Stephen Hawking on transhumanism

Tom James @ 03-07-2009

curved_lawnPhysicist Stephen Hawking has commented on transhumanism and the future direction of humanity:

Hawking says that we have entered a new phase of evolution. “At first, evolution proceeded by natural selection, from random mutations. This Darwinian phase, lasted about three and a half billion years, and produced us, beings who developed language, to exchange information.”

But what distinguishes us from our cave man ancestors is the knowledge that we have accumulated over the last ten thousand years, and particularly, Hawking points out, over the last three hundred.

“I think it is legitimate to take a broader view, and include externally transmitted information, as well as DNA, in the evolution of the human race,” Hawking said.

This point has echos of Jack Cohen and Ian Stewarts ideas of extelligence, Richard Dawkins‘ notion of the meme, and Kevin Kelly‘s concept of the Technium. What is special about humans is as much about what happens outside and between our minds as any other intrinsic properties of homo sapiens sapiens

[via George Dvorsky, from The Daily Galaxy][image from Peter Kaminski on flickr]