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Why Transhumanism?

Hoplite

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I've been asked why I identify as a Transhumanist Socialist and more specifically what that means specifically.

I'll try to lay it out as simply as I can.

Its clear to me that the old answers to tyranny are inadequate. What I ultimately want to see the establishment of the first posthuman civilization. Up to now, all free societies have started with one premise: human nature is cruel, unjust -- a force to be controlled. The separation of powers, of all ways throught time, are designed purely to stall the ambitions of individuals.

The solution is to address the flaws in human nature. Make all beings truly equal in both body and mind. If you start with minds that are lucid, knowledgable, and emotionally sound, the needs of government change dramatically. If government can account for the nuances of human behavior, thought, emotion, and desire then maybe it can truly consider itself an extension of the will of the people.

Through the use of advanced technology, you make possible the establishment of a true, universal, and pure democracy. Using a network of communication that links the mind of every individual to a central processing network. This network uses a synthetic intelligence to oversee the logistic and beurocratic functions of government. The network that links enhanced minds together will be linked to the synthetic intelligence such that it can have, at a moment's notice, the capability to poll the entire population about legislation or other issues.

The emerging technology also allows us to spread the influence of education to as many people as humanly possible, creating an educated and informed populace that is equipped to form sound opinions on a subject of government. Such a network of communication will also enable the instantaeous transmission of information to anyone anywhere in the world, allowing the near instant sharing of any knowlege. Through these means, we can ensure an educated populace and an equality that has never before been achieved.

There will be understandable unease about giving power to a synthetic intelligence, but all governments have power. The benefit of giving this power to a synthetic intellect is that human affairs would no longer need to be ruled by generalities. The intelligence will have a deep understanding of every person's life and opinions and will have the processing power need to generate solutions that will benefit as many people as possible.

This system will communicate, not assimilate, on a voluntary basis; no one will be spied on and communication can be severed at will. It must also be considered that such a "connected" populace will be extremely hard to dominate or control; there is strength in unity and in understanding.

"General ideas are no proof of the strength, but rather of the insufficiency of the human intellect." The words of Alexis de Tocqueville, an observer of the birth of modern democracy. Though general ideas allow human minds to make judgments quickly, they are necessarily incomplete. So de Tocqueville noted that an all-knowing mind -- the mind of God, as he conceived it -- would have no need for general ideas. It would understand every individual in detail and at a glance. Incomplete applications of law or justice would be impossible for such a mind.

I want human affairs to be driven by wisdom. But wisdom must first be human. You must start with what a human sees and feels. But wisdom must also be knowledgeable, logical, and fair to billions of other beings.

Some people see these emerging technologies as creating an inherent inequality or tampering with the human form in forbidden ways. To take that step is to go down the path of intolerance. Is human nature perfect? No. Therefore, improvements are to be welcomed, not annihilated with ancient taboos and fears. As enhanced beings, we can establish a pure democracy that runs on instantaneous input from the electorate. What system could be more equal than that? Under such conditions, we would have a clean slate to implement and experiment with any political system we wanted because we would have a population with the wisdom to not let emotions and selfish desires get in the way of the progress of the human race.

This may seem like science fiction to many people, but many things that we take for granted today were once considered science fiction and the exponential increase in our technology every day, even given our political burdens, shows that we CAN achieve these things. The biggest hurdle will be in accepting that this is the best of any possible reality we could ever reasonably expect.
 

Orion

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You have some great ideas, many of which I will address later, but something that caught my eye was your notion of engineering ourselves to be a race of equality. I have to ask you, what makes you think that humans truly, genuinely want equality? If anything, I would say efforts to create and maintain equality require a lot of energy and tend to be unstable institutions, and even in the presence of such institutions, those who hold the power are actively ensuring that people don't gain true equality. Why would people in power want equals? They are powerful!

Transhumanism would have to address the human thirst for power, and I don't see how that is possible when the fundamental building blocks of that system would be made by humans. IMO technology just tends to magnify all of the things we claim to be wishing to transcend beyond.
 

Hoplite

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You have some great ideas, many of which I will address later, but something that caught my eye was your notion of engineering ourselves to be a race of equality. I have to ask you, what makes you think that humans truly, genuinely want equality? If anything, I would say efforts to create and maintain equality require a lot of energy and tend to be unstable institutions, and even in the presence of such institutions, those who hold the power are actively ensuring that people don't gain true equality. Why would people in power want equals? They are powerful!

Transhumanism would have to address the human thirst for power, and I don't see how that is possible when the fundamental building blocks of that system would be made by humans. IMO technology just tends to magnify all of the things we claim to be wishing to transcend beyond.
Much of the human thirst for power comes from a society that values power, it comes from a hyper-competitive environment which is no longer necessary.

We have reached a point where competition is detrimental to us as a species on a macro level. Competing wastes resources in a struggle for power that never ends and whose negatives far outweigh any positives that may come of such a struggle. Cooperation is the only sane alternative and such understanding granted by advanced technology will help us see that.
 

Orion

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Much of the human thirst for power comes from a society that values power, it comes from a hyper-competitive environment which is no longer necessary.

We have reached a point where competition is detrimental to us as a species on a macro level. Competing wastes resources in a struggle for power that never ends and whose negatives far outweigh any positives that may come of such a struggle. Cooperation is the only sane alternative and such understanding granted by advanced technology will help us see that.

I agree that cooperation is key to survival at this point, but it is competition which has gotten us this far in the first place. Now, whether or not our point of arrival has been true "progress" is another story entirely. My point was, if transhumanism is the key to humans transcending all of their problematic traits, it would still be up to those in power to decide if they want to implement such a change or not. It would be hard to start modifying humans without government approval.

People in power never give up their power voluntarily, and often that is true even if there is a greater good that could be served. If you offered most powerful politicians a way towards a human utopia, free of violence, greed, envy, war, disease, and all of the things resulting from human problems, and all they had to do was become equal to everyone else for it to happen, most would never do it.

No, it would be a violent transition into transhumanism, as it has been in every other human era. That's my prediction anyway.
 

Hoplite

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I agree that cooperation is key to survival at this point, but it is competition which has gotten us this far in the first place.
Even the strongest fire will eventually burn itself out.

My point was, if transhumanism is the key to humans transcending all of their problematic traits, it would still be up to those in power to decide if they want to implement such a change or not. It would be hard to start modifying humans without government approval.
I agree, that is probably one of the most difficult hurdles but I dont see it as reason to stop or give up.

People in power never give up their power voluntarily, and often that is true even if there is a greater good that could be served. If you offered most powerful politicians a way towards a human utopia, free of violence, greed, envy, war, disease, and all of the things resulting from human problems, and all they had to do was become equal to everyone else for it to happen, most would never do it.
The advantage is not with the political elite. History has shown that a determined population can surmount extremely stiff odds to oust a government.

No, it would be a violent transition into transhumanism, as it has been in every other human era. That's my prediction anyway.
I would seriously hope not, as violence can quickly corrupt even the most noble of efforts. But...as much as I hate to say it...the benefits would seriously outweigh the costs.
 

tacomancer

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Excellent post. I find transhumanistic philosophies to be fascinating in general and I have sympathies in that area myself. I would probably be one if I didn't think Christianity was true. However, my one concern with the philosophy is that any technology that can be communicated with on a neural level can also be used to artificially influence thought and could lead to a level of oppression and influence that far exceeds what we have today.

However, given that, I tend to go more with the Ray Kurzweil ideas of us all eventually turning into pure software.
 

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OMG, are you serious?
I know- let's turn God into a computer.
This is one of those concepts that makes me glad I'm getting old.
 

ReverendHellh0und

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images
 

tacomancer

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On Star Trek, they are called Borg.;)

The essential difference with the borg though is that the system overcomes the individual. That's not what is being proposed, but it is a potential danger with that type of technology, if it ever gets invented.
 

MaggieD

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Through the use of advanced technology, you make possible the establishment of a true, universal, and pure democracy. Using a network of communication that links the mind of every individual to a central processing network. This network uses a synthetic intelligence to oversee the logistic and beurocratic functions of government. The network that links enhanced minds together will be linked to the synthetic intelligence such that it can have, at a moment's notice, the capability to poll the entire population about legislation or other issues.

Your position is well thought out, I'll give you that. A "pure democracy" is never going to happen, and it shouldn't. There is no way a general populace can know all the ins and outs of the complex issues our legislature deals with on a daily basis. There is no way that all of the information that needs to be known before casting an intelligent vote can be disseminated. John Q. Public is not intelligent enough nor interested enough to become well informed. And if he was, there wouldn't be anyone left to work for a living. There'd be no time.
 

Hoplite

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On Star Trek, they are called Borg.;)

Your position is well thought out, I'll give you that. A "pure democracy" is never going to happen, and it shouldn't. There is no way a general populace can know all the ins and outs of the complex issues our legislature deals with on a daily basis. There is no way that all of the information that needs to be known before casting an intelligent vote can be disseminated. John Q. Public is not intelligent enough nor interested enough to become well informed. And if he was, there wouldn't be anyone left to work for a living. There'd be no time.
You didnt read the OP, did you?
 

Ikari

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You know that no matter what you do or how much technology you use, people will always be assholes. To take away the basic acknowledgment of human nature doesn't mean you can start fresh on a new base and push forward. It just means that the proposed plan will in most likelihood not manifest itself as a practical system within an actual human society. Thus as it stands, I think while you have a good plan and perhaps noble ideals; they are unachievable in the real world. Humans are monkeys after all, you always have to keep that in mind.
 

rivrrat

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My first thought was The Matrix. My second was Borg. Neither of which are scenarios I wish to be involved in, in any way, shape, or form.

Secondly, we are not all equal, we never will be. And we shouldn't be. How ****ing boring would that be?
 

tacomancer

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My first thought was The Matrix. My second was Borg. Neither of which are scenarios I wish to be involved in, in any way, shape, or form.

Secondly, we are not all equal, we never will be. And we shouldn't be. How ****ing boring would that be?

Parts of us are not equal (some have better hearing than others) and some parts of us are (the value of our consciousness or soul if you want to call it that)
 

tacomancer

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Gipper

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Parts of us are not equal (some have better hearing than others) and some parts of us are (the value of our consciousness or soul if you want to call it that)

Not on an input/output basis.
 

Hoplite

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You know that no matter what you do or how much technology you use, people will always be assholes. To take away the basic acknowledgment of human nature doesn't mean you can start fresh on a new base and push forward. It just means that the proposed plan will in most likelihood not manifest itself as a practical system within an actual human society. Thus as it stands, I think while you have a good plan and perhaps noble ideals; they are unachievable in the real world. Humans are monkeys after all, you always have to keep that in mind.
Humans are assholes because we dont have a full understanding or acknowledgement of the consequences of our actions.

My first thought was The Matrix. My second was Borg. Neither of which are scenarios I wish to be involved in, in any way, shape, or form.
I'd urge you to avoid pop culture when thinking of this, as neither scenario is accurate.

Secondly, we are not all equal, we never will be. And we shouldn't be. How ****ing boring would that be?
No one is proposing a Harrison Bergeron scenario.
 

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Not on an input/output basis.

I don't think there is an input/output in regards to the soul or fundamental humanity since I fail to see how it relates any type of productive capacity.
 

Gipper

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Value of anything is based on input-output. Soul notwithstanding, there is definitely a static/indeterminate value you can place upon your consciousness and your volition to use it.

Unless you're talking on some deep metaphysical plane I'm too grounded to understand.
 

tacomancer

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that's just the mind. And our minds certainly aren't equal either.

I disagree. There is a functional aspect of the mind and you are right in that sense, different people have a different level of intelligence.

Than there is the value of consciousness itself.
 

rivrrat

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Humans are assholes because we dont have a full understanding or acknowledgement of the consequences of our actions.

I'd urge you to avoid pop culture when thinking of this, as neither scenario is accurate.
Neuro networking? **** that. No way, no how. I have no desire to be "connected" to everyone and have stuff extracted from and inserted into my mind.

No one is proposing a Harrison Bergeron scenario.
You are proposing true "equality", and that's impossible unless we're all carbon copies of each other.
 
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