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Transhumanism: No Gigadeath War
Kris Notaro   Oct 29, 2014   Ethical Technology  

The onset of transhumanism, political or not may rally many people against technological innovations such as the integration of the human species with computers and re-designing of our specie’s DNA for enhancement purposes. The people of the world need to cooperate and value education so that we never see any of the dystopian posthumanist scenarios play out the way many think they might.

We all heard of Hugo de Garis' concepts describing the “Artilect War.” Take for example this excert from wikipedia:

De Garis believes that a major war before the end of the 21st century, resulting in billions of deaths, is almost inevitable. Intelligent machines (or 'artilects', a shortened form of 'artificial intellects') will be far more intelligent than humans and will threaten to attain world domination, resulting in a conflict between 'Cosmists', who support the artilects, and 'Terrans', who oppose them (both of these are terms of his invention). He describes this conflict as a 'gigadeath' war, reinforcing the point that billions of people will be killed. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_de_Garis

With all the talk recently about artificial intelligence being the greatest existential risk humans will create, one might take the above seriously. If, for example, far-right extremist groups, including but not limited to fundamentalist Christians take these words seriously, they may rebel against technological innovations.

They will indeed share with many people that “god” created “man” and humans are now “playing god.”

I do not want to come at this from an anti-religious point of view though, I would rather talk about what it means to be anti-war, the seriously flawed views that artificial intelligence will create an existential risk to humans, and what it means to say something is “unnatural”

First off, in 2014 we are not close to seeing consciousness on a computer. We do not even have a comprehensive theory of consciousness that explains how humans experience it yet. We are also in the realm of simply enhancing our mind and body by starting to understand how to manipulate DNA and how to attach our brains to computers for downloading and uploading purposes.

These technologies may sound radical at first glance, but consider how many different chemicals may be going through your brain as you read this, chemicals that science (and nature) invented to enhance your experience of being human, rather it be anti-depression medication, caffeine, or mood stabalizers, etc.

Having a wifi like connection to a computer, or gene-therapy to enhance your cognition may just be accepted by the majority of people as the norm.

This is not artificial intelligence, and even if it was, it is my belief that a technological singularity type of event would end up creating compassionate intelligence, but that is for another article.

The point is, is that primitivists and fundamentalist religious people should start to embrace technological change instead of living up to Hugo de Garis' predictions of all out war between the technophiles and technophobes.

Who knows, maybe through enhancement of the mind, we will find god, or even better – peace and cooperation, maybe even compassion.

People must rationally look at science and philosophy, at ontology and epistemology. We must start to reject irrational social constructs and concepts that defy reality. Although I cannot convince anyone to reject their religion, or embrace technology, all I can do is explain the link between “nature” and the evolution of knowledge – leading up to what we currently “know.”

It was inevitable that from the moment a human, tens of thousands of years ago looked down at a leaf, or up to the stars and wondered how they functioned, and why they exist, that a huge endeavor would start. That endeavor was science, a method to test results and come up with theories of how the world works.

The essence of science never meant to purposely destroy “god” or even spirituality. It only wanted to test it, and come up with a theory that could be testable, anywhere, anytime. It just never happened, leading us to think, there must not be a god in the sense that so-called profits envisioned.

It was just a matter of time before we would understand what makes us tick, and how to manipulate it.

And in my view this is not “unnatural,” infact it is part of the evolution of intelligence and rationality.

I am only being honest with myself and others.

There is no need to start a war with people who embrace science and the future that transhumanism and posthumanism has to offer. And on that note, people who embrace transhumanism and posthumanism shouldn't start a war against those who oppose it.

We need to start communicating with each other on a level playing field. We need to seriously look at the current economic and political situation of the new empire, called the U.S.

Good housing, water, food, and healthcare all play a role in people's ability to have a good education, but so does the political system. We need to stop fighting over “god” and the things "profits" said that god said and start working together on dismantling organizations like Fox News and corrupt and dangerous human endeavors such as standing armiesgurus and uneducated power-hungry politicians and the military–industrial complex.

Transhumanism and posthumanism is inevitable, but a Gigadeath war is not. Brain and mind currently live in a undefined reality – in the sense that ontology and epistemology are not done at all, in many realms of science and philosophy.

We all need to sit back and take a deep breath of fresh air, relax, and learn to cooperate on levels that would put Fox News out of business overnight.

Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, served as the IEET's Managing Director from 2012 through 2015. He is currently an IEET Program Director. He earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.



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