Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Transhumanism Rising

I've always been ahead of my time, it's a curse. The transhumanists I met and wrote about in my book are going mainstream with an online magazine - H +. Transhumanists believe in the technological transcendence of our biological limitations, most obviously the limitation of life span. The death of more than 100,000 people a day is, they say, a catastrophe that will, soon, be preventable. Thinkers like Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben have attacked this idea, arguing, in essence, that death is an essential aspect of our humanity. For transhumanism's response to this see Joe Quirk's heavy irony on page 41 of H+. What I like about transhumanists is their naked, unapologetic radicalism. Like Mustapha Mond debating with the Savage in Brave New World, they simply ask, what's so great about human life as it now is? If, for example, human immortality makes all your art meaningless, so be it, Shakespeare was all predicated on suffering we no longer have to endure. What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body. Also their technophilia is oppressive and naive. Much of the magazine is just gadgetry with attitude. And this is Dave Pearce (page 14): 'For a very different kind of selection pressure is at work when evolution is no longer 'blind' and 'random', ie when rational agents design the genetic makeup of their future offspring in anticipation of its likely effects. In that sense, we're heading for a post-Darwinian transition - ultimately to some form of paradise-engineering.'  In the midst of the current crisis, the idea of humans engineering paradise seems more risible than ever. (Or perhaps we can simply engineer out the gene set that created credit default swaps.) In spite of which, transhumanism is a coming thing, a future faith. It's time to burnish your best pro-death arguments.

75 comments:

  1. so, do they still procreate? Is the place is going to get filled up with old folk moaning about the weather and the local bus service?!

    I'm not really interested - these people sound insane. now, if they could solve the problems of time travel, I'd back 'em!

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  2. Note that transhumanists not only support indefinite life extension, but also full self-ownership of one's mind. In other words, once the option is available people will be able to tweak their mind to a fresher outlook on self and reality. And of course if one becomes really bored with everything one can always choose extinction - but we want more options open to everyone.
    http://cosmeng.org/index.php/Giulio_Prisco

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  3. Oh well. The longer you live the more you'll suffer and the more you suffer the more you'll whinge and the more you whinge the greater the chance that you'll score a truly awful incarnation in your next life. A three-legged rat, perhaps, which wants everyone to feel sorry for it but which is so disgusting it is shunned even by mangy rats with two and a half legs. So it's probably best just to crack on as is. More chance of coming back fairly compos mentis and enjoying the whole bonkers parade all over again. Why worry? A living death is far more tiresome than dying.

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  4. If they are right then buying shares in Shearings Buses will be a smart move. Very worrying though, instead of Prescott and Mandelson's (hoped for) early demise the bastards would be with us for ever.

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  5. It was hearing Bryan going on about this on Start the Week a few years ago, and then buying the book, that led me to this fine blog... and in that time I've pondered this subject in many a quiet moment - you know, while standing at luggage retrieval, watching BBC Breakfast, filling the car with diesel and so on - still without successfully making my mind up about whether transhuman immortality would be a Good Thing.

    I completely accept all the points about death making humans what they are in cultural terms, and the self-boredom argument is a biggie. But then the optimist in me says that immortal humans would probably find other ways of filling the poetic gaps - humans are very good at adapting.

    And then there's the matter of oblivion. I don't have a Larkin-like dread of it, but when I come to consider all the possible ways of reaching it – cancer, heart disease etc - I find I'm not at all keen on them and therefore not at all averse to the discovery of miracle cures. Strokes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and anything slow, humiliating and painful are all also distinctly unappealing.

    I therefore find myself arriving at transhumanist immortality as the best option by default. The only acceptable clog-popping methods seem to be the swift, unexpected violent ones – and presumably even the transhumanists will never be able to eliminate those.

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  6. Tell me about it, Gordon. 130p a bloody litre the other week.

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  7. It should be possible to run a car on human beings, if you can genetically engineer people who can be crammed into your gas tank, ignited for fuel value, then reconstituted once spewed forth from the exhaust, a little dazed to be sure, but none the worse for the experience.

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  8. Those transhumanists should read "Tithonus." Anyway, if I were to write a story about people suddenly being able to live forever, it would involve a lot of suicides. People think they want it, but really they don't. The fear is of old age and suffering, not death per se.

    At the moment I am happily alive because John Updike has me laughing so hard: I'm reading his latest, "The Widows of Eastwick." His riffs on senior citizen travelers, Asian tourists, and Canada/Canadians are politically incorrect in the most refreshing and funny way. Unless he does something very strange with his narrative in the last hundred pages, I'm going to be lauding this one (and wondering if the luscious witches will reprise their roles as 'widows of a certain age' in the certain-to-follow movie).

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  9. Re "People think they want it, but really they don't."

    Susan, please! Don't tell me what I want - I know what I want. I would never tell you what should want. It is called freedom.

    There would be _some_ suicides, but I don't think that many. If a person chooses extinction, others should ultimately respect her choice. Freedom again.

    Re "death making humans what they are in cultural terms"

    So what? Wheelchairs make wheelchair users what they are in cultural terms, but this does not mean that we should not try to make them able to walk again (ask any wheelchair user).

    Re "the swift, unexpected violent ones – and presumably even the transhumanists will never be able to eliminate those"

    Don't be so sure brit, we will back up your personality and memories to a supermega USB drive and reload them to a fresh brain ;-)

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  10. Thinkers like Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben have attacked this idea, arguing, in essence, that death is an essential aspect of our humanity.

    It is until it isn't. That's why its called Trans-humanism.

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  11. Children complain about boredom a lot. If an 8-year-old says he feels bored, does that signal he has already lived too long and would do better to die?

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  12. Don't be so sure brit, we will back up your personality and memories to a supermega USB drive and reload them to a fresh brain ;-)

    How would that benefit me? I've never understood why that's an argument for 'immortality'.

    That new brain with my memories wouldn't be me, it would be somebody else with my memories. I would be dead and completely unaware of this strange new person.

    Surely a simple thought experiment shows this: you could create the new brain while I was still alive. 'I' would not exist in two places at once - there would be me, and somebody else.

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  13. Richard Dawkins wrote an essay with exactly that premise, Brit. My daughter read it a month or two ago for her philosophy class.

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  14. Funnily enough i just started rereading Paradiso this morning and came acros, in Canto I, what is i think the etymological root of 'transhumanism', Dante's coinage 'trasumanar' - to pass beyond the human.

    There's quite a difference between ascending the ordinarily human, as Dante's narrator does, and making yourself into a machine. The former takes the divine as a point of reference so the individual has a destination - God (in Dante's poem, to perceive God). The latter has no point of reference outside of the human so it's more a case of being an altered human being than any radical transformation; there is no external from which to judge matters, so it tends to sound a bit silly, all this genetic ballyhoo. How can you judge what is best except using your all-too human reason? You never escape your own gravity.

    The ideal of secular transhumanists is, to quote the Matrix: "only human".

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  15. Interesting that Shakespeare came up.

    "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."

    Immortality can't save you from Hamlet, I'm afraid. Death may not be necessary, but mortality will still be a fact, a possibility. It is within that prospect of death, the act of negation, that the psyche can free itself.

    Death may not be so democratic in the future, but Hamlet shows us something worse than death: existential guilt. He also offers us something better than immortality: an ecstasy that exceeds the childish binary of the pleasure principle. "There's the respect that makes calamity of so long life." Being is much harder than dying.

    The trans-humanists of H+ would do better to call themselves hyper-hedonists. Paradise-engineering boils down to a world without consequence, guilt, agency or action. Unbound appetite and aggression is another kind of death, btw. But if I'm hearing the trans-humanists correctly, we won't have any poetry in the future to know it.

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  16. Brit: I think I am the information encoded in my brain (memories, personality, temperament etc.). Why? Simply because I do not see what else I might be.

    A simple answer to your thought experiment is, in my opinion, that there would be two diverging copies of a previously unique consciousness stream. Each would be entitled to think of self as "I" and be a valid continuation of the original.

    Try this thought experiment: you go to sleep tonight. How can you be sure that the person who wakes up tomorrow is you? Note that strictly speaking it is _not_ you: cells gone, new cells formed, neurone dead, memories lost, new memories from dreams... But you know it is you, by experience: tomorrow's copy is similar enough to the original to make it acceptable to both as a new you.

    A simple definition: a future self is a valid continuation of a previous self if both the previous self and the future self are able and willing to accept the future self as a valid continuation of the previous self.

    Karl (hedonism): So what? If a hedonist is someone who prefers happiness to unhappiness, for himself and others, then I am certainly an hedonist. Of course one can never avoid occasional unhappiness, but it seems to me that trying to be happy is what we humans (should) do. A way to be happier is having more options to choose from and more agency and control over our environment. So we keep trying to make things better: more knowledge, more options, more happiness. THIS is the essence of humanity, not disease and death.

    By teh way the article on Humanity+ that I enjoyed more is Quirk's article on page 41. It is great.

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  17. So far, at least, I haven't heard transhumanists insisting they would force immortality on anyone, even if they didn't want it.

    I didn't know it was so threatening, to so many people, that some *other* people would just as soon be "free from death."

    Is it that you're afraid you'll miss something (being dead) that they won't?

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  18. Damien BroderickOctober 22, 2008 4:14 pm

    It's time to burnish your best pro-death arguments.

    Hey, didn't Auschwitz already make that argument about as convincingly as it can be made?

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  19. I don't see any particular problem with wanting to extend human life expectancy, and/or extend our "prime of life" so we can enjoy the time we have a little better, without so many of the little ailments and inconveniences. I think the notion that immortality would render are meaningless is a prima facie rebuttable presumption.
    Did our lives become less meaningful than our predecessors, simply because our life expectancy went from 50-something to 80-something? If they went from 80-something to 100-something, would this diminish us as a species?
    I do think it would be a radical transformation of culture, and there would be unintended consequences (much lower birth rates, for one).

    I just don't want the transhumanists in charge of any of this stuff.

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  20. My comments -

    "...they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body..."

    - and so what if I do not have a personal empathy with this conception? I have personally experienced completely arbitrary happyness (both synthetic drug induced, and the result of good periods in my life) as well as completely arbitrary (contingent?) misery and ennui, the result of either cluster headaches or otherwise.

    So what if I have a personal conviction that emotions, attitudes, humors, experiences are subject to engineering, without any such engineering causing me "to lose my soul" (or my khaibit, or my shuluputto, or whatever), nor my free will, sapience, or my consciousness (or whatever).

    In other words - if I feel like shit I take a pill. If I feel unliftably old and tired and worn after the centuries have borne down upon my faculties, I'll always be free to engineer nothingness, but bloody well not before I had to chance to experience that for myself, thank you very much.

    "...Also their technophilia is oppressive and naive"

    - And so what? If me being part of a small, quaint and ecclectic subculture is somehow a reason for like likes of Homer Simpson to scorn aspects of my personal choices so be it. I do so all the time about whole demographies, "scorning and shit". But if you go and act upon your prejudices, and (for instance) heap all transhumanists on a single indifferentiated pile, then we have a wholly new ball game, Bryan !

    Until I provide evidence, to the (largely apathic) layperson my transhumanism is (naievely equivalent to) a religious persuasion. Transhumanism being a fringe persuasion is by itself no extra argument either way.

    I can not provide any evidence of many of the assumptions I make and expectations I cherish. If I make a statement I might very well live or exist or persist in some material form or variant of my current self, that's all in the comforting parenthesis of being agreedly speculative.

    But even you do realize that sooner rather than later many transhumansist will say "toldyouso" and act all smug and selfrighteous about a HUGE list of issues.

    Until then Bryan!....

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  21. "If, for example, human immortality makes all your art meaningless, so be it"

    First, Immortality - any practical kind of immortality, at least - does not mean a lack of death, or a lack of knowledge of the tragedy of death. 'Immortal' people will still die, of accidents, of murder, of the occasional disease that our technology hasn't yet conquered, and of suicide. What it will mean is that most people won't have to die involuntarily and tragically early, as happens now.

    Secondly, all art is not based on the phenomenon of death. I'd say very little of it is, and even if it was, why would any such death-based meaning be lost on someone who is not subject to it's subject matter? We aren't subject to the conditions under which Bach's music or Vermeer's paintings were created, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate them, or that they somehow have lost all meaning. The idea that immortal humans will cease to appreciate Shakespeare is laughably naive.

    Thirdly, please excuse me if I assert that the meaning of a piece of art is up to me to decide. I actually do think that some art is meaningless, but that doesn't mean that I think it shouldn't exist or can't be appreciated by some people.

    Fourthly, even if this was true, would it really be an argument against trying to eliminate suffering and death? Seriously? I think only a complete psychopath could say yes.


    "What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body"

    I think that transhumanists understand these sorts of arguments only too well. Well enough to understand that they are simply not good reasons for continuing to accept death and suffering on a massive scale. Will 'the soul grow tired of inhabiting the body'? Inasmuch as that question has any meaning at all, I for one want the chance to find out! Most of these 'arguments' against life-extension either boil down to a 'yuck-factor' reaction, or are equivalent to the old joke about the guy who refuses to give a man a light, on the grounds that they might get talking, become friends, and eventually the guy's daughter will get pregnant by his new friend, who will then run off. In other words, such a weak argument as to be no argument at all.

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  22. I have a question. If the deathless future transhumanism envisions is destructive to our essential humanity, a false, even dangerous paradise...then isn't the afterlife of every religion that promises eternity in some sort of heaven also equally destructive? Okay...heaven isn't exactly something we know to be a fact, but then neither are the immortality schemes of the transhumanists. So you're basically criticizing an idea. Fine. But it's not the only idea of what immortality looks like out there, and by this standard they're all destructive. Heaven is really hell it seems. And hell is...well...hell too. So we should all be praying for oblivion instead of eternal life.

    I work in IT. I've earned a little skepticism when it comes to the promises people who live in this world make regarding what their technology can actually do. As Yogi Berra once said, "In theory practice is the same as theory and in practice it's different." I really can't imagine people are arguing about what is essentially vaporware with such intensity. So transhumanists think they have a roadmap to human immortality. Swell. So do a lot of other people. Just different ones.

    It looks to me that the main offense of transhumanism, judging from its critics, is it takes the immortality promise many religions hold out to their followers, and updates it to the 21st century. So instead of drinking the blood of Christ now we load our brains into computers. Or whatever. But if a finite lifespan is an essential part of what it is to be a human being, then it looks to me like your problem isn't just with the transhumanists, but also Christianity too, and any other belief system that tells us that seeking immortality is better then accepting and living with death. Why do they bother you more then the others? Or do they?

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  23. Re "I just don't want the transhumanists in charge of any of this stuff"

    Don't worry Mike - as a transhumanist, i want to be in charge of _my_ life, not of others' life. Actually I think nobody should be "in charge" but, in this like in so many other areas, societies should leave people free to make their own choices and only intervene when someone's choices harm others.

    http://cosmeng.org/index.php/Giulio_Prisco

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  24. Good point Bruce.

    Also, I can think of many things that constitute an essential part of what it is to be a human being: curiosity for reality, love for others, kindness, appreciation of beauty and art... but not our current finite lifespan.

    I consider our finite lifespan not as an essential part of what it is to be a human being, but as an incidental part of the current evolutionary phase of our species. When our lifespan will be indefinite, we will have _more_ options to practice curiosity, love, kindness, art and other essential parts of our humanity.

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  25. Philippe Van NederveldeOctober 22, 2008 5:32 pm

    Live and let live. If you really want your biology to decide for you when, where and how you will cease to exist and let your body become worm-fodder, no transhumanist will coerce you to do otherwise.

    If a transhumanist prefers to stick around for as long as s/he finds this universe and his self engaging, give him her the same lattitude and don't get in the way.

    Note that hardcore transhumanists don't use the word "immortality" because they find it technically inaccurate. At best, foreseeable technologies would only yield "indefinite longevity" or "extreme life-extension". One would remain susceptible to death by murder, suicide or a big accident.

    Besides, in keeping with transhumanists' interest in more *options*, they definitely wish to keep the option of death and/or its near-equivalent: an extremely long pause. But -barring murders and (really) big accidents- those would then be their deliberate choices, not something they are subjected to.

    Don't forget that at its heart and for the near term of the coming decades, Transhumanism is a liberation-focused worldview.

    Aging, terminal diseases and the death they visit upon us are understood as unelected, blindly and brutally coercive tyrants.

    As long as they don't know any better, many humans resign themselves to tyrannical yokes. But sooner or later, given half a chance, most humans will no longer accept to be sat upon, cowering and quivering... and depose the tyrants.

    Tranhumanists are humans understanding that technology will soon be giving us this half chance... and are running with it.

    Transhumanists seek to be(come) the sovereign rulers of their own bodies, minds, identities.

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  26. Giulio:

    Try this thought experiment: you go to sleep tonight. How can you be sure that the person who wakes up tomorrow is you? Note that strictly speaking it is _not_ you: cells gone, new cells formed, neurone dead, memories lost, new memories from dreams... But you know it is you, by experience: tomorrow's copy is similar enough to the original to make it acceptable to both as a new you.

    You're mixing two separate things in there:

    1) an argument from Cartesian scepticism about 'how do I know I existed yesterday?' - which doesn't help your position any more than it does mine.

    and 2) a 'grandad's axe'-type paradox about the nature of identity, which is answerable once you accept that every thing that exists goes through a flow of changes.

    Your definition of a self looks ok on the surface, but doesn't address my thought experiment. I'm talking about identity at the fundamental level of 1+1 does not equal 1.

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  27. The whole idea of some sort of singular transition to "transhuman" seems weird to me ... wouldn't our present society already be "transhuman" to people living 400 years ago? Our life cycle is already completely foreign and unnatural; no one dies of pnuemonia, death during childbirth (of either mother or child) is uncommon, we don't even consider ourselves sexually mature until we're nearly 20, and people generally plan to live past the age of 80. Contrivance to artificially extend our lives far beyond our design specification is part and parcel with modern living. While the idea of identifying yourself as a "tranhumanist" sounds pretty stupid to me, it seems to me as though we're already there. The human lifecycle is, right now, completely different than at any other point in history. We'll continue to extend lifetimes for longer and longer, of course, but death is already remarkably rare.

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  28. Thanks for this appropriately skeptical take on H+, which is part of a rebranding effort I discussed here: http://www.biopoliticaltimes.org/article.php?id=4318. Note that the Editor, RU Sirius, admits that almost no one even knows about "transhumanism" despite years of efforts to promote it. CGS (http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/) has been documenting these attempts for years. You are absolutely right to connect these risible fantasies to the socio-economic environment: They are holdovers from the pernicious optimism of the late 20th century.

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  29. Re "I'm talking about identity at the fundamental level of 1+1 does not equal 1"

    Brit, if you insist on perfect bit-by-bit identity, then the conclusion that tomorrow's you is not the same person as today's you is inescapable. But we know that identity survives sleeping.

    As you say, every thing that exists goes through a flow of changes, and any definition of identity compatible with our intuitive understanding must be robust enough to survive a certain degree of change.

    So we come to the notion that core identity is preserved if after a change you are still "similar enough" to a previous you. This permits proving that tomorrow's you is still the same person - but it also permit proving that you _may_ be still the same person after mind uploading if enough info is preserved.

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  30. I'm not insisting on bit-by-bit identity when I say 1+1 does not equal 1, I'm saying that if you make a perfect replica of me with my memories while I'm still alive, I'm still me and the replica is him.

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  31. "What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body"


    What we call being "bored" is often a form of masked depression. In principle, biotechnology can abolish the molecular substrates of tedium (and depression) altogether. In theory, we could make boredom of any kind physiologically impossible, whether we live for 70 years or 70,000 years.

    Intuitively, one might suppose that the (hypothetical) abolition of boredom would entail creating a lack of discernment and critical self-insight. Maybe. But I think this worry is misplaced. So long as "informational sensitivity" is retained - i.e. so long as we find some things even more fascinating than others - then every day of our quasi-immortal lives caould be rich and exhilarating. Critical insight can be retained (and deepened) even if our lives across the millennia are saturated with a sense of meaning and purpose that isn't physiologically possible today.

    Are there pitfalls here? Yes. But I think it's important to recognize that boredom, like aging, has a biological basis - and a biological cure.

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  32. "In the midst of the current crisis, the idea of humans engineering paradise seems more risible than ever." - Well, the point being made is that there will not just be one paradise, but many. Some will fail - let the best paradise win. That's the core of the new evolution.

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  33. We so seldom talk about the fact that these wondrous benefits will be made available only to a very privileged few. What happens to the billions of other people on earth? Do they no longer matter?

    And if they, too, 'never die' -- what then?

    Simple questions that I've rarely (if ever) heard a transhumanist deal with honestly.

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  34. Go, Brit. I think I can help you all - buy the book

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  35. In the midst of the current crisis, the idea of humans engineering paradise seems more risible than ever.

    I'm baffled by this statement. Is the claim that the current crisis makes paradise engineering less probable? Or is it perhaps that it makes speculating about these issues morally objectionable? If so, why? Bryan gives no arguments; and, after thinking about the matter for a while, I can't myself think of any.

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  36. Again, Pablo, read the book. This is a very profound issue. Your thinking contains a concealed and faulty metaphysic that assumes we can stand outside our humanity is order to improve. This is irrational

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  37. Thanks, Bryan. I read your book, and found parts of it instructive. I remain unconvinced, however, that the current economic crisis has any bearing on the plausibility or desirability of paradise engineering. Maybe there are genuine problems with Dave's proposal, but the present state of the economy is not one of them.

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  38. I'm not sure immortality is an unmixed blessing, but then I don't want my children to die either.

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  39. @Eric,

    >We so seldom talk about the fact that these wondrous benefits will be made available only to a very privileged few.

    Where does that non sequitor come from?

    The fruits of technology (such as longer and healthier lives) frequently become available to wider and wider groups of people over time. Medical treatments that may start off being highly expensive often migrate to lower cost.

    For another example, consider technologies like mobile phones - restricted at one time to a small proportion of the populace, who needed to be rich to afford them, but latterly affordable to nearly half the planet.

    >What happens to the billions of other people on earth? Do they no longer matter?

    Oh dear, more non sequitors. Why do you insinuate such an elitist view on transhumanists?

    >And if they, too, 'never die' -- what then?

    I guess that the underlying fear here is of overpopulation: the earth not being able to sustain an ever larger population.

    However, given technological progress, the earth (and outer space in general) will be able to support a larger number of people over time. All that needs to happen is to ensure that population increase due to new births doesn't happen faster than can be handled by the increasing support mechanisms that are developed.

    NB I'm not saying the above will be easy. It will require improvements to both our engineering and our democracies. But that's the kind of improvements which transhumanists believe it will be possible to achieve.

    >Simple questions that I've rarely (if ever) heard a transhumanist deal with honestly.

    Do you think my responses above are honest or dishonest?

    (In reality, I suspect you haven't been listening when talking to transhumanists.)

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  40. @Brian,

    >Again ... read the book. This is a very profound issue. Your thinking contains a concealed and faulty metaphysic that assumes we can stand outside our humanity is order to improve. This is irrational

    What a tease! Why don't you summarise the argument here, rather than repeatedly referring people to your book?

    As it happens, I read the book back in April this year. I found it was a real wasted opportunity. Here's a copy of the review I wrote about it at the time:

    >>>>>

    Significant chunks of this book are astonishingly, infuriatingly bad. The subtitle of the book proclaims "On the New Immortality". And some of the better parts of the book are vignettes of Appleyard's meetings with various life extensionists, transhumanists, and immortalists. However, much of what Appleyard says is tired or unimaginative extensions of dreary OLD arguments about issues of life extension and life expansion. If only Appleyard had spent more time listening with an open mind to what the "new immortalists" actually say - people like Nick Bostrom, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Max More, Audrey de Grey, and James Hughes - he would have found compelling answers to the arguments he raises.

    For example, life might get boring, he says, if it went on for centuries whilst our mental capabilities remained much the same. Well, d'oh! transhumanists talk convincingly about expanding our mental capabilities and our interests in life - not just extending them. And aspects of the meaning of the human race would be changed if there was less certainty about death. Art would lose some of its current meaning, etc. Well, d'oh! why does that mean that we should continue to be enthralled by death, and prefer the currently limited and tragic human condition, to the much greater condition that humanity has the potential to transform into?

    On the very last page, there's another of the (sadly) very many non-sequitors that Appleyward makes. He talks of a new world of "unageing, undying, unloving people". Hello?! Why on earth should "unageing and undying" imply "unloving"? This is nonsense.

    The more interesting question is why an obviously bright person, like Appleyard, gets his thinking so immired and befuddled by these deathist (pro-death) principles?

    I believe the reason can be discerned from the unwarranted amount of time the book spends on trying to champion antiquated Catholic thinkers like Aquinas as (to quote) "most persuasive". Why, given the rich possible pickings from the highly creative transhumanist thinkers, does Appleyard instead tediously regurgitate tired old analyses about long-irrelevant theological debates? (He doesn't include the one about "how many angels could dance on a pinpoint?" but much of what he covers has a similar streak of other-worldiness.) In short, this looks like another example of the crippling effect that a life-long involvement in relgious thinking can have on someone's ability to reason clearly.

    For a MUCH better treatment of the same concepts, go directly to the writings of the "new immortalists" themselves!

    <<<<<

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  41. I like to think that humanity, immortal or not, will have the capacity to understand the suffering that Shakespeare predicated his work on. If mortality is to be such a rare thing in the future, then our future selves may well be affected far more by the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet than we are now in a world where death is an ever-present and more mundane reality.

    Ultimately the only thing that will truly, utterly make Shakespeare not just meaningless, but futile, is death. Death of the species makes all art pointless while a boundless, extended life makes Shakespeare not only more accessible (Finally, I have time!) but more urgent and stark.

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  42. In spite of which, transhumanism is a coming thing, a future faith. It's time to burnish your best pro-death arguments.



    Transhumanism, or technological treatments to prevent and reverse aging, is not a future faith but a future fact. It will happen, simply because it can happen, and because people will want it.

    I don't understand why anyone would oppose this - those who wish to age normally and die would certainly be free to do so. They certainly have no right to forbid others from seeking to avoid aging.

    And concerns like over-population or some harmful effect on the human spirit are best left to the Transhumanists - after all, they are the ones who will have to deal with these problems over the long term, not those who choose to age and die.

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  43. Strewth. I see what you mean about 'naked, unapologetic radicalism', Bryan. Where did these guys come from?

    Part of me envies their enthusiasm, but on the other hand I'm very suspicious of enthusiasm. It often leads to trampling.

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  44. What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents...

    Why should I understand the arguments of my opponents? Why should I care what these people think? These people do not offer me anything I want. So, anything they say is going to be utterly meaningless to me.

    I am into radical life extension. There is nothing that the opponents of radical life extension can say get me to change my mind on this. So, it would be stupid for me to waste my time with trying to understand their arguments.

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  45. "What we call being "bored" is often a form of masked depression. In principle, biotechnology can abolish the molecular substrates of tedium (and depression) altogether. In theory, we could make boredom of any kind physiologically impossible, whether we live for 70 years or 70,000 years."

    Depression is not a molecular substrate. I'm sure some people are depressed because they can't solve a math problem, and they await your solution. I'm sure still others are depressed because of a simple serotonin deficiency and they await the next hit of Zoloft. But to return to Hamlet, depression is an existentializing condition embedded in the very drama of being conscious, awake, sentient. It is only by sustaining the demands of depression that we find a way through it. Most of our giddy consumer utopia (which H+ jacks up by a magnitude of 1000x) is a flight from this experience and what it has to teach us about ourselves and our history.

    Which is why, Giulo, hedonism is not merely the preference of the preferable, or the stunning conclusion that good things happen to be good. I too find that happiness makes me happy. But when hedonism becomes your moral imperative, you sacrifice the inwardness necessary to existential liberation. Claudius was a spectacular hedonist. So was Fortinbras, who managed to eroticize deathwork itself. You couldn't convince either man otherwise.

    Regardless, any attempt to capture an "essence" of humanity means you haven't transcended humanism. So even within the rigid metrics of H+ happiness, your claims fall short. I'm all for immortality. But the quest for paradise -- religious or technological -- requires death. Not just the death of others, but the inner death of those disciples who try to banish a tragic mode of cognition just because it's not pleasant.

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  46. I just found the "H+" magazine. Joe Quirk's response to the deathists is quite hilarious. Who says transhumanists lack a sense of humor, which brings me to another point. Who is to say what is human and what isn;t?

    As a transhumanist who likes to travel and party, I have come up with my own definition of "being human".

    I am human as long as I am able to drink a pint of brew in a pub while having enjoyable conversation with mates, while laughing and joking the night away. Who needs any other definition of "being human"?

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  47. "Why, given the rich possible pickings from the highly creative transhumanist thinkers, does Appleyard instead tediously regurgitate tired old analyses about long-irrelevant theological debates?"
    Well, actually, he doesn't. He attempts to locate transhumanist thought within a tradition of human reasoning, rather than assuming that all previous thought is irrelevant. He doesn't bring the angels dancing on a pinhead because that debate is fictitious.

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  48. Re "I'm not insisting on bit-by-bit identity when I say 1+1 does not equal 1, I'm saying that if you make a perfect replica of me with my memories while I'm still alive, I'm still me and the replica is him."

    The replica would be someone who thinks, feels and remembers thoughts, feelings and memories very similar to yours, at the beginning identical ans then diverging. You would not feel split or in two bodies at once, actually you would feel exactly the same, but there would be another you around.

    From the point of view of any other observer, the replica is you. Of course you can identify with the original only and think this is very little consolation if the original is going to die, but I think uploading technology will force us to rethink our concept of self.

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  49. I'm all for re-thinking concepts of the self, Guilio, I just don't see a replica as giving me immortality. I don't give a hoot if everybody, including the replica, thinks it's me.

    Here's another thought experiment for you. (Assume for the purposes of the thought experiment that the science is all bona fide and you have complete confidence that the doctors can do what they say that can do, and that you like the idea of being rich).

    You get an offer from a scientist: when you go to sleep tonight we’re going to kill you in a painless manner. But don't worry, we've backed up all your memories and personality onto a microchip. Eight hours after you die, we'll remove your body, upload the data into a new brain in an identical body and put it in your bed. The new brain will think it was you, and will think it just went to sleep - we'll erase the memory of this whole conversation. For doing this, we'll put £1million in your bank account every year from now on.

    Do you accept?

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  50. Wow! I wondered why someone was sending me that money every year. Good to know. Thanks.

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  51. Hi,

    I am one of the transhumanists mentioned in this post, and I wrote an article on open-source robotics for the first issue of H+. I'm an AI researcher aimed at creating human-level AI: see novamente.net, goertzel.org, opencog.org, singinst.org.

    In your post you say What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body.

    What I don't like is this sort of glib generalization about large groups of people. Transhumanism is not a cult any more than, say, democratism or spiritualism is a cult. There is a lot of diversity.

    My father has sometimes expressed the attitude you cite: he's said he wouldn't want to live forever because life can be kind of a pain, and from his view, the finitude of human life gives it some of its meaning. That's fine for him, though it saddens me, and I hope he changes his attitude.

    I have also explored Zen fairly deeply, and enjoyed its approach that experiencing the present moment is what is important, rather than focusing on thoughts of the past or future. From this perspective, whether I live forever or become transhuman or whatever is basically irrelevant: what's relevant is the depth of the Now I'm experiencing. The me who wakes up tomorrow morning will be a different guy anyway.

    Having said all that, though, I remain a dedicated transhumanist, both in my attitudes and my actions.

    It's not about the technology: in fact I too get a bit worn-out with quasi-fetishistic blurbs and glossy photos of shiny gadgets, though I appreciate their importance for marketing new ideas to the uninitiated.

    It's about mind and experience: about the embracing of Becoming as well as Being ... about the feeling of becoming something more than I am now, something more than I can even conceive now. While doing my best to embrace each Now along the way.

    No doubt many others will run out of curiosity and ambition, and choose death. That's OK. As for me, I'm not a quitter.

    And it's also about suffering. Yes, as the Buddha said, "all existence is suffering" -- but Buddhists also do practical work to reduce suffering. Transhumanist technology can drastically reduce suffering among humans and other sentient beings.

    I watched my grandfather die a few months ago, at age 92. Even if he would have chosen to die given the option not to, it's obvious he wouldn't have chosen to die in the manner he did. Dying in the midst of disease and dementia is part of the human condition, and it's a part that I feel an ethical duty to help us transcend, by enabling possibilities for living that are generally-human but not precisely legacy-human.

    He also would have liked to transfer more of the understanding he'd gained during his life to me and his other family and friends. Transhumanist technology will enable this eventually.

    So it's not just about living forever as a human, and it's not just about the possibility of transitioning to something far beyond humanity -- though both of these possibilities interest me intensely. It's also about drastically reducing the level of suffering of those who choose to remain generally-human but not precisely legacy-human.

    Most likely some nonzero level of suffering is intrinsic to the condition of any generally-human-type being -- but I strongly suspect this level of suffering is far lower than what many of us currently experience ... even those of us with the good fortune to be living in the middle or upper classes in developed parts of the world.

    The only intellectually and ethically respectable argument I have heard against the transhumanist perspective is that the development of transhumanist technologies could lead to grave dangers, perhaps even to the extinction of the human species.

    I think this is a possibility that needs to be taken very seriously, and am pleased that organizations such as the Lifeboat Foundation and the Singularity Institute (both of which I'm involved with) exist precisely to understand these issues more fully.

    However, my strong intuition is that the human race is facing a lot worse dangers than technologies that improve the mind and body. I'm a lot more worried about chemical and biological weapons, runaway nanotech, or good old fashioned nukes. In my view we will be far more able to wisely handle the risks of these other technologies we've developed, if we can improve the fundamental basis of our thought and judgment processes -- which means improving the human mind and body.

    Susan B, in her comment, wrote

    People think they want it, but really they don't. The fear is of old age and suffering, not death per se.

    Give me a break, please! I am 41 years old and have been thinking hard about these topics for most of my life (while, yes, also conducting a normal life, with a successful career, 3 kids, a lot of travel, and various assorted other accomplishments and hobbies). I have read plenty of relevant literature and philosophy and theology and am aware of the various perspectives out there. I am not driven by naivete, and I am not driven by fear. I am driven above all by curiosity and a desire for more and more interesting, pleasurable, growth-inducing experiences. I'm not afraid of death, I just prefer it not to happen ... and I'm not afraid of remaining a legacy-human, but I would prefer a more interesting future if possible (and amazingly, it does seem this may be possible).

    It is unfortunate (but typically human) for people to lampoon and summarily dismiss perspectives they have not thought-through carefully and do not deeply understand.

    -- Ben Goertzel

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  52. Brit: "Here's another thought experiment for you..."

    This is a great thought experiment!

    "You get an offer from a scientist: when you go to sleep tonight we’re going to kill you in a painless manner. But don't worry, we've backed up all your memories and personality onto a microchip. Eight hours after you die, we'll remove your body, upload the data into a new brain in an identical body and put it in your bed. The new brain will think it was you, and will think it just went to sleep - we'll erase the memory of this whole conversation. For doing this, we'll put £1million in your bank account every year from now on."

    I would say yes - because in the scenario considered and with the assumptions made, I do not see a significant difference from the usual situation of going to sleep one night and waking up the day after. In both cases, a person will wake up tomorrow who thinks and feels he is me.

    Of course, I would be horriby afraid before going to sleep, keep asking myself whether I made the right choice or not, and have a strong tempation to change my mind. But I hope I would be able to resist this temptation motivated by fear of the unknown, and do what my reason suggests.

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  53. I don't know what to say to you then, Giulio, other than that your notion of 'reason' is somewhat different to mine.

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  54. Brit: not surprisingly, I would make the same choice as Giulio in the situation you mention.

    This really comes down to philosophy of mind. So far as I can tell, "I" consists of a certain system of dynamic patterns, that happen at this time to be associated with a particular physical system (my body).

    If my body were replaced by another physically-nearly-identical one, then the same system of dynamic patterns constituting "me" would be there.

    Note that many of the cells in my body are dying and being replaced every minute.

    Do you believe that your "I" is some sort of extraphysical soul that is attached to your current, particular body, and wouldn't reattach itself to the new body in your thought-experiment?

    Or, do you believe that your "I" is somehow immanent in the small percentage of cells in your body (e.g. most neurons) that don't get turned over through natural biological processes?

    What philosophy of mind does your attitude derive from? Or is your attitude more of a non-theoretical, instinctual bias/reaction?

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  55. I don't have a precise definition of self. But I don't need to in order to render the assertion that a rebooted replica brain would give me immortality as incoherent.

    Here's the next chapter in the thought experiment:

    Turns out they didn't kill you - the death pill was the wrong dose and they merely put you into a deep sleep. You wake in the back of the scientist's van...

    Where are you - in the bed, or the van? Or are you saying both?

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  56. Brit, you say

    I don't have a precise definition of self. But I don't need to in order to render the assertion that a rebooted replica brain would give me immortality as incoherent.

    Why is it any more incoherent than the assertion that you are the same person this morning than you were last night?

    The accusation of incoherence is rather strong. My conclusion is based on a rather well-thought-out philosophy of mind as articulated in my 2006 book The Hidden Pattern, published by BrownWalker. You may disagree with my thinking but I mildly bristle at having it called "incoherent" by someone who has not even read it, and is apparently also not conversant with other related philosophical literature ;-p

    Regarding your augmented thought experiment: yes of course, in that case there would be two of me.

    The more the merrier! I'd have a lot easier time getting all my work done that way ;-)

    ben

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  57. Brit, it appears you do have a philosophy of self, and that it contains as an axiom that at any moment there can only be "one of you."

    I think this is a bad axiom, and is in fact just an overgeneralization from the particular domain of experience we're accustomed to.

    "Outside your domain of experience" should not be equated with "incoherent."

    After a few days, the two versions of you would diverge, but each would be a valid continuation of the mind-stream that was you before the split.

    This stream of comments is not the right place to argue the point seriously, but my view is that YOUR view of self is in fact logically incoherent, as you might find if you tried to formalize it or thought about it more seriously.

    ben

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  58. Really - you're in both places at once? Then presumably you would have no qualms about them subsequently killing one or the other 'you's - it would presumably be a matter of indifference which one.

    Also, as someone who spent a fair chunk of 90s slogging through a philosophy degree, by rights I ought to do my own share of bristling at: "...someone who ... is apparently also not conversant with other related philosophical literature", but actually what that course taught me was that having rigid philosophical theories for stuff is a pretty futile and disillusioning thing, because some wiseguy always comes along with a thought experiment that ruins it.

    I can't really be blamed for not having read your book, though I'm sure it is excellent.

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  59. Ben, our posts crossed.

    In answer to the second one, if it makes you feel better to ascribe a particular position to me and then pick holes in it, that's fine. But doesn't actually help your position.

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  60. Of course I don't blame you for not having read my book ... but I don't find it proper for you to call my position incoherent based on such scant understanding of what it is.

    About

    Then presumably you would have no qualms about them subsequently killing one or the other 'you's - it would presumably be a matter of indifference which one.

    why the hell do you assume I have no qualms about killing people? Because all transhumanists are innately the moral equivalent of Hitler? I'm confused....

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  61. You certainly are. (Sorry, irresistible.)

    ...no, because it logically follows from your indifference at being killed so long as your memories are backed up on a microchip and therefore 'you' still exist.

    Good heavens, extraordinary possibilities open up here. Under your definition, so long as we keep all our memories on file ready for rebooting, we can go all round killing each other with gay abandon. I foresee paintball but with real guns, parachute-free skydiving, Great White shark wrestling competitions... the future's bright alright.

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  62. But what happens when you wake up in the van? Do you still feel guilty that the other you kicked the cat yesterday? Or did somebody else do that?

    I think also that somebody better tell the government that there's a wee hole in the ID card idea.

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  63. “What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams”

    This is the kind of unsupported, sweeping assertion that makes it hard to take your critical views seriously.

    Several of the other comments already posted respond to this point. I considered Williams’ (amazingly weak) argument back in 1991, in the February issue of Cryonics magazine (no. 126). Some excerpts:

    Williams grants that death is indeed to be regarded as an evil. Even so we should be glad that we die, for an unending life would be devoid of meaning. Williams supports this view by appealing to a play by Karel Capek which concerns a woman named Elina Makropulos who has lived 342 years. “Her unending life has come to a state of boredom, indifference and coldness. Everything is joyless.” She refuses to take the immortality serum again and dies.

    In claiming that an immortal life would be meaningless Williams is saying that life would be devoid of interest, joy, or freshness; it would be a life of boredom and stagnant repetition. Makropulos stays at the apparent age of 42, and she maintains the same character throughout her life. She has become bored because all the things that could happen to a woman of 42 have happened to her. Williams believes that this result is not an accident of her particular character; it’s an inevitable consequence of living too long. He concludes that we should hope to die before reaching this unavoidable point of stagnation and dullness. He worries that technical progress may thrust upon us this unattractive prospect.

    Williams is presupposing one or both of two things: either that I must have an unchanging character if it is really me who lives forever, or that if I avoid boredom by changing then the changed person is not me. Relying on these assumptions he gets to the conclusion that I must necessarily become horribly bored with living. For me to live forever, rather than being replaced by someone different, I must remain unchanged. But someone who remains unchanged must become bored and their life must lose meaning. While I agree that an unchanging person going through an unchanging routine would become bored and life would pale, I reject the idea that we must stay the same to survive eternally, and I reject the idea that we must become bored or that we could ever run out of new experiences and activities.

    Actually, even unchanging persons might escape boredom. Perhaps there would be drugs capable of making repeated experiences seem perpetually fresh and exciting. Regardless of this, clearly we will not stay the same. We will change psychologically, neurologically, biologically, and our social, scientific, artistic, and recreational contexts will change.

    William’s argument is weakened by his heavy reliance on the implausible character of Elina Makropulos. This woman never matured, grew or changed. She did the same things in the 20th Century as in the 17th. We immortalists, if we become immortal or close to it, need not stagnate. Makropulos’s problem is one shared by some of the deathists around us: She couldn’t enjoy life and so found the prospect of more life an intolerable burden. Other people, including all the cryonicists and immortalists I’ve met, enjoy life now despite its tribulations, and can be expected to continue wanting more of it. Some people will never be attracted to cryonics as a good idea for themselves because they feel burdened by any amount of life.

    Whether we ever stagnate is up to us. There will never be a shortage of new activities, new understanding, and new experiences. Perhaps we might one day come to know a completed physics and chemistry, though even this is denied by some theorists. But we cannot exhaust the technological applications of those physical laws. There will always be innovative art: music, graphic art, writing, dance, and forms as yet unconceived. There are no limits to the personal relationships we can create and develop. There is no limit to the social forms we can develop, and no limit to the games we can invent.

    … We cannot expect to forever keep unmodified human bodies and brains. We will give ourselves penetrating new senses, keener intelligence, superior memory, and perhaps even migrate out of biology into another form of life (the uploading hypothesis).

    Although we will change radically over time still we will be the same person in the sense that matters. My self of 1991 will be qualitatively different from my self of the year 5220, yet I am the same person because of a continuity across time. Not only do some of my basic values remain over long periods but the self that I am now explains and causes the self it becomes. It is not as if my future self kills off my earlier self. So long as I change in ways that do not destroy continuity, I can continue to exist through massive changes in personality, values, interests, goals and abilities.

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  64. Max, let's face it; you will not be alive in 5250. I'm sorry you can't deal with that, but it's the reality.

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  66. Mildred: if it happens that Max and I don't live to 5250, we can certainly "deal with that." Not only in the sense that dealing with being dead is easy ... but also in the sense that we are both people who enjoy our lives in the here-and-now very much: so if either of us found out we were to die soon (in 5 minutes or 50 or 5000 years or whatever) we'd have no major regrets except not having more of life to enjoy.

    However, I find your narrowmindedness and hubris somewhat absurd. How can you propose to know what's going to happen? Your way of thinking seems to be the same as the one that led people, 150 years ago, to say a man would never walk on the moon.

    Not to mention: even in the 1960s when Ted Nelson suggested the Xanadu project, nearly all the pundits (let alone the common person) bloviated confidently that nothing like the Internet could ever exist. Yet, here you are, polluting it with your overconfidently pessimistic yabblings....

    The mainstream media is now reporting that within decades biologists will be able to regenerate a Neanderthal from old DNA. I'm sure quite recently a lot of folks would have called that impossible too.

    I regret the combination of genetics, upbringing and chance that has caused you to grow into a person with such a lack of imagination and vision. Too bad for you, my friend....

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  69. I keep meeting the idea that finite lifespan is an essential attribute for humanity. How can this be true when those of us discussing, at the moment of discussion neither have died yet nor do we know if we really die after death? If this were true then nobody who hasn't died yet and been proven dead could be considered proven human. If it on the other hand were that the BELIEF in a finite lifespan is essential to be human then all a quasi immortal transhumanist would need to do to regain his humanity is to believe that he will die for a moment. Furthermore, a big reason for all this arguing is due to the use of the term 'immortality' which is very inaccurate. "Indeterminately extended life spans" would be much better. How can people have issues with transhumanism while still supposedly acknowledging individual freedom? The way I see it transhumanism logically follows from the idea of individual freedom. What those who don't personally subscribe to transhumanist ideals have the right to worry about is how this will affect them and whether it will impose on their own freedom. Apart from the right to protect their own freedom, they have no real right to interfere with any transhumanists' undertakings, or those of any other group for that sake.

    One resultant effect of life extension that I find very interesting and exciting, and strangely unmentioned by others is that it will create evolution on a new level, this being the group of life extentionists who have managed to survive. This group will be affected by natural selection where the measure of fitness is the ability not to reproduce but to stay alive of its individual members. This group already exists but so far no one has managed to survive for very long. Anyone who subscribes to life extension is a member of it. It will be evolution in a totally new dimension. The shaping factors and extinction causes for such a group will be quite different than for a self-replicating one. For instance, the desire to stay alive and the adoption of values that go with it seems to be of essential necessity for those who choose to stay alive on their own accord, which ideally will apply to everyone. Many beliefs, value systems, personality traits and behaviours will get filtered out from this group since they will prove incompatible with continued existence. The filtering factors may be counteracted by the development of backup and restoration technology but if this were to develop slowly then there would be room for 'natural selection' to take place. It seems plausible to me that we would end up with a group resembling of Iain M. Banks Culture, which eventually would become the predominant group in terms of power, knowledge, influence and size.

    What scares me is the idea that some other groups, who make up for their limited life span by their ability to reproduce, will, for reasons hard to imagine to me, decide to fight this group. However, even if this were to happen, the psychological traits undermining it would eventually get filtered out from existence by the increasingly more empowered life extensionist group's self preservation mechanisms.

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  70. Identity surviving sleep is something we take for granted. I'm not sure of that based on my personal experience.

    It happened to me more than once to do things in my sleep if awakened by others. I can take a pill, have a short talk, answer questions (even technical questions) and such. I have no memory of it when I wake up next day.

    On the other hand it happened to me that I was forced to stay awake longer after being awaken in the night in the same conditions. I remembered such events the next day - my long term memory registered those events.

    Then, how well can I define my identity? Were those cases I can't remember just like I was killed and replaced with a slightly older copy of myself?

    Is it the same if you pass out and can't remember what happened? Fortunately I don't have such an experience - I was "out" on only two surgical procedures and I remember the world fading around me.

    These days I ask others to keep me awake so I can remember. I dislike the idea of a small part of my identity dying.

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  71. It was hearing Bryan going on about this on Start the Week a few years ago, and then buying the book, that led me to this fine blog... estetik and in that time I've pondered this subject in many a quiet moment - burun estetigi you know, while standing at luggage retrieval, watching BBC Breakfast, filling the car with diesel and so on - gögüs büyütme still without successfully making my mind up about whether transhuman immortality would be a Good Thing gögüs estetigi.

    gögüs küçültme I completely accept all the points about death making humans what they are in cultural terms, and the self-boredom argument vajina daraltma is a biggie. But then the optimist in me says that immortal humans would probably find other ways of filling the poetic gaps - humans are very good at adapting karin germe.

    And then there's the matter of oblivion. estetik I don't have a Larkin-like dread of it, but when I come to consider all the possible ways of reaching it karin ameliyatlari? cancer, heart disease etc - I find I'm not at all keen on them and therefore not at all averse to the discovery of miracle cures. saç ekimi Strokes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and anything slow, humiliating and painful are all also distinctly unappealing.

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  72. One of the most useful article I read in many days. thanks.

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  73. About

    "
    they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their opponents - like the idea, best advanced by Bernard Williams, about boredom not with the things of the world but with oneself, or, as Roger Scruton puts, the soul grows tired of inhabiting the body.
    "

    I accept that some people feel bored and tired in that way. I doubt I ever will, but if I do, and if that feeling outweights counterveiling features, I'll kill myself. I don't advocate forced immortality.

    For a different strain of transhumanism, try Cosmism, see my brief Cosmist Manifesto

    http://cosmistmanifesto.blogspot.com/

    At least, this document should make clear that transhumanism is not, at its core, about technology, but rather about expanding the horizons of body, mind, thinking and feeling.

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