I am a fan of Zoltan Istvan. His book The Transhumanist Wager is a science fiction classic. Should be read by anyone that is thinking about where technology could potentially bring us. It is highly recommended.
The FutuResist Cure
Decided to pick up “The Futuresist Cure: Notes from the Front Lines of Transhumanism”. The book is a smorgasbord of his perspectives on the future. He asks some fascinating questions too. Another book I would hight recommend.
The light questions
- Should sophisticated artificial intelligences be given personhood?
- Should humans be able to marry robots?
- And are crimes committed in virtual reality punishable by jail time?
- If an intelligent robot makes money, should it be taxed?
- Who will monitor the expanding VR world? Does it belong to national governments?
- Is a ‘virtual world’ affair is every bit as painful to a betrayed spouse as an in-the-flesh affair?
- What happens when we will be able to print anything, including human cells, DNA, and even memories.
Some practical questions
- Los Angeles to spend 1.3 billion dollars over the next three decades to fix its dilapidated network of sidewalks and access ways, many of which are in disrepair and present challenges for people with disabilities to traverse. Why not spending 20% of the $1.3 billion on the very worst sidewalks and then having the rest go directly into research and development for technologies that over a 10-year period of time will help eliminate physical disability.
- Why not strip you of your stomach, your guts, and even your anus—and replace it all with machine parts and bionics. One hundred forty-four million animals are killed every day to produce meat, dairy, and eggs for human consumption. Transhumanists want to get rid of it all. In the future, there will be no eating, drinking, or defecation.
The more serious questions
- What if one country achieves the singularity first? Whichever government launches and controls a super-intelligent AI first will almost certainly end up the most powerful nation in the world because of it. Read “The big nine“.
- Or a person? Think about it. Such a person will fulfil elements of either the Antichrist or the second coming of Jesus.
- Will genetic editing start a new cold war?
- When does hindering life extension science become a crime?
- Should we let AI run the government once it’s smarter than us?
In the next 25 years, the human being will undergo a larger transformation of its evolutionary body than it has undergone in the last 100,000 years. Everything is based on the unescapable velocity of the exponential effect on technology. Which gets you into some weird thinking once you realise that, for example, the second AI become super-intelligent, the next step is super-super-intelligent. What is the exponential step after singularity? After brain uploads?
A different world
He describes a future world of cyborgs, augmentation, life extensions, immortality, biohacking, and transhumanism. Describing technologies such neural prosthetics, bionic organs, exoskeletons, sentient avatars, space travel, cryonics, virtual reality, brain implants, trauma last implants, telepathy, behaviour modification, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, super drugs, drones, artificial wombs, quantum archaeology
Consider the impact of brain implants. If we all have one we are all connected, we don’t need languages, communication between people will greatly improve. Imagine constant mutual understanding as a concept. We might even merge into one big consciousness. Or your brain implant might get hacked…..
The average IQ of the human being is 100. Based on results from the Turing Test, some robots may already have nearly the equivalent IQ of adolescent humans. While the human brain approximately doubled in size over the last 2000,000 to 800,000 years, the microprocessor doubles its speed every 18-24. Some experts think that by 2029 our phones will be more intelligent than us. In three decades, they will almost certainly be hundreds of times smarter than us.
What will be available once the microprocessor is 100 times more powerful than now, as it could be in 10 years—especially with coming quantum computing. And what will it be like in 20, or 30 years? I’m guessing it’ll be enough to completely astound us—especially in regards to modern physics.
It is already happening
Already, hundreds of thousands of people in the world have microchip implants in their heads, consisting of everything from chips to help Parkinson’s sufferers to cochlear implants for the deaf to devices to assist Alzheimer’s patients with memory loss. Implants using electroencephalography (EEG) technology can read and decipher brain waves. Proof that most of the technologies the author is describing are happening right now.
Our problem is not climate change
He thinks that managing exponential technological growth, increased prosperity from globalisation, and maintaining world peace are the critical issues of the future, not global warming, overpopulation or environmental degradation.
Evolution into energy
On a long enough time horizon, every biological species would, at some point, evolve into machines, and then evolve into intelligent energy with a consciousness. Not that dissimilar to the thinking in “Novacene” by James Lovelock. Human life, human thoughts, and human existence are mathematical determinable calculations of that subatomic world of matter and energy.
After the singularity it gets even more exciting
After the singularity, we will probably discover ways to influence and control individual atoms, thereby giving them the ability to merge and manifest as anything in the universe. We could be anywhere and everywhere. Some transhumanists call this phenomenon: Omnipotism. Everything is matter and energy. Deepak Chopra´s Metahumans on steroids.
We are all transhumans now
There is no doubt that we are becoming a transhumanist species. In 100 years’ time, we may be practically unrecognisable to ourselves today. It puts the work I am doing on writing a book about the citizen movement with Sunil Prashara of PMI in a very different perspective. Citizen development and transhumanism anyone?