I should probably go and register that domain now, shouldn’t I? If you were gonna make an algorithm for checking that transhuman-or-not status of the species, though, you might wanna refer to Kyle Munkittrick’s transhuman checklist, which consists of the following points:
- Prosthetics are Preferred
- Better Brains
- Artificial Assistance
- Amazing Average Age
- Responsible Reproduction
- My Body, My Choice
- Persons, not People
Munkittrick suggests that “[i]ndividually, each of these conditions are necessary but not sufficient for transhumanism to have been attained”; that jars slightly with my own comprehension of the term, which has always assumed that the “trans” in transhuman implies the transitional phase on the route to becoming posthuman, which is what I’d say we’d be once Kyle’s checklist is complete. Semantic carping aside, however, it’s a solid and non-sensationalist list, well worth a read.
Speaking of non-sensationalist pieces on transhumanism, here’s an unusually subdued post from Michael Anissimov which is either indicative of a massive change of outlook or a rhetorical gambit that has yet to be revealed as such: Why “Transhumanism” is Unnecessary. Having been following Anissimov for many years now, I suspect the latter is the case, but hey – this is the internet, and all bets are off.
One thought on “are-we-transhuman-yet.com”
I’m not an expert in transhumanism, but I found Kyle Munkittrick’s transhuman checklist to be excessively body-centric. In my view, we will actually become posthuman only if and when we will have the knowledge, capacity and will required to purposefully alter our *brains*. For instance, to take for the first time into our hands the control knobs of those instincts and emotional triggers that we inherited from our ancestors (all of them, starting with reptiles).
Many of the behaviours that are a consequence of such outdated brain structures/operating modes are, in fact, grossly unsuitable for civil life in our current, heavily anthropized environment (e.g.: xenophoby, tendency towards physical violence, excessive hierarchical tendencies).
When Munkittrick writes about “better brains” (point 2), he cites “cognitive enhancing drugs, genetic engineering, or neuro-implants/prosthetic cyberbrains”; I think, instead, that the term should be used in a more literal way. For a start, our brains need better capabilities to understand and manage complexity, to empathize with other people, to think before acting, and to evaluate the consequences of our decisions on the correct time scale.
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