What Is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism or H+ is a movement which spans the entirety of our world which works with the possibility and desirability of technologies which help us become more than our natural selves. This is to say, technologies which eliminate or slow aging, and augmentation of intellectual, physical, and psychological capabilities etc. The movement studies the benefits and dangers of new technologies that could at some point help overcome human limitations, as well as discuss the ethics behind the technologies.

While a large portion of transhumanists and transhumanist theories seek to improve quality of life through decreasing disease, disability, malnutrition etc. across the globe, transhumanism is distinctive in its want to improve human bodies on the individual level.

As the human brain, the central nervous system is considered the main proponent of humanhood, most transhumanist ideas pertain to the augmentation of the brain. These ideas can range from such things as improving mental capability in those who suffer from CNS impeding disorders, to the uploading of consciousness to an artificial, non-biological system. Other ideas put forward include genetic engineering of hereditary traits that augment mental capabilities, augment physical endurance, reducing susceptibility to disease or addictions, or to reduce the occurrence of miopia.

Technologies of interest range from nanotech, biotech, infotech, to cognitive science, artificial intelligence, cyonics, simulated reality, chemical brain preservation, and the list goes on and on. It goes almost without saying that such theories and ideas come with tough opposition. Some of the arguments against transhumanism are as follow:

  • Infeasability (Futurehype argument): This relies on the idea that many predictions about future technological capabilities have been vastly overestimated, and that this will indeed happen again. The technologies that many futurists and transhumanists want to develop and support are thought to never be feasible.
  • Hubris (Playing God argument): This is an argument that is a favourite of the Vatican, as it stated that, “Changing the genetic identity of man as a human person through the production of an infrahuman being is radically immoral”. This implies that it is highly inappropriate for humans to substitute themselves for a god.
  • Existential risks (Terminator argument): This argument states that in developing advanced nanotechnolgies such as self-replicating robots, and AI intelligence, humans would likely generate their own extinction. Once we create something that replicates and has its own intelligence, we soon lose control of it and it could overrun the ecosystem here on Earth.

There are many more aguments put forth against transhumanist ideas; too many to cover here. In summary, transhumanists support the advancement of many technologies which are thus far on the fringe of science, and they also exist as a pannel of advisors on the ethics of the technologies.

For extra reading I shall point you here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Image via http://pavelpodolyak.blogspot.co.nz

How will society react to babies grown in a Matrix like “amniotic fluid-filled aquarium”?

By Zoltan Istvan -

Of all the transhumanist technologies coming in the near future, one stands out that both fascinates and perplexes people. It’s called ectogenesis: raising a fetus outside the human body in an artificial womb.


Martine Rothblatt rocks the cover of “New York Magazine”

This week’s New York magazine’s cover story focuses on the extraordinary life of multimillionaire, Martine Rothblatt and her wife, Bina. Rothblatt, who is currently the CEO of United Therapeutics, and founder of Sirius Radio, transitioned from male to female back in the mid-1990s. According to Lisa Miller of New York Magazine:

Martine prefers not to limit herself to available words: She’s suggested using “Pn.,” for “person,” in place of “Mr.” and “Ms.,” and “spice” to mean husband or wife. But “trans” is a prefix she likes a lot, for it contains her self-image as an explorer who crosses barriers into strange new lands. (When she feels a connection to a new acquaintance, she says that she “transcends.”) And these days Martine sees herself less as transgender and more as what is known as transhumanist, a particular kind of futurist who believes that technology can liberate humans from the limits of their biology—including infertility, cancer, and disease, but also, incredibly, death.

Martine and her wife Bina have been together for over three decades, and Bina doesn’t seem preoccupied with labels herself.

“Bina Aspen, the woman who married Martine 33 years ago, when Martine was a man, and remains her devoted wife, calls herself not straight or gay but “Martine-sexual”—as in the only person she wants to have sex with is Martine.”

Why h+?

h+ or H+ is an abbreviation for the world Transhumanism. human plus, etc.

Transhumanism is the idea that we could evolve as humans by developing and growing technology to enhance ourselves, physically, psychologically and intellectually.

"Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies."

I think this is a interesting topic of futurology to study. The idea of improving the human body using technology, be it wearable technology or a process that a body will go through, is quite futuristic and makes me think of old sci-fi films. The wildest imaginings of even as late as 20 years ago are becoming a reality through every day new discoveries and breakthroughs.

I think to be able to figure out what a transhuman is, you need to know what a human is. If the term human is base-level instinctive caveman, then we probably became a transcendent level of human millions of years ago. I don’t think transhumanism is about people becoming cyborgs either, fun as that topic is.

On a Mission

That’s right. I’m on a mission. A mission to enrich my life.

Since having to leave college, I feel so disconnected from the world. I always enjoyed learning, hearing new things, forming opinions, etc. I learned so much in college, in just that one year, including important lessons in critical thinking. But then I left college because I could afford it. And then I started to feel it.

I wasn’t getting stimulation. Thanks to Tumblr, I kept a little line to interesting things, but it isn’t enough. I feel like I have do much to research and see, but I’m not actually doing it.

So now, I’m going to give a mission statement of sorts:

I want to include in my life more science, more politics, more reading, more research, more writing, more learning. I want to read and hear more to keep my brain functioning. I need things to think about.

Luckily, the internet can be good for this. I have a lot of material to read, and YouTube even has a lot of informational videos. I’ve already started subscribing to some great channels, especially ones with videos like TEDtalks (which I really enjoy!).

Besides just putting this all out there, I’m also asking for a little help. So to you, dear Tumblrverse inhabitants, I ask for suggestions. Do you know of any great channels on YouTube I could follow? Do you have a favorite website for enriching discussion and articles? Please, don’t hesitate to send me links (or names of websites in asks since you can’t do links). I would really appreciate it.

Now, off to get my learnin’ on.

P.S. If you’re seeing this in a tag feed and are wondering why it’s tagged with something that might seem irrelevant, it’s probably because it’s a tag of something I would like to “add” to my life. In other words, it’s a topic that interests me and therefore something I’d like to continue learning/reading about.

Most modern wearable technology is not transhumanist.

Smart watches, tech rings, and mobile-compatible arm/wrist bands might be aesthetically pleasing to those who like the stylized look of transhumanism, but they don’t really offer any benefits. They’re not so functional that they can entirely replace a smart phone, tablet, or equally versatile device. Sure, it makes us a “cyborg nation” in a sense, but it doesn’t really connect to transhumanism all that well. Transhumanism is about technological ways in which humans surpass previous limitations. Most of the tech watches and bands on the market are more trouble than they’re worth, even if they look like a techie’s dream.

Here’s an example: contacts could be considered a transhumanist improvement on glasses, because they give you eyesight improvement without having to wear anything bulky on your face. They integrate eyesight into a smaller device with exactly the same functions of glasses. They are less limiting than glasses.

iPhone armbands and smart watches give us a more compact device, but they lack many of the necessary and useful functions of a smart phone or tablet. They are not a transhumanist improvement because they are more limiting than a smart phone or tablet is. Overall, I’d say we don’t like them because they’re useful, but because we think they’re neat. Product advertisements try to convince us that they’re useful, but they really only can convince us that they’re compact.

This preference for technology that looks stylish over technology that actually benefits us is causing the inventor market to flood with more and more wearable technology that’s barely composed of more than a few buttons and an LED screen.