I'm a big fan of science and technology as well as humans. I like the transhumanist movement and was just wondering what your thoughts and feelings are about it?
Please stay on topic and don't obsessively talk about how religion is mostly anti-human etc. I already know that. :P
I'm more interested in how humanity can be better, have more enjoyable lives and evolve in positive ways. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism
Thanks and I look forward to your ideas and perspectives. :)
You are already part of the transhuman evolutionary since you wear glasses. All of the advancements we take for granted have curved our path to the future. Our children's children will no doubt think that having a physical cell phone that you hold in your hand is the stuff of romantic period pieces--don't we already feel the same way about those old "brick" cell phones?
And the crux of this is and will be what society accepts as "normal". Are fake boobs normal? In certain areas of the U.S. and elsewhere, that answer is yes. Perhaps the right word would be accepted rather than normal. Tattoos are widespread and there is no reason to think that the advancements available to the artists will not be used.
And this is the way evolution works too. Is the beginning of the trend when humans started tattooing/scarification? Is it when we started wearing glasses, or when we started wearing contacts? We are all individuals in a system, so tracking the trends will probably be measured in centuries.
What I am saying is that like past forms of evolution, gradual shifts are hard to identify, even if you count them over millennia. But barring a luddite revolution, we are already in the midst of the transhuman movement, whether we like it or not.
Different than past evolutionary shifts though, is how genetics will be passed along. I do think that women and men are choosing mates partially upon the ideas behind their tattoos. And whether certain idea patterns enhance someones chances of having more children or somehow superior (or inferior) children. This is crazy stuff to think about--kind of like a genetic meritocracy. I am certain that other types of body enhancements (or lack thereof) will indicate affluence or poverty, and mate choices will be made on that basis in certain segments of the populace.
Regarding what I think the future will look like, I think the premises behind the movie Gattaca are closest to what the eventual truth will be.
The first time I heard of this on the web was about 1990, but the idea goes back to book 'Frankenstein' at least.
On an early bullitin board, about 1990, there was talk concerning 'Cyberpunk', with short stories writen and submitted to decribe human/machine hybrides. The stories seemed to imply that once the technology was perfected, there would be an arms race, between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Every augmentation, would be meet with a personal concern for safety and security from the growing number of 'monsters'. To stay one step ahead of the monsters, there would be a growing demand for the newest augmentation to maintain some degree of advantage. Ultimately ending in a decay of the human frame, and a war, all against all, as paranoia and predation takes over any/all human relationships. War made personal.
The book 'Dune' describes portions of a future past where humans accepted the process of human/machine hybrides, and after a war, decided on biological evolution instead.
Many people have accepted and find useful, artificle hips and knees, heart valves, pace makers, insuline pumps, and machine transplants for hearing, and limbs. Where this is going, can become an open question.
Over the years, I sort of wish I had some form of computational augmentation, and modifications to light, and environmental perceptions. When it becomes rather inexpensive or stylish to have more than a face lift, but a bio-modem installed, the acceleration into a new area of 'culture' will become obvious.
Hopefully science will find a way to tame the beast inside of us so people will stop wanting to kill other people.
I think the problem will be (as already mentioned) a growing chasm between the haves and have nots. E.g., imagine transhumans with robot families in smart homes and smart cars. Science will continue to enable enhanced body & mind performance, and smart and agile robots and other tools, for better, and for worse.
It don't think it's a question of whether such powers will be abused, but a question of by who. Even if most countries somehow keep internal conditions somewhat egalitarian and non-abusive, how can we stop (say) "rogue" countries from scientifically exploiting it's population even more than they do now? And if enslaving people can be made even more profitable than what's been customary, what's to stop some countries from exporting their abusive technologies and customs to (say) other rogue nations and third-world cultures?
It's easy to envision utopia, but don't cross your fingers.
Indeed, the more technological humanity becomes, the wider the gap between the haves-and-have-nots. Technology is not free, and it's always to wealthy who access it. But even primordial technology, such as agricultural technology has failed humanity in that sense. Never has the nutrition gap been so wide as it is today, with the likes of me and my brethren well overfed with an impossibly ridiculous diversity of food choices, and the poor of Africa, who are stuck with crappy maize, wich is not even from Africa, the ultimate failure. The food gap will continue to increase as long as we focus our efforts on technology instead of the politico-economic dogmas (christian dogmas) that plage our species.
Biological entities that do not have the fitness to survive their enviroment MUST die, we have an ever increasing percentage of our available money (individually and government) going to maintain alive those who should have died, it is unsustainable.
Even today some people must die. Take organ transplants in scarce supply. Hospital committees take a look at two patients in immediate need of a liver transplant. One is a 15 year old with his/her entire future ahead of him/her to use or throw away, the other is a 70 year old Albert Einstein (use your imagination). Which one gets the liver? One of them has to die. Einstein aside, choices like this are occurring in major hospitals every day.
We need to make choices, where we put taxpayers money, where we don't, I would not put a penny, not a single penny, into life extension. There is so much that needs to be done to improve general health, things that don't cost much, only research, no meds, but that doesn't benefit pharmaceutical companies, and since our medicine is entirely controlled by pharmaceutical companies, basic research does not get appropriately financed.
It's not eugenics, it's nature. At soon to be 8 billion people on this planet, we do not need or want yet more people, and we certainly don't need offspring who by definition need pharmacopia to survive.
For humans, we should be working on returning to a 50-60 year lifespan, but a healthy one instead of a pharmaceutical, overweight, back-pain life. We have so much work to do on prevention, it's ridiculous, but it's not glitzy like fountain of youth and eternal life BS that today's society is obsessed with. Organ transplants are short-lived, require massive pharmacopea, and only tend to statistically benefit the stupidest among us for jumping off cliffs and driving stupidly, etc, etc. Why subsidise stupidity???
"At soon to be 8 billion people on this planet, we do not need or want yet more people, and we certainly don't need offspring who by definition need pharmacopia to survive."
Why don't you just say that you don't like humans? How are you the best judge of what humanity needs or doesn't need? Do most of your arguments circle back to money and the economics of being alive? If so, why?
Only the ancestrally rich do not care about balancing a budget. Ok, pick a few ideas in society that you do not support, I mean REALLy don't support, like maybe the death penalty. Now, think, do you want your taxes ( I image you pay some, unless you're too rich to pay taxes) to pay for the death penalty?
Organ transplants only need drugs because the organ doesn't belong to the recipient. If one can be grown for you, using your own cells, then you wouldn't need to take immune suppressing drugs for the rest of your life. Work is being done right now to create chips with a polymer layer that can allow cells to grow on them and be identified by the body as being a part of it. It's pretty incredible stuff.
I completely agree that prevention is the greatest way to live longer. It's the reason I try to stay and eat healthy, but at some point, that's only going to get me so far. If I have the option of extending my life through a medical procedure, I think I will probably make use of it. After all, I only get one go. Why not make it last?
Hans and I disagree fundamentally, he makes historical mistakes which are inexcusable.
Like what mistakes?