The Coming Transhuman Era

The Coming Transhuman Era — Jason Sosa at TEDxGrandRapids

Transcript

Transhumanism is the idea that man is merging with technology. Marvin Minsky was asked the question, “Will robots inherit the earth?” He said, “Yes, they will, but they will be our children.”

Transhumanism is a term used for a broad range of ideas that technology is greatly enhancing human capabilities. This means everything from bionic limbs to brain implants to artificial intelligence to even, someday, uploading our minds to the internet.

We have already a symbiotic relationship with our technology and in that sense, we’re already transhuman. I’m sure many of you here today brought your smartphones with you. Transhumanism is the future of connectedness. It is technology as an extension of ourselves.

How do we get from where we are today to the science fiction future? Well rarely are there major technological jumps. Technology usually follows a very predictable evolutionary path. It’s the groundwork that’s laid by these previous technologies that allow these new levels to be achieved.

For example, the cell phone infrastructure that was created allowed for the rise of mobile computing and the internet allowed for the rise of social networks and cat videos but its it’s hard to imagine where these advances take us as a species because we are only able to observe these small incremental steps along the way.

Now I believe that the pace of technology will evolve to the point where biology will become the limiting factor. How many thoughts can you hold on in your mind at once? Two maybe three? How many of you are still memorizing phone numbers? So we’ve already begun the process of augmenting the capacity of our minds onto our devices.

Let’s take a look at how far we’ve come today.

The smartphone in your pocket has more computing power than all of NASA in nineteen sixty-nine when it sent to astronauts to the moon.

The sony PlayStation of today which costs about three hundred dollars is a hundred and fifty times more powerful than an IBM supercomputer that then cost millions of dollars. The iPhone that you have in your pocket. The iPhone today is 40 times more powerful than the original iPhone and that was just released six years ago and it’s seven times more powerful than the Mars Curiosity rover.

One of the principles of this evolution in technology is that technology is getting smaller, faster, cheaper and more powerful every day and in terms of physical size its a hundred times smaller every decade. This principle is known as Moores law and it’s the idea that technology will grow exponentially or double about every two years.

Ray Kurzweil explains it in 30 steps. If we take 30 linear steps vs exponential 30 steps. Just walk 30 steps you will be 30 steps farther. That is simple. We all know that. 30 exponential steps, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 by the time you get to 30 you’ve arrived at a billion. This is the type of growth that enables us to carry supercomputers in our pockets that once used to fill an entire building and in the future will allow us to carry computers the size of a blood cell.

Dr. Max More – Transhumanist, Futurist, Writer, Philosopher

Max More is a philosopher and futurist
Max More is a philosopher and futurist who writes, speaks, and consults on advanced decision-making about emerging technologies.

Dr. Max More (born Max T. O’Connor, January 1964) is a philosopher and futurist who writes, speaks, and consults on advanced decision-making about emerging technologies.

Born in Bristol, England, Dr. More has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from St Anne’s College, Oxford (1987). His 1995 University of Southern California doctoral dissertation The Diachronic Self: Identity, Continuity, and Transformation examined several issues that concern transhumanists, including the nature of death, and what it is about each individual that continues despite great change over time.

Founder of the Extropy Institute, Dr. Max More has written many articles espousing the philosophy of transhumanism and the transhumanist philosophy of Extropianism, most importantly his Principles of Extropy (currently version 3.11). In a 1990 essay “Transhumanism: Toward a Futurist Philosophy”, he introduced the term “transhumanism” in its modern sense.

Dr. More is also noted for his writings about the impact of new and emerging technologies on businesses and other organizations. His “Proactionary Principle” is intended as a balanced guide to the risks and benefits of technological innovation.

At the start of 2011, Max More became president and CEO of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an organization he joined in 1986.

Personal website: http://www.maxmore.com/
wikipedia.org: Dr. Max More

Transhumanism is an international and intellectual movement

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and creating widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of using such technologies. The most common thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and creating widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the human” at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews “transitional” to posthumanity as “transhuman”.

This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990 and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.

The year 1990 is seen as a “fundamental shift” in human existence by the transhuman community, as the first gene therapy trial, the first designer babies, as well as the mind-augmenting World Wide Web all emerged in that year. In many ways, one could argue the conditions that will eventually lead to the Singularity were set in place by these events in 1990.

Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives including philosophy and religion.Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world’s most dangerous ideas, to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the “movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity”.