There is a lot of discussion and “selling” of an idea that I strongly believe is not being thoroughly examined and cross-examined.
It was not until a few days ago that I came across some videos on YouTube. I was indeed astonished and quite upset at what was being sold as the greatest thing to happen (supposedly for humanity’s benefit) in our collective near-future. I am talking about this move to synthesize and then implement the “visionary”-idea of Trans-Humanism. The common theme here is the phrase “post-human world”, as in after or beyond a world of humanity. (I tend to see their meaning as “past” the age(s) of humanity!)
I have even seen the term “digital shaman” being used to describe those who are at the forefront of the movement.
As an example:
A rather disturbing message is subtly revealed;
” YOU are not perfect and NATURE is not perfect, but WE (the drivers of this movement and its ‘researchers’) can MAKE you into MORE of a perfect being. ”
The constant theme-trend here is that, “Nature is not perfect, but more a ‘dead-end’.” The answer: “They” (again, the drivers of the trans-humanism movement and their supportive scientists and researchers) can make it work better (so, trust them when they say ‘we are gods’ [Euphemistically referring to just themselves???]). They call this ‘evolution’ in much they same way they refer to Darwin’s theories about evolution and “natural selection” as their basis. Today’s corporate-controlled “modern medicine” has the very same attitude towards ‘nature’s imperfections’, and who it is THEY who will be the corrective answer (through their use and pushing of dubious and often dangerous chemical-drugs and barbaric ‘procedures’ as the solution(s).)
Many a church and even much of the ‘new age’ movement has fallen for this, hook-line-and-sinker, with nary a worry or even skeptical look into what is involved in this new movement. This almost has me remembering the Pixar Productions movie, “Robots”, and tying in the synthesis with the “Matrix” films. There were also a few earlier episodes from old science-fiction serials that come to memory (albeit, slowly) that also fit the bill in (selling?) the idea of virtual realities and those who have become a part within them. Star Trek, The Next Generation had a very interesting episode on this level, as did an episode out of one of the older Doctor Who serials. Yes, that was all “fiction” then, but how does it look when what was once fiction, becomes a de facto progress towards, and eventual “reality”(???)
The below list is from World Transhumanist Association website: (as of: Wed, Apr 2nd, 2014)
|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. Several commentators have argued that both the hardware and the software required for superintelligence might be developed in the first few decades of the next century. (See Moravec  and Bostrom .)|
|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. In some cases, the adverse side-effects of the new agents are negligible. Whereas street drugs typically wreak havoc on the brain’s neurochemistry, producing a brief emotional “high” followed by a crash, modern clinical drugs may target with high specificity a given neurotransmitter or receptor subtype, thereby avoiding any negative effect on the subject’s cognitive faculties – (s)he won’t feel “drugged” – and enables a constant, indefinitely sustainable mood-elevation without being addictive. David Pearce  advocates and predicts a post-Darwinian era in which all aversive experience will be replaced by gradients of pleasure beyond the bounds of normal human experience. As cleaner and safer mood-brighteners and gene-therapies become available, paradise-engineering may become a practicable possibility.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Molecular nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the hypothetical design and manufacture of machines to atomic-scale precision, including general-purpose “assemblers”, devices that can position atoms individually in order to build almost any chemically permitted matter-configuration for which we can give a detailed specification – including exact copies of themselves. An existence-proof of a limited form of nanotechnology is given by biology: the cell is a molecular self-replicator that can produce a broad range of proteins. But the part of design space that is accessible to present biological organisms is restricted by their evolutionary history, and is mostly confined to non-rigid carbon structures. Eric Drexler (, ) was the first person to analyze in detail the physical possibility of a practically universal molecular assembler. Once such a gadget exists, it would make possible dirt-cheap (but perfectly clean) production of almost any commodity, given a design-specification and the requisite input of energy and atoms. The bootstrap problem for nanotechnology – how to build this first assembler – is very hard to solve. Two approaches are currently pursued. One of them builds on what nature has achieved and seeks to use biochemistry to engineer new proteins that can serve as tools in further engineering efforts. The other attempts to build atomic structures from scratch, using proximal probes such as atomic-force microscopes to position atoms one-by-one on a surface. The two methods can potentially be used in conjunction. Much research is required before the physical possibility of Drexlerian nanotechnology can be turned into an actuality; it will certainly not happen in the next couple of years, but it might come about in the first few decades of the next century.|
|Vastly extended life spans. It may prove feasible to use radical gene-therapy and other biological methods to block normal aging processes, and to stimulate rejuvenation and repair mechanisms indefinitely. It is also possible that nothing short of nanotechnology will do the trick. Meanwhile there are unproven and in some cases expensive hormone treatments that seem to have some effect on general vitality in elderly people, although as yet nothing has been shown to be more effective at life-extension than controlled caloric restriction.|
|Extinction of intelligent life. The risks are as enormous as the potential benefits. In addition to dangers that are already recognized (though perhaps inadequately counteracted?), such as a major military, terrorist or accidental disaster involving nuclear, chemical, viral or bacteriological agents, the new technologies threaten dangers of a different order altogether. Nanotechnology, for example, could pose a terrible threat to our existence if obtained by some terrorist group before adequate defense systems have been developed. It is not even certain that adequate defense is possible. Perhaps in a nanotechnological world offense has a decisive intrinsic advantage over defense. Nor is it farfetched to assume that there are other risks that we haven’t yet been able to imagine.|
|The interconnected world. Even in its present form, the Internet has an immense impact on some people’s lives. And its ramifications are just beginning to unfold. This is one area where radical change is quite widely perceived, and where media discussion has been extensive.|
|Uploading of our consciousness into a virtual reality. If we could scan the synaptic matrix of a human brain and simulate it on a computer then it would be possible for us to migrate from our biological embodiments to a purely digital substrate (given certain philosophical assumptions about the nature of consciousness and personal identity). By making sure we always had back-up copies, we might then enjoy effectively unlimited life-spans. By directing the activation flow in the simulated neural networks, we could engineer totally new types of experience. Uploading, in this sense, would probably require mature nanotechnology. But there are less extreme ways of fusing the human mind with computers. Work is being done today on developing neuro/chip interfaces. The technology is still in its early stages; but it might one day enable us to build neuroprostheses whereby we could “plug in” to cyberspace. Even less speculative are various schemes for immersive virtual reality – for instance using head-mounted displays – that communicate with the brain via our natural sense organs.|
|Reanimation of cryogenically-suspended patients. Persons frozen with today’s procedure can probably not be brought back to life with anything less than mature nanotechnology. Even if we could be absolutely sure that mature nanotechnology will one day be developed, there would still be no guarantee that the cryonics customer’s gamble would succeed – perhaps the beings of the future won’t be interested in reanimating present-day humans. Still, even a 5% or 10% chance of success could make an Alcor contract a rational option for people who can afford it and who place a great value on their continued personal existence. If reanimated, they might look forward to aeons of subjective life time under conditions of their own choosing.|
A rather LOOOONG list of expectations, ideals, and not to forget to mention, SALEMANSHIP of the idea on “how the world can become a better place for everyone”, all on the basis that “technology will save the human race”. – REALLY ?!?!?!?
I always thought it was OUR personal and voluntarily-collective responsibility to preserve and improve our world, by “Being the Best Humans we can be”?!? – This is not a responsibility to be take lightly, and not one to be given up for someone else to do FOR us!
Next Installment, (Part 2):
I will deal with more of the “buzzwords” and “selling points”, and what they really mean for us all. This will be the post to dissect the very point being made by this movement.
– Rev. Dragon’s Eye
Founder, Temple of The Ancient Dragons