Continuing on this mini-series of articles:
We also can not forget “government’s” interest in the subject of “Transhumanism” (or, more properly, “trans-humanism”), and its funding, using moneys the taxpayer will be held to recoup – of course, in their projects’ further development. Here is an example, on the inset, that was published earlier today:
April 3, 2014
The Pentagon’s advanced research wing has announced its latest budget — and whoa, does DARPA ever have some ambitious plans for the future. Their new Biotech unit will be harnessing biology for national security, and dealing with everything from stopping plagues to building synthetic soldiers.
DARPA’s commitment to cutting-edge innovation is unquestioned. The very essence of the defense agency is to make sure that U.S. military technology is more sophisticated than that of the nation’s rivals. Among its many current initiatives, DARPA is working on advanced robotics, an artificial human brain, next-gen robotic aircraft, advanced prosthetics, and self-teaching computers (if anyone’s going to build a recursively improving AI it’s going to be DARPA).
In addition to these projects, DARPA has been busy at work on various biotechnology-related endeavors, but these attempts to date have lacked cohesion and focus. Looking to change this, DARPA has announced the creation of its Biological Technologies Office (BTO)— an effort to “explore the the increasingly dynamic intersection of biology and the physical sciences.” The new division will expand upon its Defense Sciences (DSO) and Microsystems Technology (MTO) Offices.
This article was posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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What I want to cover,
Are some salient points being made when talking about the trans-humanist movement and what are its collective(?) ideologies and beliefs. This is not about taking a disparaging view of others’ beliefs, but a serious cross-examination of what “beliefs” are being instilled, through peer-pressure, salesmanship, and “product-placement” (more on this term later) through the media and entertainment industry.
From “What is Transhumanism” – http://www.transhumanism.org website:
The new paradigm rejects a crucial assumption that is implicit in both traditional futurology and practically all of today’s political thinking. This is the assumption that the “human condition” is at root a constant. Present-day processes can be fine-tuned; wealth can be increased and redistributed; tools can be developed and refined; culture can change, sometimes drastically; but human nature itself is not up for grabs.
From “Toward New Ideologies” – http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Intro/ideologies.txt:
Our ideologies and action programs are also evolving, becoming more global, more
cosmic. Social, economic, and political systems of the past are increasingly
obsolete. They are less and less relevant to new conditions rapidly brought on
by the loosening of authoritarianism at all levels of all societies, the death
of god, the increasing strength and fluidity of the ego, the humanization and
convergence of mankind, modern contraception, common markets, international
economics, intrnational politics, communication satellites, nuclear energy,
electronics, lasers, space travel, biologic control of life …
What is already apparent here,
Is that the idea of this becoming more global, and looking to extend out into the universe. Trans-humanism sees itself as a “cosmic” or “universal destiny” which must transcend the normal humanness. Much of it also reads as if taken from excerpts of the Humanist Manifesto which “officially” declares any idea of “god” dead. – This tells me that trans-humanism is secular and atheistic. This also tells me that trans-humanism seeks to replace (possibly with pressure or force) the idea of an externally-perceived “god” with an “improved man” as if HE were to be “god”. (Of course, we are talking about using advanced technology for this purpose, rather than the naturally-obtainable means.)
Superintelligent machines. Superintelligence means any form of artificial intelligence, maybe based on “self-taught” neural networks, that is capable of outclassing the best human brains in practically every discipline, including scientific creativity, practical wisdom, and social skills.
This little section gives me reason to pause my thoughts for a moment. “Superintelligence”, by artificial means, is quite capable of doing massive calculations and “simulations” far greater than man’s own brain can CONSCIOUSLY express. We never think about the “sub-conscious” part of the brain (where it is said that our connection to anything spiritual would be closest). However, even the fastest of super-computers are STILL unable to truly “create” in the way that man’s mind does so, naturally. The idea that a machine could outdo man in such creative and aesthetic things as art, music, “practical wisdom”, “social skills” to the level that man does naturally, is but pure fantasy. Perhaps, as more time goes by, we may see some machines get closer to the mere “simulation” of a creative act. However, it would still be a “simulated” act, limited to the logical operations of an artificial machine by the basis of its programming.
The Creative abilities of human beings are a natural-born trait. We are ALL able to access that creative bent, to whatever potential we may realize, and use it to create (and/or destroy) purely on the basis that it is a Native Talent to actual living things. No artificial intelligence, nor any advanced computing system is going to be able to stretch its own limits and boundaries – as it will still bump into its own limits of memory, program-adaptability, and the confines of the architecture itself. More so, if any such device or system was to be actually be deployed, how much “self-control” would such an entity be capable of, considering that human beings are, as individuals, are usually rather limited in the amount of damage and destruction he/she could do – before the corresponding risks to him/herself become great enough to actually “self-limit” the situation and the individual.
Lifelong emotional well-being through re-calibration of the pleasure-centers.
Even today, mild variants of sustainable euphoria are possible for a minority of people who respond especially well to clinical mood-brighteners (“antidepressants”). Pharmaceuticals currently under development promise to give an increasing number of “normal” people the choice of drastically reducing the incidence of negative emotions in their lives.
This passage almost looks like it was inspired by “Brave New World”, by Aldus Huxley. The basic theme is, “a pill for everything“. Today’s “modern medicine” is also about, “a pill for everything“, even when better, safer, natural remedies exist to deal with the specific health problems. The “big pharma” and “medical” industries have profited handsomely on the sales of drugs and other questionable medical therapies, while at the same time, decried and even forcibly silenced any talk, independent research into, and successful evaluations of natural therapies. Long gone is the modus, “Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine, and Thy Medicine be Thy Food.” as was well-said by Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine. A “pill”, or a novel “drug” will fix that right up!
Personality pills. Drugs and gene therapy will yield far more than shallow one-dimensional pleasure. They can also modify personality. They can help overcome shyness, eliminate jealousy (Kramer ), increase creativity and enhance the capacity for empathy and emotional depth. Think of all the preaching, fasting and self-discipline that people have subjected themselves to throughout the ages in attempts to ennoble their character. Shortly it may become possible to achieve the same goals much more thoroughly by swallowing a daily cocktail pill.
The reliance on a “pill” to fix something perceived to be wrong, this time – the “personality”. Everyone has a unique personality. That is how we express ourselves, and it is also how we learn about and learn to relate to others. Our very Humanity depends on our having a personality that is none like any one else’s. The perfection of an “ecosystem” (for lack of a more-suitable term), is in how well the unique and different parts and members of it – successfully interact and coexist.
Where one may have a personality “fault” or weakness (if that could be justifiably stated without being too subjective), one has the ability to recognize it, if it is truly a “fault”, or an asset that “has its best fit” in a specific environment or social circle. Not all of us have the outgoing “flash” to make us able to act on stage, play music, or any such occupation or hobby that does best for the outgoing types. We are all unique and special in our own way! This is what makes for a strong community, based on the unique traits and talents of the various personalities within. A truly free society benefits best when the unique talents of each member are given equal chance to contribute to his/her community (while remaining confident and knowing of his/her own “Humanness”). One should NOT need a pill or any other drug to induce a change in personality, for the sake of doing so, let alone for the sake of others. There is a place for all personality types as they are all important to the fabric of their community.
What should also be stressed,
“Personality Pills” can very easily become a very dangerous weapon in a tyrannical society. We think we have problems today with censorship and even forceful crackdowns on peaceful protests and demonstrations, all due to their opinions not being the “politically-popular” choices, the appearance and use of “personality pills” should send chills down everyone’s spines! This is NOT the kind of future I look forward to!
Space colonization. Today, space colonization is technologically feasible but prohibitively expensive. As costs decrease, it will become economically and politically possible to begin to colonize space. The thing to note is that once a single self-sustaining colony has been established, capable of sending out its own colonization probes, then an exponentially self-replicating process has been set in motion that is capable – without any further input from the planet Earth – of spreading out across the millions of stars in our galaxy and then to millions of other galaxies as well. Of course, this sequence of events will take an extremely long time on a human time-scale. But is interesting to notice how near we are to being able to initiate a chain of events that will have such momentous consequences as filling the observable universe with our descendants.
Seeing the kinds of political power,
And the sheer-long lists of abuses of that power, I sincerely hope the rest of the intelligences in the Universe take serious note. This “colonization” nearly ALWAYS has dire consequences for those who were pre-existent in the areas to be colonized. Such activities have usually ended up removing and/or annihilating the pre-existent race, species, Kind from those areas. Enough of man’s history for the last several thousand years years is testimony to this fact. Tyrants of empires and kingdoms always seek to expand their spheres of influence, no matter the horrible costs to the conquered. We, collectively, have done very little good in taking good care of our present home, planet Earth. So WHY should we expand our spheres of influence, across the galaxy and universe, to end up doing the same thing elsewhere??? At what point, may a more advanced species in a far off world, begin to seriously consider us a contagious plague, especially when it is some of their colonies that lie in peril to our expansion?
If modern human history is of any account, the same kinds of tyrannical political systems of control would exert their influences in those times to come, because we have not yet taken the battle to those political systems to halt their predations now. We have much growing up to do, BEFORE we can expect a universally-expansionist culture to fare better with our likely neighbors in the future. We still have our work cut out for us; as in unfinished work in regaining the right to exist as Natural Humans should.
Next: Part 4 – I will cover the drive to “Re-define Evolution”, and the trans-humanists’ desire to redefine humanity in their view of technological supremacy over Nature.
– Rev. Dragon’s Eye,
Founder, Temple of The Ancient Dragons