Only in the past decade have we started to realize that transhumanism won’t realize its dreams through mechanization and computerization. Though seminal authors on transhumanism, like Kurzweil, Moravec, Drexler, and More focus on nanotechnology and cybernetics, those technologies haven’t seen real progress since the 70’s.Totally agree. I've also argued that uploading may not be possible, but that it's not a deal-breaker in our quest to live 'outside' our bodies.
But genetics and biotech has. Starting in the 1950’s with the Pill, vaccines, and antibiotics, our knowledge of medicine and biology radically improved throughout the second half of the twentieth century with assisted reproduction technologies like IVF, not to mention genomic sequencing, stem cell research, organ transplantation, and neural mapping, advances in biology and medicine are what are driving the transhumanist revolution. When someone like Mark Gubrud starts arguing transhumanism won’t work because we can’t upload our minds into robot bodies, one has to gawk for a moment in awe at the irrelevance of the argument. It’s like arguing we can’t ever cure cancer because cold fusion is impossible.
Transhumanism is the idea of guiding and improving human evolution with intention through the use of technologies and culture. If those technologies are not robotic and cybernetic but, instead, genetic and organic, then so be it. And that seems to be the way things are going.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Kyle Munkittrick: From Gears to Genes: A Sea Change in Transhumanism
Kyle Munkittrick has penned a nice little retraction to Mark Gubrud's suggestion that transhumanism won’t work because mind uploading is impossible: