I’m sure when everyone watched Thomas Anderson become Neo and enter The Matrix 20 years ago, they never imagined that existing inside a virtual reality world could be possible, but is it closer to being a reality than we think?
Transhumanism (H+) is a world-wide philosophical movement that believes the future of humanity’s evolvement will involve technology to enhance mankind’s intellect, and physical capabilities. This could involve bio-engineering, digital or genetic engineering, to make us more effective, stronger or intelligent.
Posthumsnism involves potentially synthetic artificial intelligence, or using bio-mechanical augmentation to create cyborgs, which will mean humans and machine will be integrated, which could potentially put us in a position where we exist in a state beyond being human.
Whilst both Transhumanism and Posthumanism seem quite similar, many scholars will argue that they are drastically different, but I’m sure all can agree that the potential is limitless regarding the way technology has moved on in the last 50 years.
The question regarding the ethical side of both will be in question, but technology has advanced with prosthetic limbs rapidly in recent years, but will the day come when nerve endings are connected and brain functions will be able to control the limbs as well as biological limbs?
”Despite the development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of prosthetics, artificial limbs don’t yet offer the full functionality of biological ones. To address this challenge, scientists and engineers have been focusing on improving wearable technology with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence. Enter the notion of embodiment, where an external object is controlled by the brain as one’s real body part. This is crucial for better integrating artificial parts into the human body.” – Cordis
What got me thinking about this subject was Elon Musk, and his ever advancing companies and an article that grabbed my attention today. He is clearly one of the contenders to lead us into this kind of world with his intellect, desire to advance us as a species, and his teams of specialists.
One of Musk’s companies Neuralink plans to connect human brains to the internet with an allegedly simple medical procedure.
”Neuralink, a startup founded by Musk, says the devices can be used by those seeking a memory boost or by stroke victims, cancer patients, quadriplegics or others with congenital defects. The company says up to 10 units can be placed in a patient’s brain. The chips will connect to an iPhone app that the user can control. The devices will be installed by a robot built by the startup. Musk said the robot, when operated by a surgeon, will drill 2 millimeter holes in a person’s skull. The chip part of the device will plug the hole in the patient’s skull.” CNN
Musk has claimed that this is an attempt to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to bring a positive effect to the future of humanity.
The stream is available at Neuralink.
• What are your thoughts on the future of this?
• What do you think religious opposition will be like?
• Will some claim that humans are playing God?
• Is this just an obvious progression in human evolution using technology to advance us?
• Will future humans look back on us and see us as inferior, like many see Neanderthals as inferior?
At the moment there are certainly more questions than answers, but I can’t wait to hear more answers and I hope to live to see a day when Posthumanism and Transhumanism are viable, safe, and ethical ways to change lives for the better.
One final quote that I found quite interesting as a Humanist.
Transhumanism can be viewed as an extension of humanism, from which it is partially derived. Humanists believe that humans matter, that individuals matter. We might not be perfect, but we can make things better by promoting rational thinking, freedom, tolerance, democracy, and concern for our fellow human beings. Transhumanists agree with this but also emphasize what we have the potential to become. Just as we use rational means to improve the human condition and the external world, we can also use such means to improve ourselves, the human organism. In doing so, we are not limited to traditional humanistic methods, such as education and cultural development. We can also use technological means that will eventually enable us to move beyond what some would think of as “human”. What is Transhumanism?