By David Ruben
April 22, 2013
How the war between good & evil is waged in the battlefield of the mind
While the constant ebb and flow of our attention is manipulated, the architects of tomorrow are reconstructing the foundations of our human existence.
Have you ever heard the word *Transhuman? It is a term that refers to an intermediary form between the natural human and the posthuman. The etymology of the term "transhuman" goes back to philosopher F. M. Esfandiary who, while teaching new concepts of the human at New School University in 1966, introduced it as shorthand for "transitional human." Calling transhumans the "earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings," FM argued that signs of transhumanity included protheses, plastic surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, mediated reproduction (such as in vitro fertilization), absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values. The term 'transhumanism' was coined by biologist Julian Huxley in 1957 who defined it as "man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature."
Transhumanism, however, was given its modern definition and characterization by philosopher Dr. Max More: "Transhumanism is a class of philosophies that seek to guide us towards a posthuman condition. Transhumanism differs from humanism in recognizing and anticipating the radical alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and technologies […]." Dr. Anders Sandberg has described modern transhumanism as "the philosophy that we can and should develop to higher levels, physically, mentally and socially using rational methods," while Dr. Robin Hanson as "the idea that new technologies are likely to change the world so much in the next century or two that our descendants will in many ways no longer be 'human'."
Summarizing transhumanist literature, transhumanism is as follows:
Advocacy of improvement to the human condition through enhancement technologies, such as eliminating aging and expanding intellectual, physical or physiological capacities. Transhumanists generally support emerging technologies, including many that are controversial, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science; as well as hypothetical future technologies such as artificial intelligence, mind uploading and cryonics. Since some observers believe the pace of technological development is steadily increasing, many transhumanist thinkers speculate that the next 50 years will yield remarkable and radical technological advancements. Transhumanism maintains that this is desirable and that humans can and should become more than human through the application of technological innovations such as genetic engineering, molecular nanotechnology, neuropharmaceuticals, prosthetic enhancements, and mind-machine interfaces. Derived in part from the philosophical traditions of secular humanism, transhumanism asserts that humans should be viewed as the "center" of the moral universe, and that there are no 'supernatural' forces that guide humanity.
Currents within transhumanism
Anarcho-transhumanism. A political philosophy synthesizing
anarchism and transhumanism.
• Cosmism. A moral philosophy based upon the belief that artificially intelligent life and its colonization of space is possible and desirable, advocating deliberate action to ensure its development.
• Democratic transhumanism. A political philosophy synthesizing liberal democracy, social democracy and transhumanism.
• Extropianism. A strand of transhumanism characterized by a set of principles regarding extropy. A political philosophy synthesizing moderate libertarianism and transhumanism.
• Hedonistic imperative. A moral philosophy based upon the belief in the necessity of using technology to eliminate suffering in all sentient life.
• Posthumanism. A philosophy that seeks to transcend the principles of Renaissance humanism to correspond more closely to the 21st century's ideas of scientific knowledge.
• Prometheism. A religious philosophy synthesizing cosmotheism and transhumanism.
• Singularitarianism. A moral philosophy based upon the belief that a technological singularity is possible, advocating deliberate action to effect and ensure its safety.
• Transhumanist socialism. A political philosophy synthesizing socialism and transhumanism.
The Posthuman Manifesto: General Statements
To understand how the world is changing is to change the world
It is now clear that humans are no longer the most important things
in the universe. This is something the humanists have yet to accept.
2. All technological progress of human society is geared towards the transformation of the human species as we currently know it.
3. In the posthuman era many beliefs become redundant — not least the belief in human beings.
4. Human beings, like gods, only exist inasmuch as we believe them to exist.
5. The future never arrives.
6. All humans are not born equal, but it is too dangerous not to pretend that they are.
7. In the posthuman era, machines will no longer be machines.
8. It is a deficiency of humans that they require others to tell them what they already know. It is only then they will believe it.
9. Posthumanists do not fall into the trap of imagining a society where everything works well. Economic and political theories are as futile as long-range weather predictions.
10. Surf or die. You can’t control a wave, but you can ride it.
11. We now realise that human knowledge, creativity and intelligence are ultimately limited.
12. Complex machines are an emerging form of life.
13. A complex machine is a machine whose workings we do not fully understand or control.
14. As computers develop to be more like humans, so humans develop to like computers more.
15. If we can think of machines then machines can think; if we can think of machines that think, then machines can think of us.
This story was published in The Australian, April 07, 2005 Sony patents 'real life Matrix': The Japanese entertainment giant Sony has patented an idea for transmitting data directly into the brain, with the goal of enabling a person to see movies and play video games in which they smell, taste and perhaps even feel things, it was reported today. The patent - based only on a theory, not on any invention - marks the first step towards a "real-life Matrix," New Scientist says in next Saturday's issue. In the sci-fi film of that name, cyber-reality is projected into the brains of people via an electrode feed at the back of their necks. In Sony's patent, the technique would be entirely non-invasive - it would not use brain implants or other surgery to manipulate the brain.
The patent has few details, describing only a device that would fire pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify the firing patterns of neurons in targeted parts of the brain. The aim, it says, is to create "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds. New Scientist said it was denied an interview with the inventor, who is based at a Sony office in San Diego, California. Sony Electronics spokeswoman Elizabeth Boukis said the work was a "prophetic invention" and no experiments at all had been done on it. "It was based on an inspiration that this may someday be the direction that technology will take us," she told New Scientist. And you thought it was only a movie!
© 2013 David Ruben - All Rights Reserved
David Ruben is Senior Executive Producer, and Team Leader at the creative boiler room for the Audio Taskforce at Talk Radio Network (the 2nd largest distributor of Talk programming in America). Over the past 4 years David has won 3 LA Comedy Awards in the voice/production category. David has produced some of the most successful nationally syndicated radio personalities such as Michael Savage, The Jerry Doyle Show and The Rusty Humphries Show to name just a few.