Saturday, August 2, 2008

A More Detailed Explanation of Transhumanism

I suppose that I should give a better explanation of what Transhumanism is. Transhumanists believe that emerging technologies such as genetic engineering, cybernetics, and nanotechnology should be used to improve humanity, not just our quality of life as technology is typically designed to, but our bodies and minds as well. For example, it could be possible in just a couple decades to genetically engineer our children so that they lack the genes that cause hereditary diseases at the very least, in less than a century there could be new species derived from humanity. Cybernetics could be used to make artificial body parts with greater capabilities than biological ones, allow humans to interface with machines (like in The Matrix), create (hopefully benevolent) artificial intelligences, and possibly allow humans to upload their consciousnesses into machines and become immortal. Nanotechnology has already given us stronger materials with new properties and will likely result in molecular machines that can construct objects cheaply and easily and repair our bodies, potentially forever, not to mention the potential for a post-scarcity "Utopia" where resources are effectively unlimited and anyone can simply enter a command into their nanofabricator and make whatever they want. Though I personally believe that we will never achieve a truly Post-Scarcity Society as there is a limited amount of matter in the universe.

There are several currents within the Transhumanist movement itself with different ideas. Abolitionism believes in an obligation to end all involuntary suffering in all sentient life (for the record humans are unique in being Sapient, most animals are sentient). Democratic transhumanism is pretty self-explanatory. Extropianism is possibly the original form of transhumanism, it basically advocates taking a proactive approach to human evolution. Immortalism is a moral philosophy based on the belief that immortality is not only possible but desirable, of course most transhumanists want to live forever anyway. Libertarian transhumanists argue that the free market system is the best way to guarantee the "right to human enhancement, unfortunately many are anarchists. Postgenderism is a radical form of feminism (among other things) that seeks to eliminate gender distinctions in humanity, presumably by using genetic engineering to turn people into hermaphrodites or relying on cloning to reproduce. Singulatarians believe in an event known as the technological singularity, which involves the creation or evolution of superintelligences that will radically transform society to say the least, and seek to ensure that it happens. Technogaianism is the belief that emerging technologies can help restore Earth's environment, such as bioengineering bacteria to reduce the carbon levels in the atmosphere or using molecular nanotechnology to convert garbage into useful products. Transhumanists are mostly Atheistic or secular, though there are some liberal Buddhists and Christians. Politically transhumanists tend towards democratic socialism, Libertarianism, or Technocracy. Personally I am closest to being Extropian of any of the currents listed, I also hope to be around for several centuries at least, think that emerging technologies are the only way to solve all of our environments problems, and think that The Singularity will happen whether we want to or not.

For more about Transhumanism in general see this link: http://www.transhumanism.org/index.php/WTA/index/
For more about Transhumanism and politics see the following link: (Trans)humanism and Biopolitics

2 comments:

jeweler mom said...

You write: Postgenderism is a radical form of feminism (among other things) that seeks to eliminate gender distinctions in humanity, presumably by using genetic engineering to turn people into hermaphrodites or relying on cloning to reproduce.
As a feminist, I don't believe this is radical feminism at all. We don't wish to eliminate genders but attain equality - in society and in the work place. Many of us believe that the female is superior to the male but wish only that everyone appreciate and welcome our differences - not obliterate them altogether.

ZarPaulus said...

Postgenderists are those who think the best way to attain gender equality is to eliminate the issue altogether. Also it's not just feminism but masculinism, androgyny, metrosexual, and transgender movements that inspired Postgenderism but few people have heard of those.