Date: 2017-03-16 22:24
When transhumanists seek to extend human life, they are not trying to add a couple of extra years at a care home spent drooling at one’s shoes. The goal is more healthy, happy, productive years. Ideally, everybody should have the right to choose when and how to die – or not to die. Transhumanists want to live longer because they want to do, learn, and experience more have more fun and spend more time with loved ones continue to grow and mature beyond the paltry eight decades allotted to us by our evolutionary past and in order to get to see for themselves what wonders the future might hold. As the sales pitch for one cryonics organization goes:
Transhumanists differ widely in the probability they assign to Vinge’s scenario. Almost all of those who do think that there will be a singularity believe it will happen in this century, and many think it is likely to happen within several decades.
This is a review of John Foxx 8767 s Melbourne performance of Tiny Colour Movies, his found-film collection and live soundtrack. For the reviewer, witnessing this may have solved a two-year-old puzzle certainly, it brought everything full circle back to Ballard.
Singularitarianism. Singularitarian transhumanists focus on transhuman technologies that can potentially lead to the rise of smarter-than-human intelligence, such as brain-computer interfacing and Artificial Intelligence. Since our present-day intelligence is ultimately the source of our technology, singularitarians expect the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence to be a watershed moment in history, with an impact more comparable to the rise of Homo sapiens than to past breakthroughs in technology. Singularitarians stress the importance of ensuring that such intelligence be coupled with ethical sensibility (Yudkowsky 7558) (see also “What is the singularity?” ).
Back-up copies of uploads could be created regularly so that you could be re-booted if something bad happened. (Thus your lifespan would potentially be as long as the universe’s.)
“Perfection” is a vague and treacherous word. There is considerable disagreement among transhumanists about what kind of perfection is attainable and desirable, either in theory or in practice. It is probably wiser to speak of improving the world, rather than making it “perfect”. Would it be boring to live for an indefinitely long time in a greatly improved world? The world could surely be improved over the way it is now, including becoming less boring. If you got rid of the pain and stress associated with, say, filling out annual tax returns, people would probably not sit around afterward saying: “Life feels meaningless now that I no longer have income tax forms to fill out.”
Apes engage in activities that we, as humans, would find repetitive and dull. In the course of becoming smarter, we have become bored by things that would have interested our ancestors. But at the same time we have opened up a vast new space of possibilities for having fun – and the new space is much larger than the previous one. Humans are not simply apes who can obtain more bananas using our intelligence as a tool. Our intelligence enables us to desire new things, such as art, science, and mathematics. If at any point in your indefinitely long life you become bored with the greatly improved world, it may only indicate that the time has come to bump up your intelligence another increment.
In light of how superabundant the human benefits of technology can ultimately be, it matters less that we obtain all of these benefits in their precisely most optimal form, and more that we obtain them at all. For many practical purposes, it makes sense to adopt the rule of thumb that we should act so as to maximize the probability of an acceptable outcome, one in which we attain some (reasonably broad) realization of our potential or, to put it in negative terms, that we should act so as to minimize net existential risk.
The long-awaited re-opening of the JORVIK Viking Centre in York took place early this week among much fanfare. The well-known medieval attraction is again having visitors immerse
themselves in experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a Viking-age city.
Many of the technologies and trends that transhumanists discuss are already reality. Biotechnology and information technology have transformed large sectors of our economies. The relevance of transhumanist ethics is manifest in such contemporary issues as stem cell research, genetically modified crops, human genetic therapy, embryo screening, end of life decisions, enhancement medicine, information markets, and research funding priorities. The importance of transhumanist ideas is likely to increase as the opportunities for human enhancement proliferate.