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IEET > Security > Military > SciTech > Rights > Economic > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Vision > Futurism > Technoprogressivism > Staff > Mike Treder

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The Uncertain Future of Transhumanism


Mike Treder
By Mike Treder
Ethical Technology

Posted: Mar 8, 2010

Let’s consider four distinct scenarios of technological development and transhumanist assimilation that might take place over the next 15 to 20 years.

I’m setting this up in a classic four-box structure, using two axes and seeing how they interact with each other.

On the horizontal axis is Opposition to Transhumanism: Will it be strong, perhaps even getting stronger as transformative new technologies emerge? Or will it weaken, either due to slower than expected tech development or because a large majority of people simply accept transhumanist concepts without much argument?

The vertical axis looks at Emerging Technology Development Pace: How fast will nanotechnology, bio-engineering, machine intelligence, and robotics—among other technologies—continue to develop? Is the pace likely to quicken, or might things slow down a bit, perhaps due to a sluggish global economy or because the work itself is so extremely difficult?

Now we can examine the potential results should any of these four separate scenarios prove closest to what actually takes place.

image

Tech Pace FAST, Opposition WEAK: Promising but scary

For some transhumanists, this is the ideal outcome. Science and technology race ahead, with new breakthroughs and new developments coming faster all the time, while they who oppose the availability of transformative technologies for human enhancement are scattered, marginalized, disorganized, and unsuccessful.

Other transhumanists, though, see a need for caution and are concerned that rapid development and implementation of emerging technologies without due deliberation might lead to unsafe and unfair outcomes, perhaps creating a backlash. The most pessimistic scenarios in this area foresee dystopian possibilities of runaway AI, out-of-control nanotech warfare, and/or human enslavement by the machines.


Tech Pace FAST, Opposition STRONG: Conflicts abound

This might be the best thing we can hope for. Although clashes between proponents of human enhancement and those who want to stop it could turn ugly, the tensions and debates may in fact result in ultimately safer development. We also might see initiatives (designed to improve their public image) from high-tech powerhouses aimed at reducing poverty and inequality on a global scale. That would be nice.


Tech Pace SLOW, Opposition STRONG: Luddites rejoice

The nightmare scenario for transhumanists. Things don’t happen nearly as fast as many have expected and hoped, and when promising new technologies are developed, they are implemented at a snail’s pace due to objections from religious conservatives on the right and anti-progress forces on the left.


Tech Pace SLOW, Opposition WEAK: Increasing irrelevance

In my personal view, this is the most likely outcome. Although we will continue to see remarkable new technologies and impressive science, change itself won’t occur as disruptively as some might fear (or some might wish).

Moreover, with the actual future not turning out to be as shocking as the movies make it seem, today’s “radical” transhumanist ideas may gradually transform to ho-hum as the years go by. I can even imagine a history teacher in 2029 asking students, “Can anyone tell me what transhumanism was?”




We’ve just opened a new poll for IEET readers so you can give your opinion as to which of these four suggested scenarios will be closest to the reality of the next two decades. Tell us what you think!

UPDATE: The poll is now concluded—see the results here.


Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.
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COMMENTS


:0] @ Mike…

“Can anyone tell me what transhumanism was?”

... IS… Mike… IS!





Fast, Slow, Strong and Weak are subjective terms. Some people would consider too fast a technology development pace that I would consider too slow. I think technology development will be too slow compared to the very fast development that I wish to see, but still uncomfortably fast for others.

In some sense, the “Increasing irrelevance” scenario is the best. It would mean that transhumanism, once revolutionary and disruptive, has dissolved in the fabric of the zeitgeist, and everyone just assumes that human enhancement and transcendence of all limits is good.





Mike,

Could you explain the objective basis for your analysis of “tech pace becoming or being slow”? Doesn’t this go against the historical trend?

Maybe if you lived in a developing country like me, you would have a better understanding of the contradictions of fast and slow.

Let me give you examples.  I was largely unfamiliar with the internet until 10 years ago.  When I travelled back in the 90s to the metropoles, I would think it amazing to see people talking on mobile phones while walking on the streets.

In 2010, the internet is an indispensable part of my life.  I couldn’t survive without it.  If I was forced to do without it, my quality of life would suffer greatly.  I have a friend who is a teacher and she has no computer nor internet.  There is a house on my street where the people have no electricity or running water because they cannot afford it.  They have very little education as well.  They could be living in the middle ages for all intents and purposes, while living close to someone who spends a great deal of his time in virtual worlds interacting with people from all over the world.

Cell phones, once rare where I live, are now common place.  Everyone owns one, including the “Middle Ages” house on my street, so I guess they are not quite living in the middle ages.

This is the contradiction of technological development in capitalism - high tech alongside “backwardness”.  This is the trend for the future, and it won’t necessarily be slow.





Thanks for your response Mike.

I get the points that you are making.  But I think this issue of accelerating change has to be located in the social and political context within which it occurs.

The power structure of society influences and constrains the direction and pace of technological change.  In effect, this is a “fetter” on how technology develops.  One thing we can be sure of though, is that there is an intrinsic tendency in the system to replace living labour with machinery, of course, depending on the cost of labour.  But the long term trend is clear, we are going to be seeing increasing unemployment in the future. 

This situation will create more favourbale conditions for a change in the balance of power through political struggle.  If the struggle is successful, we could see accelerating of technological developments in ways that truly liberate humanity.

My bet is on accelerating change.





I find many of the arguments that resource constraints will strongly influence the future to be plausible.  This would tend to decrease mechanization.  Despite this, I think robotics will develop quickly, but among the technologies that transhumanists are fascinated it is the least interesting, except maybe for it’s battlefield applications.

While my husband talks about the liberation of humanity,  I fail to see it as coming.  I think that getting rid of the diseases of aging or the trauma of childbirth would be very difficult.  People I know have been touched by stroke, cancer, neurodegenerative disease and other problems.  I think it is easy for young folks in developed countries who are aware of such things only through books to think they are far away phenomena that technology will rescue them from.  Middle aged people like myself are either less sure of this or they are whistling in the dark.

I’m not sure progress won’t be made, it will just be an uphill battle rather than a downhill run.





@ Grey Cat

Quote : “I’m not sure progress won’t be made, it will just be an uphill battle rather than a downhill run. “

As it must be, built upon hard work and mistakes and thoughtful reflection, lest we fall victim to selfishness individualism and apathy and indifference to all those great philosophical minds that have lead us to these freedoms thus far. Sometimes more slowly is faster?





How much will the state of current, proposed and potential federal regulation affect your Tech Pace Slow, Opposition Weak scenario? I see government as opposition strong, not weak.





Mark Thompson made excellent points about the social constraints affecting change and the gaps between ‘tech-rich’ and ‘tech-poor.’  Those gaps are actually increasing in many countries - including the US.  Have you seen the reports that say the US is behind South Korea - among others - in internet speed?  That’s especially true in rural areas; but, I have friends here in Kansas City who can only afford to access the internet through libraries.

That gap between rich and poor is actually increasing, and again, it’s increasing in the US.  We’re becoming a Third World in many ways.  I think I can safely predict that the current Broadband initiative by the Obama administration will fail spectacularly, unless the issue of the gap between rich and poor is addressed.  Actually, that’s the gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us.  The word for today is ‘Plutonomy.’  Google that word!

Sorry to be a downer; but, the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us is going to be the main driver in the development of transhumanism, as well as everything else!





Mike, I think you have overlooked numerous very dramatic developments which indicate that progress is likely to be fast with weak opposition. Among them the CRU emails, the current difficulties of the Vatican, and the beginnings of the fragmentation of both the republican and democratic parties. The primary sources of possible opposition appear to be weakening rapidly.

In addition, I think you are overlooking the speed with which developments in stemcell use, nanoelectronics, 3d printing, and especially VR related technologies are advancing, all of which bring with them the very strong probability of massive social change.

However, we will see. This decade is likely to be one which will shape how we progress for the next century.





I google transhumanism every day, mostly scouring the social networks to see what the “buzz” is, and for the most part I do notice that lately most of the non-official transhumanism content being created on the net is not in favor of it.

For instance go through the #Transhumanism twits and you will see that the as of this moment an anti-transhumanism article is making it’s round pretty heavily on twitter.

On the youtube front, most if not all dedicated transhumanism channels have been shut down by their respective owners. User:
“TheFutureisTranshuman” the only consistently active youtuber no longer wishes to promote transhumanism, and most of the videos being uploaded to youtube that are tagged with transhumanism are anti * skeptical transhumanism content…

Of course by no means can this be used to gage the overall “opposition” It is just an interesting thing to trend watch.





And I am quite well aware of your anti Transhumanistic biases TransAlchemy, and your pseudomystical leanings. Why should I accept your views as anything but self delusion?

You forget, I have read your rants on H+ forums.





@ TransAlchemy Interesting observations, and well worth keeping a keen eye on.

I still put this all down to the confusion regarding the term “transhumanism”, which many folks take at face value and that which at first glance may conjure negative visions of genetic manipulation of humanity and eugenics etc. A term which many may distrust or misjudge and discard at first hand?

Is the term transhumanism now un-trendy? Is it an ugly word? Which prominent parties freely associate with it? Isn’t this why the term was changed, (much for the benefit), to humanity+? Humanity plus inspires the embrace of humanity and its aided evolution towards higher ideals, whereas the term transhumanism implies a split or the segregation of humanity?

I check out humanityplus.org, but quite frankly, despite changes in administration, there is not a lot going on there. Is this some kind of esoteric organisation I ask myself? You do not even link to it here from IEET for whatever reasons, be it difference of idealsor of politics etc? This is despite an excellent and informative faq, (yet otherwise little else).

The mission statements inspire widespread embrace, yet in practicality the best way to achieve this is a fully open informational website that encourages a following? And that which encourages widespread understanding of what the ideals of transhumanism and humanity+ stand for.

I hate to say this, but take a peek over at sciencedaily.com and there are so many examples of practical technoprogression and practical transhumanism, indeed sciencedaily.com may even serve to inspire a more practical understanding of transhumanism/humanity+ and the technical innovations now presently taking place in the biological and mind and computer sciences?

Unfortunately there is exactly zero ethical discussions regarding innovations there, which is why sites like IEET can fill this gap perfectly.





While you yourself have become biased of me, it’s a shame that you find a need to address everything I say. I am not forcing anyone to accept anything. I’m just a blogger wink

Please feel free to add something relevant to the conversation or email me directly TransAlchemy@gmail.com with your complaints over my desire to express myself. If you do email me it will be logged and stored forever I promise grin





CygnusX1,

I guess H+ magazine is the part of the humanityplus organisation the website of which gets the frequent updates and new content.

(Though personally I’m not finding the time to really follow said magazine.)





@TransAlchemy: there is no such a thing as bad press. Good press is better than bad press, but bad press is much better than no press. Keep them talking about transhumanism, and regardless of what they say some readers will be intrigued and try to find out more.





@TransAlchemy

Biased against you? Your own writings express how negatively you view most of the concepts of human improvement, from your paranoid rants about the twitter hive mind taking over to your declarations that humanity should not be improved. Nor am I the sole person to see them as such since others have registered complaints about you misrepresenting both yourself and them.

And knowing that, I asked a question, why should I believe you in regards to anti-transhumanistic sentiment? I already know about your penchant for false advertising, so I want to know the “observation” you present has some basis in reality, and is not you crying “wolf” yet again.





@Valkyrie: as I wrote in my earlier comment, even TransAlchemy’s anti-transhumanist posts and videos, which are often interesting and well written, can stimulate interest in transhumanism.

I often say that some of the best definition of transhumanism have been proposed by anti-transhumanists. For example, Fukuyama’s definition “[transhumanists want*nothing less than to liberate the human race from its biological constraints” is very good, and explains transhumanism much better than the writings of many modern transhumanists, often too cautious and defeatist.

I hope anti-transhumanists will continue writing rants against us, and saying clearly what transhumanism is.





@ Giulio

Is it not better for transhumanists to continually present their positive case and point of view rather than waiting for anti-groups to create negative views and opinions? My point, (as stated previously, I won’t go into it again), is that almost all folks, (worldview), would align themselves with transhumanism if folks knew exactly what the term stands for? Say it loud and say proud if you are a transhumanist.

I passed all ten quiz questions for transhumanism at humanityplus.org, does this make me a transhumanist? Well I’m still not too sure if I’m missing something here, some folks do align themselves here as transhumanists and some do not. The way I see it is that ALL Transhumanists must be techno-progressives, and moreover that techno-progression does not stop short of, nor exclude transhumanism, so both must be inclusive : despite the divides, which appear to be merely a matter of details?


Are You a Transhumanist? Ten questions >> http://www.humanityplus.org/learn/philosophy/10qtest





@CygnusX1 - my point is that anti-transhumanists present transhumanist positive cases and points of view much better than transhumanists.

We transhumanists keep talking of risks, caution, the precautionary principle, responsibility etc. We sound like those heretics who want to repent and become more catholic than the pope, and certainly much more boring. Many anti-transhumanists, instead, present transhumanism as the bold, daring, unPC, radical and disruptive woorldview that it should be. I use to enjoy their writings.





At the end of the day we all do share a common goal… To get more of the general public to question and think about the issues associated with transhumanism.  Sure I don’t agree with lots of it, but who does? Yet with all the different ideas floating about we have to approach all of this with the real world dangers associated with any attempts to ban human enhancement. So while a complete eradication of transhumanist thought is nothing more than a just pipe dream of a luddite my stands has alaws been that all of this that is coming is deeply loaded with philosophical issues, that can be tackled or “seen” from an alchemy paradigm. 


And in the process of my own understanding of it all philosophically speaking, I have chosen to use the alchemy paradigm of thought…A quest that is just publicly “shared” not “forced”.... 

Sure it’s a strange approach and not all of will make sense, but there is no “forcing” anyone into anything, and this is what it all boils down to.

If “standards” become so over bearing that it forces people to accept some form of enhancement no matter how small is when we begin to attract real problems.





@Valkyrie Ice

P.s If you are truly concerned…. Then do what most of us here do, Blog! We can honestly say that we have brought awareness about transhumanism to thousands of individuals, can you say the same sir?





What I find much more interesting is the question if there are observable indicators pointing towards the one or the other direction/scenario. E.g. are there “observables” of growing criticism against transhumanism or more support or is the topic mostly ignored by the majority of people, voters and policy makers? How is science and technology developing? Are there signs for support and progress or challenges and difficulties in science and technology areas that may be crucial for realising “transhumanist” technologies? Which “transhumanist” scenario are we talking about (I guess there can be different shades depending on different societal settings and technologies).

We may need a list of what is required from the technological and societal side for the realisation of a certain scenario and then look at what we currently have, what is still needed and how realistic it may be to bridge this gap. Are there “observables” (or “weak signals” if you like) that could make one scenario more likely to happen than another one? I would also suggest this as a methodology for further analysis and assessment.

Maybe we should really start defining the necessary elements for the scenarios as well as for defining “transhumanism” itself in a more detailled way. Then we may come up with a list of (crucial) societal and technological requirements for the scenarios. Upon these we could start with scanning the environment for possible hints from which we may at least develop a rough estimate about which scenario seems to get more likely at time X.

The more people are involved in such an activity, the better the result may get because very different perspective are taken into account and individual “selective perspectives” may be “cancelled out” by the masses.

www.twitter.com/MJSL2050
www.futurist-datanase.eu.nu





@TransAlchemy Hummmm, I’ve had three articles published by R.U. Sirius in the Editor’s Blog at H+ mag, and I’m writing a fourth for paid publication, I have also had a very long history on forums. Google my name. Every single entry you find that is not a picture is probably going to be me. 

I am one of those supporters of Transhumanistic ideas who does, as Guilio puts it ” present transhumanism as the bold, daring, unPC, radical and disruptive worldview that it should be.” My main problem is that you misrepresent yourself as a something your writings indicate you are not. Check out H+‘s actual magazine site, and you will find I have the exact same problem with Athena Andreadis, who claims to be a transhumanist, but who’s every article is about how improving humanity is impossible, AI is impossible, cybernetics is impossible, and who’s every word is given as a pronouncement from god.

Being for or against transhumanism doesn’t matter, but misleading people is a pet peeve. I know all to well how ill informed the common person on the street is of future developments, but provoking fear and distrust of the future is a poor way to inform people.

I am in full agreement with Guilio, we need more people, both for and against, talking about transhumanism. What we do not need are people misrepresenting who they are and preventing actual debate from occurring through fear and panic mongering.

That being said, I did indeed enjoy your recent interview with Dr. Robert Geraci, and hope you do more of that, and less of trying to promote further xenophobia.

However, none of that actually has bearing on the actual question, is there some real evidence of increasing resistance beyond your personal opinion? Most of the indicators I see point to minimal resistance from the general public, or rather, no real organized resistance, and the institutions which could organize that resistance seem to be suffering disruptions which appear likely to prevent them from being able to do so. I am interested in the actual data which could contradict this view.





“Being for or against transhumanism doesn’t matter, but misleading people is a pet peeve. I know all to well how ill informed the common person on the street is of future developments, but provoking fear and distrust of the future is a poor way to inform people.”


If you can take a second to let go of your own individual desires and acknowledge the actual potential magnitude this debate can take, you will see that what I say is very genuine.

This philosophy at it’s core is extremely dangerous to the prolonged survival of the human race, and regardless of which way you justify it. Engaging further into the development of such technologies could come with consequences, that only the entire species should be allowed to accept.


YOu may wish to continue the progress of the singularity at all cost, while I won’t and theres the line.

So by all means twitter comment blog your heart’s content, I will do so to, but please don’t tell me what I should and should not do, that’s ridiculous, and something I would never tell you…





@Transalchemy   I have never told you what to do, nor have I dismissed any of the possible implications of transhumanism. I’ve simply criticized your fear tactics and attempts to misrepresent yourself. One cannot have a rational debate when one side relies on fear and emotion rather than rational thought to make their arguments.

Now, are you ever going to actually answer the question I’ve asked three times now, or simply continue to justify yourself?





@Valkyrie: perhaps we transhumanists rely too much on rational thought to make our arguments, and not enough on hope and emotions.

Perhaps we should learn to speak also to the emotions, and not only to the rational mind. Perhaps we should learn some lessons from our opponents.





@ MJSL2050 Great comment!

I think it already is the goal of IEET/Humanityplus.org to investigate the most likely new and emerging technologies on the near horizon and extrapolate the ethical concerns and also aim to guide policy changes, correct me if I’m wrong about this? Yet you have some excellent points on why there should perhaps be more focus on how to gauge widespread public opinions through debate and using “observables” and perhaps even using more polls on articles?

For example a simple comment poll to highlight the acceptance, rejection or indifference on each article would give not only a gauge on how many folks are reading, but also how many read yet do not comment, have no opinion either through indifference or merely having nothing more to add?


Quote : “The more people are involved in such an activity, the better the result may get because very different perspective are taken into account and individual “selective perspectives” may be “cancelled out” by the masses.”

This should be the crucial and fundamental method, to increase awareness to wider audiences, with the purpose to changing worldview not only concerning the meaning of transhumanism/Humanity+ but also to overcome ignorance concerning any new emerging technologies. 

Now it all depends on what IEET/Humanity+ “really want to achieve” : do you “really want” to change worldview, guide ethics, and drive policies? Or do you merely wish to encourage selective audiences and move more slowly? Don’t misconstrue this comment as merely cynical, my point is also to highlight problems concerning too much popularity to the point where sites like IEET become diluted and not taken seriously by policy makers.

I guess it all relies on a balance, yet to gauge real public opinion and to change worldview and polices means ultimately to increase awareness. I believe you can do both. You can still network and drive support from academia and professionals and encourage serious fundraising, and you can offer sites like IEET to promote acceptance by wider audiences and dissuade ignorance concerning the techno-progression through to transhumanism, and thus guide to the higher ideals of posthumanity, (longevity and uploading etc).

Quote : ” Are there “observables” (or “weak signals” if you like) that could make one scenario more likely to happen than another one? I would also suggest this as a methodology for further analysis and assessment.”

There will obviously and hopefully be new emerging technologies driven primarily by market forces, which is no bad thing, as competition drives to higher standards, innovation, equitable access and safety policies etc. The point really is that folks do not necessarily know what they really want, and rarely drive innovations through wants or needs or by design?

For example take the idea of “fluorescent tattoos”, a topic which has been lightly discussed previously, (and one which I am personally indifferent to the point of believing as worthless to human evolution). However, this may be a prime example of an emerging technology driven by market forces that hits the consumer market quickly and in the near future? The idea may well prove successful or at least have a market share until it finally becomes unfashionable like most other trends, (traditional tattoos will most likely survive any shocks). Are folks ready for this? Do they really need it or want it? Should we not direct attentions to more important goals? Would the consumer market benefit from this information?

Personally I cannot see any government choosing to change national policies to drive towards goals of uploading or even bio-longevity? How will any government benefit from investments in longevity when they can encourage families and a younger workforce, although the positions for this may change, as more peoples demand it as the innovative technologies do eventually emerge? How can sites like IEET help right now to guide towards public and political awareness of these possibilities? How can they gauge this support and pass this information on to guide policy?

TransAlchemy is correct to encourage debate and I also found interesting his interview article with Dr. Robert Geraci : a piece that would not be at all out of place here at IEET itself!





@Giulio You’ve read my articles, so I think you should know emotion is not truly the issue. Fearmongering and promoting misinformation is.

When one side relies on facts, and the other side relies on lying distortions and emotional manipulation, to the uninformed, with no knowledge of the subject, how are they to know which side of the argument to believe?

Pro or con doesn’t matter, so long as both sides are presenting factual data. I quite agree with TransAlchemy that more debate is needed. But unless that debate is factual, and not based on lies, distortions, and fear tactics, then it’s not really a debate at all, merely an exercise in manipulation.

However, it was never my intention to derail the thread into a debate of methods and tactics, but to ask the question, What evidence can Transalchemy present beyond observational bias? I’ve noticed that despite asking that question repeatedly, it has YET TO BE ANSWERED.





@Valkyrie Ice “What evidence can Transalchemy present beyond observational bias?”           

Everything we have published contains some bias, and we never claimed otherwise.  Once again, you’re trying to force us to say something that will please you.

Actually I’m interested in a future where I can simultaneously express biased AND un-biased views.  This reply-based mode of communication is becoming obsolete.  What will you say when that happens?





... concerning the debate about emotions: although emotions can be relevant and often guide us, they may not be a good basis for lasting and sound arguments. Rational arguments based on logic and complemented with sources and evidence are harder to refute than those based on emotion and wishful thinking.

With my previous comment I primarily was focussing on developing strategies to better Assess the Status quo and the probability of things to come.





@ Transalchemy

No, I am requesting to see the hard data from a source with a known bias. It’s like asking a scientists known for sloppy data collection to document his work.

Since you refuse to provide such data, I am forced to assume you have none, and your statements are based on your personal bias and thus unsupported by evidence.

@MJSL

Emotions are certainly something that must be considered, but I believe that logic and reason must always be the primary tools of scientific debate. Facts must always be at the forefront. If you draw a conclusion, you must be able to explain the chain of reasoning that led to that conclusion, not rely on emotion, intuition, or feelings.

90% of the flame wars that occur in forums is due to people replacing logic and reason with feelings and emotion, and shutting down any possible critical thought processes in favor of gut reactions.

Fear of the future I find usually comes from a failure to comprehend.  People fear what they do not understand. And sadly, as Giulio pointed out, often times Pro-Transhumanists fail to promote understanding. They either wrap their explanations in so much techo-garble that it’s like they are speaking a foreign language, or they speak as if they are making pronouncements from god, expecting people to listen just because they say so. In this aspect, many Anti-Transhumanists do explain things better.

But in many cases they also promote xenophobia by explaining concepts in the most negative, fear laden means possible, and by presenting misinformation as fact.

Transhumanistic thought has a broad range of concepts, some more likely than others, and some which ignore human behavior altogether. The one thing they all share is that of being visions of future possibilities. Many of them are things no-one would really object to, if people truly understood the full concept, while others are indeed quite alien, because they are based on radical alterations from current life, and many times presented out of context from the developmental trends which could lead to them.

It is these extremes which are then seized upon, and presented as representative of transhumanists as a whole, which is akin to saying all men are women haters and every woman is a man hater. While such extremes exist, they are a small percentage of the overall. By presenting only the extremes, and focusing only on the negatives, the public becomes misinformed, fearful, and resistant to all transhumanistic thought.

The sole way to counter this is by challenging the misrepresentations, correcting the misconceptions, and explaining the science, the developmental stages, and the broader implications to the best of our ability.





@Valkyrie and MJSL2050 Emotions are certainly something that must be considered, but I believe that logic and reason must always be the primary tools of scientific debate.

So do I, but this is not a scientific debate.

Once we agree that transhumanism is something good, we can debate scientific and social issues related to transhumanism with logic and reason.

But no amount of logic and reason will ever change anyone’s fundamental value system. To persuade indifferent persons or anti-transhumanists that transhumanism is something good, we need appealing to emotions before logic and reason. And this is a point where transhumanists have not been very effective so far.





@ Giulio.

I see your point, and agree with them to a point. However, because of the fact that much of transhumanism is based on science and technology, it must remain grounded in cold hard fact. Human enhancement is already taking place, insofar as we daily use the internet to expand our knowledge, spell checkers to enhance our literary skills, cell phones to talk to people around the globe.

Are these net benefits or net minuses? It really doesn’t matter does it, because it is a fact. Enough people decided they wanted it, that it is no longer even a subject for debate, but I can recall the days when spell checkers were “going to destroy the art of writing.”

Hyperbole and misinformation, based on attempts to stir up fear and prejudice are pointless. They do nothing to add to the conversation, and much to impede it.





@Valkrie Ice

Where is the fear in art? If anyone is currently evoking fear, this would be you sir…

Do you fear anti-transhumanisim?

Why don’t you Just ignore all the “misinformation”  ?





The fear in art comes when it is used to send a message of fear. Transalchemy. If you can name one instance where I have ever sent a message of fear, I challenge you to so do. I do not even tell people to fear you, merely challenge the misinformation you present and provide facts where I may. I do this to everyone, Transalchemy, so if you feel singled out and persecuted, that is solely in your own mind, as are all of your fears of the future.





Bringing this conversation full circle, I agree with Mike on the best possible path for the development of future technologies, may indeed be..

Tech Pace FAST, Opposition STRONG: Conflicts abound

I believe that a balanced approach from the right and the left may lead us towards the most optimal state for all sentient beings on this little planet to cohabit ... Including you raspberry


So regardless of what you may think you know about me,  my motivations and drives are far more complex than you might think… 

“Fear the future”.... (silly)

This is the final time I will address your “fears” if you wish to continue this you may, but please add something constructive to the overall exploration presented in this post…

Thanx for the feedback and feel free to email me with more
TransAlchemy@gmail.com

ciao.





You still can’t cope with criticism can you?

For the record, while Fast progress Strong opposition could lead to optimal development, I still stand by my original statement. I do not see strong opposition developing. Strong opposition requires organization. The most likely sources of that organization, i.e. government, corporate, or religious organizations, currently appear too fragmented to provide that organization. Disorganized opposition could be very strong, but lacking organization to direct it, will be ineffective. This leads to the conclusion that the most probable scenario is Fast, weak.

Is it the best? Irrelevant. That is not the point of the observation. Probability is the sole criteria I am using.

If you disagree, present your reasons, not your desires or fears.





@ Valkyrie Ice

Quote : “Fear of the future I find usually comes from a failure to comprehend. People fear what they do not understand.”

There is truth in the cliché, yet is it possible to fear something we do understand?

Quote : “And sadly, as Giulio pointed out, often times Pro-Transhumanists fail to promote understanding. They either wrap their explanations in so much techo-garble that it’s like they are speaking a foreign language, or they speak as if they are making pronouncements from god, expecting people to listen just because they say so. In this aspect, many Anti-Transhumanists do explain things better.”

If this is so then it is the failure on behalf of certain Pro-Transhumanists and either they have shortcomings in communicating their ideas, or they are simply not trying hard enough? Either way one should put in some effort to correct this, don’t you think?

Leaving it all up to other folks to make your case is more than a little lazy, and this doesn’t fair well to promote transhumanism to folks that are still trying to get past all the bickering to find out what it really means. It appears that mostly, transhumanists are divided and cannot even agree amongst themselves what this stands for or who is and who isn’t, precisely because the term is so general and far-reaching?

For example, if someone has a pace-maker fitted, yet does not really want this, (it is usually a case of necessity), does this make them a transhumanist? Or merely reluctantly H+? Do your transhumanist tendencies begin with your first vitamin supplement? Or your first body piercing? We know this is not the case, so there has to be some benchmark somewhere?

Anyways all this talk of fear is very boring and negative, I fear you, you fear me oh dear, is this all this debate has to offer? The future does not belong to transhumanists or techno-progressives, and if this is all that is on offer then both these terms will soon be redundant anyhow, (although I still deem the term techno-progressive to be a as misnomer).





@CygnusX1

Are you talking to me, or to someone else? If me, you have sadly misinterpreted my statements. I do not leave promoting Transhumanism up to others, and I have spent considerable time explaining the facts as well as their implications to many people.

Nor do I allow misinformation to stand when I come across it.

Considering that, it leaves me puzzled to whom you meant to address. Perhaps you can clarify?





@Valkyrie Ice


Well it is your quote is it not? I have not misinterpreted your statement. Also if you read my comment again more carefully you will notice it does not point to you does it? This is all in your head, (this is another example of how emotions take control in these articles).

I notice you ignored the content of the comment entirely and only took from it what you wanted? I guess we can all be sensitive to criticism : even where there is none?

Regarding promoting transhumanism, I’m glad to hear it : keep up the good work, and encourage others to do so, (check above comment for clarification).

;0]





@CynusX1

I read your post five times, and still could not make heads or tails of who you were addressing, which is why I was curious.

I only addressed those parts of it which confused me.

My definition of Transhumanism is thus: It is the belief that mankind is neither perfect, nor the pinnacle of evolution, yet through the use of tools, we have always striven to improve our selves and our world.

Do you believe that we can improve? Then you are Transhuman. Do you believe that humanity cannot improve? That this is as good as we can get? Then you are not.

The methods of improvement don’t matter. If someone does not feel a artificial heart improves them in their own mind, then it is not. We each seek improvement in our own way, and no two of us need think any given technology is an improvement.

We can improve ourselves with technology, or we cannot improve ourselves with technology. It’s a very simple, clear cut division.





@ Valkyrie Ice

It is no big thing, we both have similar ideals, and I understand your position on transhumanism. My comment which has caused the confusion is in response to your comment, and also regarding my similar comment previously to Giulio upon the reliance on anti-transhumanists to promote understanding of transhumanism, or rather promote a misunderstanding of transhumanism, which I feel is wrong. In other words, transhumanists should definitely not leave the clarification of transhumanist meaning and ideals to others?

Once again, there are many levels inclusive of the term transhumanism, and all of them in some way do include the use of technology, which is why I have so much trouble understanding this purposeful and intentional divide between transhumanists and techno-progressives. The main goal must be to promote understanding of the term transhumanism to a wider audience either through clarification of its meaning and ideals, or through the use of the term Humanity+.





@ Giulio…

I understand your point from both your replies, and you may be correct, yet I still think the pros should lead the way as they should in any promotion of ideals.

I enjoy reading the negative critique as much as the positive stuff here. In fact it would be very one-sided if there was no counter-point highlighted. And that I would find suspicious. If the term transhumanism does indeed have an uncertain future, then so be it. Humanity+ may be the preferred term now, (although it does not really matter to transhumanists). The main thing is to gain attention from wider audiences and make sure the philosophy is promoted.

Technology is advancing fast, and I believe it will continue to do so unless there is some catastrophe, (war and conflict, natural disaster), to slow it. And I believe policies and changes will need to keep up with this pace : so who will be making the decisions? If the wider audience is still oblivious to the ethical discussions, then we only have politicians to decide for us, and trust in their integrity and choices. Who else would there be to rely upon?

Science will always be impartial, as it should be, yet the downside is, science would be cloning humans tomorrow just to see if they could, and we are not quite ready for this yet are we? (of course this example applies to all genetic modifications animal and plant and all types of technologies). The preferred pace would be slower, (not slow), yet we may have passed the point of control long since. We need to get more people aware and thinking about the ethical dilemmas, (that word again!).





Note: the comment above is SPAM. This is one of the new tricks used by spammers - pasting apparently relevant comments to increase the Google pagerank of a linked webpage. Can somebody please delete it and ban the author by name and IP.





If a government owns and controls its currency can it never go in debt.? I have been studying the economy’s of the ancient world. I see no reason to fear a financial crisis in The United States of America or any country with a good food source. The only reason Rome fell was due to economic conditions because it didn’t control its own currency not because it had a recession. Governments stock pile gold because they don’t want it used as black market currency. Our government wants this fake financial crisis. They want less jobs so people will have to go to war to live decently. Robots stole most of the jobs of yesterday. We now have an excess of workers. People sitting around with nothing needed to do. We throw very little money at the arts. Media powerhouses have streamlined the entertainment industry. No one gets in and no one gets out. Our high tech glass and steel buildings of today are stripped of anything of artistic value. They stand like cheep boxes.
      .





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