Tag Archives | Transhumanism

Transhumanism: Longevity & Immortality

Transhumanism barnstar.png

Antonu (CC)

[Excerpted from Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity by R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell]

Living beyond the perceived limits of an individual human life seems to be the central obsession of transhumanist culture. Transhumanists are against death. Many of the projects and developments discussed in this book are explicitly aimed at the defeat of the Grim Reaper. If you think death is okay, a transhumanist might call you a deathist. A deathist is an enemy of transhumanism, just as a capitalist is an enemy of communism, or a Marxist is an enemy of capitalism.

BEGINNINGS

The quest for extreme longevity through contemporary science method began to gather steam in the latter half of the 20th century. In 1962, American physics professor Robert Ettinger proposed that the biological sciences would someday soon find a key to immortality, and that cryonic preservation was a way that a person living in the 20th century could keep himself intact until that great day.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Criticisms of Transhumanism

Anti transhumanism

[Excerpted from Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity by R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell]

Empowering individuals and transcending what were long considered human limits: these goals are exciting to some, but they’re disturbing and frightening to others. Let’s put major objections to transhumanism into one or more of four categories: that it’s unfeasible, directly dangerous, indirectly dangerous, or immoral.

“IT WON’T WORK!”

It’s easy to be skeptical about technological predictions. After all, nobody commutes by personal helicopter or nuclear-powered automobile, or has a kitchen robot cooking dinner. Nuclear power never made electricity “too cheap to meter,” and controlled fusion has been twenty years away for about sixty years now . . . and still is.

Some say that mind uploading is impossible, pointing to the assumptions implicit in the concept: the idea that “you” (your self, mind, or soul) is something distinct from your body.This philosophical dualism is seen as inconsistent with the materialism transhumanists otherwise profess.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Transcendence: RU Sirius & Jay Cornell on Transhumanism

TranscendenceR.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell are the authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. Transhumanism has been a hot but divisive topic on disinformation, so we felt there was a need to foster greater understanding of just what transhumanism is, and is not, hence the format of the book is an A-Z encyclopedia.

We asked Jay and R.U. to answer a few questions about the book and the topic in general:

RU, you have long been associated with the transhumanism movement; can you tell us how you got hooked and what your personal interest in transhumanism is?

RU: In a sense, I go way back to the 1970s, although I wasn’t familiar with the term transhumanism then. I think the only person using it at that time was a guy named F.M. Esfandiary. I was, if you will, turned on and tuned in by Timothy Leary and his cohort in conscious evolution Robert Anton Wilson.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Death Should be Optional

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

via H+ Magazine:

Now more than ever, the topic of death is marked by no shortage of diverging opinions.

On the one hand, there are serious thinkers — Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others — who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.

As a non-scientist I am not qualified to evaluate scientific claims about what science can and cannot do. What I can say is that plausible scenarios for overcoming death have now appeared. This leads to the following questions: If individuals could choose immortality, should they? Should societies fund and promote research to defeat death?

The question regarding individuals has a straightforward answer: We should respect the right of autonomous individuals to choose for themselves.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Transhuman World

eu20141116bvia The Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

Whatever a transhuman is, xe (a pronoun to encompass all conceivable states of personhood) will have to live in a world that enables xer to be transhuman. I’ll explore the impact of three likely-seeming aspects of that world: ubiquitous interconnected smart machines, continuous classification, and virtualism.

Ubiquitous Interconnected Smart Machines

[…] High Frequency Traders aggressively trade in the direction of price changes […and…] may compete for liquidity and amplify price volatility.
(Kirilenko, Kyle, Samadi, and Tuzun 2011)

Newton’s theory of gravity was initially ridiculed for its “action at a distance” mysticism, particularly by those who were beginning to see the universe as a mechanical analog, built from atoms that kept causes close to effects (Kearney 1971). It was the clockwork philosophy of Galileo and many others that led to much of the technology we now take for granted, ultimately co-opting Newton’s ideas.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Let Me State the Obvious: Transhumanism is Really Influenced by the Drug War

pinklazer3You ever notice how supposedly smart people are often too dumb to realize that there are different kinds of intelligence. I mean, Jimi Hendrix probably wouldn’t be able to write code for shit, but he could play the hell out of a guitar. Last time I checked, Henry Miller isn’t a science legend and LeBron James isn’t a technological icon. I love that sermon that Jesus gave about organic chemistry. I’m pretty sure that’s the one that got him killed. Man, what’s at the movies this weekend? Yeah, a bunch of new films about how to make better computers, totally. I suppose the reason I mention this has to do with the fact that in the last week or so I’ve stumbled upon roughly 5 different articles by highly respected scientists informing me that computers are going be smarter than humans in the near future. Anytime anyone says something like this the appropriate response should be, what the fuck are you talking about?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Terasem: Rapture of the Nerds

TIME reports on the Terasem Movement, a transhumanist school of thought focused on promoting joy, diversity, and the prospect of technological immortality via mind uploading and geoethical nanotechnology:

In the backyard of a cottage here overlooking the water, two poles with metal slats shaped like ribcages jut out from the ground. They look indistinguishable from heat lamps or fancy light fixtures.

These are satellite dishes, but they aren’t for TV. They’re meant for dispatching “mindfiles,” the memories, thoughts and feelings of people who wish to create digital copies of themselves and fling them into space with the belief that they’ll eventually reach some benevolent alien species.

livehappily

Welcome to the future. Hope you don’t mind E.T. leafing through your diary.

The beach house and the backyard and the memory satellites are managed by 31-year-old Gabriel Rothblatt, a pastor of Terasem, a new sort of religion seeking answers to very old kinds of questions, all with an abiding faith in the transformative power of technology.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hell On Earth: Should Life Extension Technology Be Used to Punish Criminals?

Prometheus having his liver eaten by an eagle....

Prometheus having his liver eaten by an eagle. Painting by Jacob Jordaens, c. 1640, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That which is giving can be used to take away. What if life extension is used to punish? Should we punish the most heinous of villains for 100… 200… 300 years? What say you disinfonauts?

via aeon

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Hitler got off easy, given the scope and viciousness of his crimes. We might have moved beyond the Code of Hammurabi and ‘an eye for an eye’, but most of us still feel that a killer of millions deserves something sterner than a quick and painless suicide. But does anyone ever deserve hell?

That used to be a question for theologians, but in the age of human enhancement, a new set of thinkers is taking it up. As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia or longer.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Transhumanist Wants to Teach Kids That “Death Is Wrong”

Science Fiction League (March 1958) ... The Re...

Science Fiction League (March 1958) … The Real You (July 6, 2011 / 4 Tammuz 5771) … (Photo credit: marsmet541) (CC)

What do  you think disinfonaughts. Is death wrong, and should we teach the children that it is?

via Motherboard

Gennady Stolyarov is afraid to die, and not afraid to say so. He also strongly believes that human beings don’t have to die, or at least, will live much, much longer in the future. A writer and transhumanist activist, Stolyarov sees death as something that can be “solved” by technology and science, and one day it will possible to extend life indefinitely. To that end, he’s trying to buck the cultural perception that mortality is inevitable, and he’s starting with kids.

Stolyarov published the children’s book Death Is Wrong in November, and Zoltan Istvan, author of The Transhumanist Wager, unearthed the story in a post on Psychology Today

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Closing of the Scientific Mind

Pic: Repdan (CC)

Pic: Repdan (CC)

Yale Professor of Computer Science David Gelernter thinks that science as become an “international bully”. You may recall that Gelernter was severely injured after receiving a mail bomb from Ted Kaczynski. Wonder what an open dialogue between these two would have been like had Kaczynski chosen a more peaceable tactic for his activism?*

Via Commentary:

The huge cultural authority science has acquired over the past century imposes large duties on every scientist. Scientists have acquired the power to impress and intimidate every time they open their mouths, and it is their responsibility to keep this power in mind no matter what they say or do. Too many have forgotten their obligation to approach with due respect the scholarly, artistic, religious, humanistic work that has always been mankind’s main spiritual support. Scientists are (on average) no more likely to understand this work than the man in the street is to understand quantum physics.

Read the rest
Continue Reading