULL UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY WILL BE FULLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. Try to harm someone without consent, you pay the price.

I don’t give a damn what you do. But you will have to accept the consequences if you choose to act in a manner which inflicts harm on others WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. And in a world in which EVERYTHING is recorded, and such consent cannot be coerced, any such psychopathic behaviors will be immediately apparent, and those with them should be given a choice: therapy to eliminate the problem, or permanent removal from society by being given their own personal “heaven.”





Great interview and very good discussion.

@VAL, I believe I’ve independently arrived at a similar conclusion to you on how society will monitor itself.  The concept of universal persistent surveillance of everything in a way that is made accessible to everyone.  Any entity participating in any socially unacceptable activity would be easily found out and then would find themselves facing the consequences for their actions.  Those not doing anything of note would not be worth monitoring.

As for the topic at hand, my personal ideal for my seat of consciousness would be the ability completely share my memories, senses and cognitive processes with another body.  That other body could be one of my own design, or even merging with another person (with their consent).





This is a great article and I was excited to see people who think along the same lines I do being more involved with Transhumanism. The understanding of variation (flexibility) which transgender people bring to transhumanism is, I think, going to be invaluable.
I do think that my being transgender and bisexual gives me a better understanding of the changes which transhumanism can bring because I live them everyday. As I like to put it “putting the trans in transhumanism.” However, I have found that it does give me hell when dealing with the transgender community who seem to be caught up in very limited visions of what it means to be female as well as male. Many of them are just as caught up in the illusionary gender/sex binary as any straight person.
Just wanted to say that I hope to run into some of you in Second Life since I have decided to jump back in.





@Felicitator

Nice to run into other trans who understand that forcing other trans to conform to gender stereotypes is just as harmful as cis forcing of gender stereotypes.

Forcing ANYONE to conform to a stereotype denies that person the freedom to be themselves, regardless of who they are, or what they are.





@Felicitator

PS You might also enjoy reading this: http://valkyrieice.blogspot.com/2012/06/sex-sex-bots-and-feminism.html

Which further clarifies my views on “gender war”





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