The Coming Transhuman Era

The Coming Transhuman Era — Jason Sosa at TEDxGrandRapids


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.

Leave a Reply