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Are any of you folks trans-humanists?

From wikipedia
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The most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the current condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.
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I feel like we have to potential to someday transform ourselves from creatures of evolution to something else entirely.

I don't mean some sort of mystical mumbo jumbo, either. I mean through application of the scientific method. No transformation due to enlightenment, just a lot of science and hard work.

Ultimately anything is possible as long as it does not violate any physical laws.

arnies 7 Feb 8
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13 comments

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0

I'm way ahead of you as I am changing from a slim long brown haired slim young man into a fat hairy grey prune.

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I am a Science Fiction writer and this topic is fodder for the trade. I have no doubt that at some point in our future there will come a melding of biology and technology, but I do doubt that it is close at hand. We have been making baby steps in that direction for at least 50 years. The pace is quickening, but there are major areas wherein our knowledge is inadequate so we must allow the time for that to happen and there is no way to predict when that will occur.

I do not foresee a complete transfer of human intelligence into mechanical devices unless we can determine that mind (that part that makes us human) is not dependent upon its connection to and information from body. I suspect that mind (consciousness) is just that, the sum total of our being and not transferable to a mechanical state. Of course, evolution is a continuing process and who knows what may happen to us over the course of a few thousand years?

On the other hand, I have high hopes for AI. I prefer to call it Synthetic Intelligence because I don't see anything artificial about intelligence no matter where is resides. Even Machine Intelligence would be better than Artificial Intelligence, but I digress. AI and autonomous robotics are a large part of our future and I don't have the paranoid idea that it will supplant humans. Most likely, it will remain a symbiotic and productive relationship. This in spite of my current work detailing a battle for supremacy between humans and machines. Oh, and the humans are winning because of that thing we call consciousness and the ability to adaptively create new ideas with more nimbleness than the AI.

@VirginCotton -- Human mental capabilities are closely linked with that elusive thing we call consciousness and consciousness of the human type cannot be achieved without the body connection. One of the great failings of most who propose such things is that human consciousness is a specific thing and is limited to a human being. Cognitive capacity is something entirely different and I have no doubt AI will surpass the human capacity sometime in the next two or three centuries. Synthetic Intelligence I have no problem with. Synthetic Consciousness will never be the same as human consciousness.

As for living a thousand years or more, I have no doubt. Whether we do it genetically or through nanotechnology or a combination of both, the possibility for near to actual immortality is on the horizon. We will certainly achieve something very close to it in the next century.

I think the writing is on the wall for all faith based beliefs. There is always the possibility that there could be a reversal that would cost us most of what we have gained, but I don't think it is likely. I think all the gods and at least the majority of other superstitious nonsense will die a natural death before the end of the century. If they don't, I don't know if we will be able to survive ourselves much longer.

@VirginCotton -- Mind (consciousness) is the sum total of all impulses handled in the brain. I stub my toe. All that is associated with that enters the brain and is processed there. Subconscious processes are done in the gray stuff and is part of mind. That lovely young lady passing by triggers several things that the mind controls as well as the mental response. Hormonal releases are done through the brain at a level below/beyond consciousness that becomes part of consciousness once the proper triggers have been pulled. All of our bodily functions are part of the thing we call mind. All of this and an incredible number of other things are what come together to form mind. Machines can never have even a portion of that in spite of what people like to think. That is all part of the human propensity to anthropomorphise everything. It's one of the reasons why the majority of alien creatures in movies are so bad and so comical to me.

Cognition is separate in the sense that one may think about a math problem without calling any of the peripheral inputs into play. Granted, human cognition often involves one or more elements of mind, but as pointed out above, they do not maintain a control over the thinking process unless the thinking moves into areas where such elements are either helpful or necessary. While working out a field vector, I don't contemplate my last sexual arousal as a part of the process.

Yes, I was also responding to the notion of 'smearing' a chip with human DNA. The function of DNA is not something that can be reduced to an algorithm to duplicate biological elements involved in mind. The machine part of even a cyborg does not have biological processes, thus it cannot experience and process such things. All it can do is sense a signal and pass it on. This is not to say that machines might not develop some basic emotional properties, but they will be unique to the machine.

0

With crispr and primate cloning we are standing on the threshold. It's going to happen, legal permission or no. There's no putting this genie back in the bottle. It's coming. Brace yourself.

I've read a lot of science fiction so I'm just waiting...

0

Whatever we morph into... we are going to fuck it up.

0

Transformers, more than meets the eye.
Transformers, robots in disguise! 😉

Great, that little earworm will probably be interjecting itself into my thoughts all day!!

0

I define myself as one. I am sure we are on this path anyway and it will happen one way or another (if we do not destroy ourselves first of course).
To me mind and body are two separate things and in modern days we already have the ability to do or influence things far, far away from us without being physically present on site. It is matter of time until we fineld a way to exist and act without being physically present at all or produce vessels for our minds/selves (such as bodies or other avatars) on demand.
We will not live to see this day, but at some point it will happen.

2

Such an evolution would widen the great divide between the rich and the poor, with the latter being left in the dust, as it would take huge money to develop such technologies. I doubt capitalism is going away any time soon, so this is how it'll be monetized, as only the rich will be able to afford it.

We blame religion for perpetuating spiritual elitism. Technology such as suggested will introduce and perpetuate evolutionary elitism - akin to eugenics. An example is Elon Musk's project to send two commercial passengers to a lunar orbit. Can you imagine the fare - a million? Ten million? And the cost per pound for a carry-on? 😉 They better at least get a free bag of peanuts.

I agree that there are risks; and I am not certain we will survive long enough to overcome them as a species. That does not mean I don't think we should try however.

4

(And I kinda like the idea of a future where genetic adaption and implants are done in kiosks at the mall and teenage girls whine to their moms "but everyone else is getting chloroplast nails and mantis shrimp eyes!".)

LOL

3

I'm fascinated by the idea of consciousness transfer, personally.

Me too, but they'd first have to figure out what consciousness is. Good luck with that one!

@Hominid seems like a matrix model as far as I can tell.

1

You mean kind of like that old show "The Bionic Man"? Is there a way to make humans less selfish and aggressive? Those traits helped us when everyday was a survival test for individuals, but it might be our downfall as a species - nuclear war or global warming.

I think we probably need some selfishness and aggressiveness to survive still, but recognizing and treating sociopath and psychopaths would certainly help.

@arnies I suppose you are probably right. We need some but it is overly encouraged in society. For example, if you accept global warming is real and man made, it is unreasonable that we are not taking more drastic changes to combat it - considering the urgency. This, IMHO, is due to people not looking at the common good but rather their own short term interests...... Black, blah, blah..... Anyway, my main thought was about treating sociopaths. I'm a therapist and have worked with a few. I don't believe I've worked with any psychopaths. Working with sociopaths is hard in the sense it is hard to make actual changes in their personality disorders. The main reason I believe is because with therapy a client's motivation is key to any real improvement. I have tried different techniques to instill emphathy but so far no luck. Another quick note in my long winded response, I think the mental health field has gone too much towards the medical model, and not focusing enough on societal impacts on the individual. Decreasing sociopathic behavior, people, might be found in looking at it from a sociological perspective.

@VirginCotton It seems it's a mixture of genetics and environment. Kind of a cop out answer. Like addiction, if one has the genetic propensity for it then certain environmental conditions can trigger it. Such as bad parenting, social surroundings that reinforce criminal and aggressive behaviors. I don't know, it's hard to teach empathy, but maybe possible to get them to understand consequences....but then maybe they learn legal ways to be sociopaths. Hard to change personality

@VirginCotton Definitely believe bad parenting and criminal and aggressive behaviors can be learned, and that happens all the time. To be a sociopath one has to have an inability to feel remorse or empathy for others. I worked in a prison for a brief time and work with people on probation for various crimes. A lot of them have exhibited bad parenting and aggressive, and obviously, criminal behaviors. However, most of them exhibited an ability to have remorse and feel empathy. I only worked with a few who did not seem to have that in them. I remember one guy. He was telling me about when he shot his step-brother in the eye. I asked him if he felt bad about that. Long story, but he was pondering it and seemed confused that he didn't. He had been in and out of foster homes his whole life, and his dad was abusive and his mother was a drug addict.. I'm sure that his upbringing had a lot to do with it, but not everyone who has that childhood is going to be a sociopath. If that makes sense. Genetic research has also shown a strong correlation between certain genetic variances and anti-social (sociopathic) tendencies.
I mentioned the addiction part because I once read an article that made a lot of sense, in general, about the nature vs nurture debate. It stated everyone has a different predisposition level to alcoholism. For one person it may just take one drink, which I think is probably pretty unlikely. However, for someone else it might take drinking heavily everyday for years. With about everything, I think it is environment interacting with ones predisposition to whatever is being looked at. So there is my long winded response. Damn, texting on a small phone can hurt the thumb after awhile. Hope that clarifies my thoughts for you.

2

Absolutely! If I could increase my knowledge or abilities through technology, sign me up!

I'm interested in Elon Musk's Neuralink project, and also AI in general. Personally I think AI could become a threat to humanity but I think our best option may be to merge with it.

In a sense we are already merging with our technology and I think the trend will continue first with more wearable technology and eventually with better brain-machine interfaces.

I expect many people will resist technology at some point, because our genes evolved to prioritise and protect their own survival interests and I can't see them giving way to machines that will eventually replace those genes. Thus I expect to see some push back as our biology realises it needs to fight for its survival. Personally as I said I'm more open to merging biology with technology and even developing the tools to edit our genes. Imagine a day where removing a viral infection is done in software. I'm a software developer so the idea of programming DNA is pretty exciting to me.

Obviously there is much room for harm and misuse with every technology but hopefully as a species we will eventually learn how to get along in peace. That dream may be some way off yet unfortunately... Removing superstition is but one step along that road. I do wonder if technology can help us to reason better and thus become more morally balanced at the same time. Probably not in my lifetime but it's a question worth exploring I think.

5

Every living thing is a transitional species.

Evolution is unending.

4

Yes. We humans love to tinker with our own images and structures and bodies and adapt even the planet to our wants and needs.

I can easily see a future with implants that blur the line between human and cyborg and setting those up to be both replicating (under certain conditions) and even self-modifying. Humans have changed over the millennia but assuming we don't destroy ourselves first I think we will mutate ourselves far faster than ever before.

Ad astra!

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