Talk:Transhumanism

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Topic[edit]

What's so pseudoscientific about this? GrandSoviet 03:02, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

The fact that it's based entirely on occupational bias and science fiction thinking, perhaps? I always thought the cartoon "My Life As A Teenage Robot" had the best handle on life in an age of high technology and sentient robots -- it isn't going to change the fundamental nature of humanity. (IOW, high school will still suck for the unpopular kids.) Frankly, none of this is based on anything more than Panglossian speculation, and it's silly at best to pretend that it isn't. EVDebs 12:55, 29 October 2007 (EDT)
So it's not strictly "pseudoscience" but "wild, idealistic speculation" at worst. GrandSoviet 22:36, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
I don't think something can be pseudoscientific if it never tried to explain the natural world. Science is both a process and a subject. The process is constant inquiry and induction in a way that is communicable and recallable and recordable, and the subject is the universe. If it lacks the process but has the subject, then it could be called pseudoscience, but if it was not about the universe in the first place (like futurology, since it is not trying to tell anything about the universe itself), then I do not think it could be called pseudoscience.--24.62.238.203 00:46, 5 January 2008 (EST)
What would you call it? It perhaps comes most closely under the category of religion, but it does at least have pretensions to scientific predictions. On an unrelated note, would things like wp:Clock of the Long Now be considered transhumanism, even though they don't really make any assumptions about fundamental changes in humanity? EVDebs 00:56, 5 January 2008 (EST)
Isn't it an extrapolation, mad or otherwise, of current science? Susanclaw! ... 08:31, 5 January 2008 (EST)

The IP guy is correct. Generally speaking, transhumanism is a philosophy or a cultural movement that favours improving humanity through science or technology, not one that makes specific scientific claims in itself. This 'pseudoscience' label really gets applied much too uncritically sometimes. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 08:40, 5 January 2008 (EST)

The PHILOSOPHER has spoken! Susanclaw! ... 08:51, 5 January 2008 (EST)
It is written: "thou shalst not dis the subject of my next book" (which I have spent the last 3 months rewriting) - Suggested cat: Science Fiction? Susanclaw! ... 09:00, 5 January 2008 (EST)
Actually, I don't think transhumanism is as wild as some of us are making it sound. We have had some limited success different types of implants, why shouldn't it go further?--Bobbing up 11:06, 5 January 2008 (EST)
Because then we'll inevitably either lose faith in the sanctity of life, or we'll turn into screaming madmen. Trus me; I've read science fiction on the subject. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
That might or might not be true - but it doesn't mean it won't happen.--Bobbing up 04:08, 6 January 2008 (EST)

While I agree that the most wild speculations about transhumanism are rather unlikely, I doubt transhumanism itself can be considered pseudoscience: its objective is merely improving the human body through technology, the means to do so are open to discussion. While I doubt we'll see a strong AI in the next century and I believe that for now immortality is but a dream, no one can argue that genetic manipulation and many other emerging technologies make improving the human body possible, although not yet as easily as transhumanists dream. --78.15.171.106 09:13, 13 April 2009 (EDT)

Talk origins, coincidentally has a related thing today. Susanclaw! ... 16:00, 5 January 2008 (EST)

Tanshumanism is about the improvement of humanity through advances in the fields of science and technology. It's just as much about curing disease as it is about Ghost in the Shell-style bionics. — Unsigned, by: Majintahu / talk / contribs

I also have to add that the not all Transhumanists believe in the Singularity. The movement has it's share of crazies, but I don't fell that discredits it wholly. Majintahu

Popular Culture[edit]

Any particular reason for removing Aphoxema's edit? Colonel of Squirrels你有两头母牛。他们是删掉了。 04:37, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, lame tripe about games? We can do better than be a repository for vital information about "the game series Deus Ex" and the anime series "Ghost in the shell". Did you read the crap I undid? Are you seriously arguing it makes this article better? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:46, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
WP often battles with popular culture sections. I don't think it's relevant to RationalWiki, however, unless these popular culture references have grown to the point of being notable by RW's mission; in which case, they'd get their own article anyway. As I don't think Ghost in the Shell has developed a suicide cult following hoping for the Transhuman Singularity, I suppose it's only interesting to nerds and gamers. Scarlet A.pngtheist 12:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Not to be confused with[edit]

Transhumance. (Incorporate as appropriate) 82.44.143.26 (talk) 19:13, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Or, for that matter: Transfeminism.
(Thinking of the MRA slogan "I'm not a feminist, I'm a humanist!" Analogously, an activist who opposes both sexism and transphobia but happens to have issues with the term "feminism" might conceivably think of calling themselves a "transhumanist" before they realise that already means something else. D'oh!) --91.7.47.2 (talk) 00:25, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

I think I'm transhumanist[edit]

Typicallly, I don't like "ism" words, but i think transhumanism is pretty realistic. It's like fashion, but extraly evolved. You wear glasses, you wear performance-enhancing sneakers, why not go that next step and wear a calculator in your brain (for example)? Even if I don't like the word, I think Transhumanism is one of the most realistic perspectives of our place in evolution, with all our memes and elaborate constructions, looking towards where that evolution is probably going. Künstlerin (talk) 03:15, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Hardware =/= evolution. Your daughter will not inherit your wife's "enhanced" physiognomy. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:25, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
When I'm talking about "evolution," I'm not talking about only genetic evolution, but memetic evolution as well (which would include hardware among other things). My daughter would not genetically inherit larger breasts if I had a breast augmentation, but she would inherit the meme that "it is okay for mom to get a breast augmentation so it must be okay for me to get an augmentation too if my breasts don't grow bigger when I get older". Künstlerin (talk) 06:08, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
While current BCI technology is primitive, its mere existence makes many of the transhumanist claims plausible, if not probably inevitable. However, the singularitarian stuff is like a technological rapture scenario, and no one can predict exactly when such future technologies will be available. So when you separate out all the woo, speculation, and sci-fi from transhumanist stuff, it really boils down to "technology will be way more awesome in the future!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:21, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
yes. Good post^^. It'll be so much more cooler. I'm a bit fearful though that we might not survive long enough to make it happen. We might just pollute and use this planet to the point that our soft genetic human bodies won't be able to survive anymore, dying off and going extinct, before we ever have the chance to keep our memes alive and reproducing. ø_ºØ¿h0VV dΩ ¡ mAk3 mei S¡Gnņ®3 ∂ififi3®EnT c0LøU®$? 07:52, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
There are multiple definitions of "singularity", thus spake Yudkowsky. Some of them do sound like intelligent design and the rapture for nerds who fret over IQ tests, but some of them do get pissed off if you tar the entire transhumanism thing with the same brush that you use to tar just the most outrageous claims. ADK...I'll exterminate your monster! 08:43, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
would it be fair to include a transhumanist perspective within the Gender Identity Disorder article? Also, I think Transhumanism might be a useful philosophy in our own time - directing evolution consciously and responsibly would be good for medicine, engineering, art, and mythology. At the end of the Dark Ages, Humanism provided a nice evolutionary philosophy to make life better, now I think it's time to go Trans-Humanist and go even further; for example, the right to the pursuit of happiness might be nice but the right to happiness would be nicer. =) ø_ºØkünstlerin 04:03, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe humanity still follows the laws of evolution. Natural selection is for beasts. We are beings of compassion, art, and science.--"Shut up, Brx." 04:07, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
As long as you're not an "Otherkin" or a "Therian." P-Foster (talk) 04:44, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
absolutely not! I just think natural selection doesn't apply to humans any longer--"Shut up, Brx." 13:42, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Natural selection will apply as long as we reproduce. --85.78.24.238 (talk) 13:48, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
But we don't look for any ideal traits. We breed willy nilly. Since we support "unfit" members of the species, and these "unfit" members breed with the "fit" ones, I think it's safe to say that our genotype (am I using that word correctly?) isn't heading anywhere for any reason at all. Now, humanity progresses through art and science--"Shut up, Brx." 13:59, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
No, we look for the trait of reproduction. Teenage pregnancies FTW. --85.78.24.238 (talk) 14:07, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Evolution is not just genetic. Ever since humans evolved consciousness, memetic evolution has taken over. Genetecentric Evolutionists need to remember that before biological organisms started evolving there was planetary evolution, solar evolution, and even primordial matter evolution (from hot big bang energy into cool building block matter). Now that memes are evolving faster than genes, and taking better advantage of their genetic and planetary hosts, memetic evolution (and subsequently all the other evolutions of which memes take advantage) can/should be consciously directed (not just left to random chance). Yes, from a strictly biological point of view someone like Stephen Hawking would be an organism to wipe out of evolution, but from a memetic point of view he has been quite successful and propogated many memetic offspring. So if we recognize that our memes are the dominant species now and don't let that hurt our highly evolved egos, we can start manipulating the universe around us and make it nicer. Wouldn't your consciousness feel better if it had a shimmeringly beautiful and strong idealised body to house it? Wouldn't your consciousness feel better if it didn't just survive but actually thrived? Transhumanism means stepping beyond the Humanist notions of meeting everyone's needs into a place where we are striving to meet everyone's desires too. But yeah, I'm straying here for a little, let me get back to an important point and repeat it: EVOLUTION IS NOT ONLY GENETIC. AND MEMETIC EVOLUTION IS MORE FIT THAN GENETIC EVOLUTION, PROVIDING CONSCIOUS ORGANISMS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DIRECT EVOLUTION IN A WAY MORE SUITING TO THEIR OWN DESIRES. Members of the species, whom old school evolutionists might have called "unfit" are no longer "unfit," and that is an evolutionary reality. Yay medicine! Yay education! Yay art and culture! ø_ºØkünstlerin 17:20, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

"But we don't look for any ideal traits."[edit]

Maybe you're just easy. Most people try to reproduce with someone who embodies a complicated host of traits -- from physical attraction to basic health to the ability to earn wealth to an appropriate age to intelligence and way way more -- that will make them a better mate than somebody else. And that's just on the level of their conscious choices, never mind all the weird subconscious/pheromone shit that goes on. P-Foster (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I disagree on an ideological basis, but I realize that that is not a tenable position and besides, I have not the knowledge of evolutionary biology (or any biology, except a bit of human anatomy and physiology I learned for massage therapy and nursing) to argue with you anyways.--"Shut up, Brx." 15:54, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I think what that quote is supposed to mean is that even though we have traits that we consider attractive or unattractive, those don't really matter because "undesirable" people will breed amongst themselves and pass on their genetic material anyway. Maybe even moreso than people considered "desirable". Ever seen the movie Idiocracy? Syndrome (talk) 16:48, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Should we categorize this as science fiction?[edit]

Well, for now, since anything other than replacement body parts won't be a reality in the near future.

Also, have we discussed the ethical issues surrounding the notion of transcending our biological limits? Osaka Sun (talk) 06:30, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

It's not that transcending nature isn't possible, it's that talking about it now is dumb. Deus Ex is a really cool video game, but I say put this as well as LessWrong into the science-fiction category.--"Shut up, Brx." 07:47, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Which is not to say it's not on the hard end of the spectrum. Transhumanism, though, falls more in the category of "stuff we can't prove yet" rather than "stuff we can't do", which puts it on the dividing line between science and science fiction. Of course, Kip Thorne's work on FTL travel also falls in the same category, and is much more rigorous, so take that for what it's worth. Also, talking about it per se isn't dumb; what's dumb is talking about it as if it's an inevitability. Just because something isn't scientifically impossible doesn't mean that it's practically possible. EVDebs (talk) 18:12, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
The politically correct category would be "speculative fiction". Scarlet A.pngtheist 18:13, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Meh. "Science fiction" is more recognizable to more people. EVDebs (talk) 18:44, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Middle aged reality tends to limit this nonsense.[edit]

I noticed that the Extropy Institute about a decade ago announced that poof! Extropianism doesn't exist any more, around the time that the people involved in it turned 40 and realized that "the future" they depended on has turned into the paleofuture.

For some perspective on how our current decade looked to a couple of popular transhumanism-leaning "futurists" circa 1980, and how badly wrong they got it, you might like to read:

Up-Wing Priorities, by F.M. Esfandiary, who later changed his name to FM-2030:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/10948503/Up-Wing-Priorities

and,

Human Intelligence Increase: The Last 4,000 Years and The Next 40 Years, by Robert Anton Wilson

http://www.rawilsonfans.com/articles/HII.htmAdvancedatheist (talk) 16:14, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Calling for re-write[edit]

This page needs an overhaul. It categorizes all Transhumanists as wishful thinkers and claims that we only hold irrational ideas. While some people out there do believe it will mean technology that would be impossible, they are a minority and most who do so are detractors of transhumanism, a great majority of them irrational conspiracy theorists. Frankly, it's arrogant to claim humans as the epitome of evolution and unbased, so why this page detracts the movement I don't know. — Unsigned, by: ZombiezuRFER / talk / contribs

I have just come to the conclusion, that all the articles dealing with any form of transhuman technologies on this wiki have been straw-manning the movement and the people part of it. These pages all need to be rewritten from an actually rational viewpoint, and provide consistent logic in application. I will undertake the initial rewrites when I have time, but I must admit I am no great wiki article writer. While I am capable of writing, at the very least, decent papers, the wiki formatting is what prevents me from doing so successfully. Furthermore, I do know that this wiki allows and (IIRC) encourages humor, but I fear that, being an Aspie individual, the humor may be lost upon others over the Internet. And even then, if the humorous article in question is parodical in nature, Poe's Law may apply. ZombiezuRFER (talk) 19:36, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Computing requirements of Whole Brain Emulation[edit]

The article says,

WBE may be possible, but the technology to fully simulate a human brain is a long way away. Currently, no computer (or network of computers) is powerful enough to simulate a human brain.

This isn't exactly true. Eugene Izhikevich has simulated a 'human brain' (1011 neurons, same as a human brain [1], but the connectivity was randomly generated due to lack of input data). The Izhikevich model is unique in that it is very efficient and very biologically accurate [2], but I'm leaving this in the talk page because whether this constitutes a 'true' WBE is up for debate: Simulations can be done at different levels of detail. The Blue Brain Project is intended to be a pharmacological simulation for testing new drugs, so it includes ion channels and other 'low level' (If you will forgive the computer analogy) features and is bound to be very slow.

Moreover, the statement:

Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain Project, estimates that simulating a brain would require 500 petabytes of data for storage and that the power required to run the simulation would be about $3 billion.

Also depends on the choice of model. The Izhikevich simulation would've taken 10,000 terabytes [3], which is far lower than 500 PB, but the connectivity was randomly generated at every step.

[1] This estimate is from The control of neuron number (R.W. Williams and K. Herrup, 1988). Note that a new method has been developed to more accurately count neurons and it puts the number at 86 billion (Equal numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells make the human brain an isometrically scaled-up primate brain, Azevedo FA, Carvalho LR, Grinberg LT, 2009).

[2] Simple Model of Spiking Neurons

[3] Link

I put in a caveat to note that we're referring to transhumanist conceptions of WBE here. The main point, though, is that while the simulations being done by people like Izhikevich and Markram is exciting stuff, it's light years away from what the transhumanist set is looking to accomplish, if it's even possible. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:44, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Specifically what do you mean with "what the transhumanist set is looking to accomplish"? --Eudoxia (talk) 01:57, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
"Scanning your brain and uploading the data to a computer as a perfect, equally self-aware replica of you" (a la Caprica) is one of the primary objectives, it seems. Scarlet A.pngtheist 02:03, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Pseudoscience[edit]

I would like to issue a somewhat formal plea for discussion about the apparent psuedoscientific aspects of this ideology. In my opinion, there is too much strawman content on here.P3A58NT86 21:57, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Care to expand? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:23, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Assuming this isn't a "But I am one and I don't think this way!" post, the only thing I can think of is that maybe he wants more sourcing? The problem with transhumanism as a subject is that there is no one ideology, defining single opinion, or 'rules' one has to follow to be one, merely a loose set of ideas. So they can range from saying, 'Well, maybe with the advent of the required technologies we can take matters like genetic diseases and birth defects into our own hands' to 'OMG GUYS WE'RE GONNA TRANSFORM INTO SUPERMEN I CAN'T WAIT FOR MY LASER BEAM EYES' and while it's no good to say ALL of them are the latter... not all of them are the former, either. Theoretically one can research pretty much any opinion along these loose lines and find a real group of people who actually believe it. Not to mention the overlap in definition between other groups; do people who believe in the rapture and think we'll shed our meaty flesh bodies and become perfect eternal souls in heaven count as 'transhumanists?' ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 22:32, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I was making this request for my friend, who is a very erm, "intimate" transhumanist, and evidently he decided he didn't want to take over the discussion, so never mind that. I don't have too much of an opinion of transhumanism to be honest. All futurism is speculative anyway. P3A58NT86 00:52, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's harmless speculation until you realise people pay a lot of money to get their bodies and brains utterly destroyed frozen and preserved by cryonics methods. Scarlet A.pngpatheticModerator 11:20, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a little more to it than that. I read this - it's definitely information to consider. http://humanityplus.org/philosophy/transhumanist-faq/ --P3A58NT86 21:26, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

A month later[edit]

I find it highly suspicious that many here are claiming that transhumanism is pseudoscientific because there are individuals who will make pseudoscientific claims *about* it. People also do that for biology, sociology, physics... you name it. To some degree, Transhumanism is already here. While we may not have turned into superman, human influence has in fact already altered human nature in significant ways (and indeed, we already know that we can cause speciation through techniques as simple as domestication). And while people may make jokes in all caps about dreams of laser beam eyes, the reality is that we already have functional brain-operated prosthetics. GodlessPaladin (talk) 00:23, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, if you roll back the definition far enough, we already have interstellar travel because, well, we have rockets. Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 00:31, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
What is the definition here, then? Is the "pseudoscientific" idea the notion that we can't cause speciation? Because that's a plain false statement straight from domestication, let alone the fact that we've made things like human chimaeras. So what exactly is the definition of transhumanism we're using here? GodlessPaladin (talk) 00:37, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
You seem to have repeatedly hacked at your comment to make it say something completely different. It makes it pretty difficult to have a conversation that makes any sense if you're going to do that. Scarlet A.pngmoralModerator 00:39, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I feel I hacked away at my comment to try and get my point across more concisely, but if you feel that way I will try to be more careful about my bad habit of proofreading immediately after posting and be more careful to suss out exactly what I want to say before posting and not change it. Anyways, the question I pose to you is: What is the definition of transhumanism that is being declared pseudoscientific? I know that human-caused speciation is possible. I know that interfacing between human brains and machines is possible. I don't know if you can transfer consciousness, but that doesn't seem like it would be necessary unless you're defining transhumanism as being able to completely switch over to a machine body. GodlessPaladin (talk) 00:45, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The main point you seemed to be making was that it was somehow "already here" - citing brain controlled (in reality, those things are just reading very crude physiological changes and syncing them up with limited commands, "brain controlled" is taking a very liberal use of the term) toys or prosthetics. So if you want to say that this is somehow "transhuman" and therefore makes it definitely not a load of sci-fi crap, then you would have to consider things like wearing glasses and contact lenses to be "transhuman" (those modify our abilities quite nicely). Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 00:49, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Does no longer being the species "homo sapien" via artificial influence constitute transhumanism? If so, we already know that speciation of large mammals via human intervention is possible. The technology to cause and guide speciation is already here. As for robot arms, I was responding to the jokes about laser eyes as if the concept of a robotic prosthetic was preposterous. But moreover, it also can be used to reply to the definition of fundamentally changing what it means to be a homo sapien. The difference between a brain hooked up to a computer network able to control robot toy bodies is arguably more different from a conventional homo sapien than the difference between many creatures defined as separate species, after all (though obviously, the term speciation coined for biology doesn't really carry over to the concept of switching over to robot bodies. The terminology wasn't designed with such a thing in mind. So again, it's a matter of how you define what constitutes transhumanism). GodlessPaladin (talk) 00:54, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Here is the fundamental problem with transhumanism: it's all well and good to speculate, but in order to say anything intelligent, you have to have some idea of what you don't know. Transhumanists, in general, do a rather bad job of this -- look at Ray Kurzweil getting torn apart by PZ Myers because Kurzweil doesn't know (or care) much about how neural and brain development actually work. It's very much like evo psych -- there may be a legitimate field of study in there somewhere, but right now it's almost entirely wishful thinking. Not for nothing is the Singularity compared to the Rapture. EVDebs (talk) 08:33, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Genetic engineering, computer-brain interfaces, artificial intelligence, all sorts of aspects of medical science (ranging from psychotropic drugs to growing artificial hearts and whatnot), all seem like legitimate fields of study to me. My understanding is that transhumanism is a philosophy that advocates seeking to improve humanity through science or technology, not one that makes specific scientific claims in and of itself. So what exactly is the problem here? That some people who happen to have that belief speculate and are wrong? Is there some field that doesn't apply to? GodlessPaladin (talk) 15:46, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Where are the people doing actual scientific work on a synthesis of all these fields? Why do so many transhumanists not pay attention to what biologists tell them about how the brain works? I mean, okay, lots of excellent work being done for paralyzed people, and you can do some pretty sophisticated things with prosthetic hands. The problem here is that these things are about being able to live human lives. Transhumanists want to transcend this, but so far as we know, there's no way to create even a minimally sentient AI, and no doctor is going to get involved in implanting tails or eyecams or anything like that because it's unethical to operate on a healthy patient. Basically, transhumanism is looking a couple steps beyond what we can extrapolate from what we already know; that's a great way to write science fiction, but it's essentially meaningless for any attempt to predict reality. EVDebs (talk) 01:56, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
coughs http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/08/26/eyeborg-man-turns-prosthetic-eye-into-video-camera/ 74.96.90.24 (talk) 17:21, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

No Philosophical Problems with Uploading[edit]

This proves we're all 'swampmen,' i.e., identity is patternistic and not materialistic, and this proves continuity is irrelevant (rational people, needless to say, do not believe people who emerge from PHCA surgery are 'not real'). Claims that uploading and teleportation are inherently fatal result from bias and ignorance, are objectively false, and will go the way of past concerns that organ transplantation could transfer memory and personality from donor to recipient (a fear played upon in this film). There's no vitalistic magic in specific atoms; only the pattern matters. This is not to say that consciousness can run on classical computers, nor that whole brain emulation is nigh. Rather, only that uploading is possible in principle, as Stephen Hawking recently said. - Aurelian Carpathia (talk) 14:03, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Footnote columns[edit]

The footnotes won't split into two columns. Am I doing something wrong here? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:21, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Popular Culture part 2[edit]

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209764/?ref_=nv_sr_2 This film is near release. I'm not expecting credible science. An evaluation would be interesting, though. Scherben (talk) 18:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Question[edit]

Why does transhumance appear to involve 'humans improved' rather than Homo alternativus, Felis catus sapiens, Omphalotus nidiformis sapiens 'or humanity extincted' (whether or not involving black flowers) or developed into Eloi and Morlocks etc? 82.44.143.26 (talk) 17:45, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Omphalotus nidiformis sapiens? Interesting, but probably no relation to the Collector, nor to the Baron in oglaf's "hypoxia" story. (NSFW, google it if you must)
You should know that transhumanceWikipedia's W.svg has been going on since before history began, and has nothing to do with transhumanism. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

'Obscure words and the computer spell check' ('if it can possibly correct to the wrong word/cause embarrassment it will - you miss out the 'r' from importance and it decides you want a Freudian slip).

I took 'an unlikely plant' (not being triffid nor ent).

'In the long run' Homo sapiens sapience will be [1] and some other living creature (including [2] revived) will take its place: transhumanism seems to concentrate on Humans 1.1 and further upgrades. 82.44.143.26 (talk) 16:51, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Without hope of being proven right or wrong, I will go with eusocial Blattodea as the progenitors of the next step, or possibly some Borg-like colony along the lines of present-day cnidarians. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:39, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
There are two components to the discussion: that humans as we know them will evolve - and there may well be Homo sapiens eloisius and homo sapience morlockis, and eventually homo aliud sapiens; and that eventually humans will become extinct/leave the Earth and 'some other entity' will take over - whether 'pet odd creature', firefox or these critters [3]. 82.44.143.26 (talk) 16:20, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Comparisons to evolution and the end times[edit]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mkbYyGNQYA

The most recent end times lore consists of Christians rambling on about Transhumanism and the End Times.

Basically Evolution (Or, their definition) is to slow of a process, so science will use transhumanism to "speed up" evolution... or something like that.

Basically man wants immortality, sped up evolution, etc. So we get it from (insert bogeyman here), God doesn't like that, and he comes back.

The problem with Transhumance is - the solutions suggested are unlikely to match the questions 'asked' by 'the processes which encourage evolution' (see technology in any SF film 'set 20 years in the future' and what actually is in use - spacetravel excluded as a simplistic equivalent). 82.44.143.26 (talk) 16:29, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

"Whole brain emulation"[edit]

I think the paragraph needs updating. Specifically,
...but the technology to fully simulate a human brain (in the sense meant by transhumanists, at least) is a long way away.
While historically much of AI research and effort was along the lines of emulating the human brain, modern AI development no longer adheres to this. Current AI research attempts to create machines that can interact with the environment and learn from those interactions in a way that is independent of other systems' (eg a human brain) processes. In other words, look at the process of learning instead of the process of processing the information. That still sounds convoluted. One more try: Looking at how anything learns about its environment is now more of the focus as opposed to how a brain physically works, which are two very different things. That change in approach seems to bring the possibility of AI closer in the timeline. If I can find some good sources, I'll include them. But for now, I need to get back to teaching HAL how to read lips. InfinitelySingular (talk) 14:27, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

More citations needed[edit]

I have requested quite a few more citations on the article 16:27, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Describing the Ideals of the movement (In Theory)[edit]

Most of this seems to be written as nothing more than a hit-piece. After reading the "promise of transhumanism" section I realized that it might be helpful if you had more, well, positives of the movement, as currently the article does a very poor job of actually describing transhumanism. IE, discussion of the ethics of radical life extension, or other such things. Or maybe describing things like extrasensory augmentation, or possibilities of human genetic engineering. Maybe something from more credible members of the movement, if they're out there?

I'm not wanting to make a "golden mean" fallacy, here, but much of the severity of the criticism seems to come from the fact that it's conflated as being purely libertarian. The article itself also leaves out many important aspects of the movement. Morphological freedom is not mentioned once, which is the idea that people should be able to modify their bodies however they want. This certainly is distinct from the ideas of eugenics. Forced sterilizations are grave violations of morphological freedom.

And then, after showing any possible virtues, then it gets picked apart and shows the various flaws with the idea in practice. Cryonics is quite silly. Singularitarians have some overlap, and they're silly. People who ignore science and engage in woo are quite silly. However, without actual context for what the movement is really like, this article just seems more like a hit piece than an actual useful source of information. — Unsigned, by: 134.124.235.88 / talk / contribs

Well, this article has been up for about 7 years and no one has come with more positives or things that have sort of grounding in reality besides what's in the article. You seem to like it, and dislike the criticisms, but are unable to articulate a rebuttal while hoping someone else will be able to. I understand, but maybe you could spend some time researching your beliefs and come back to do so yourself instead of letting other people do the hard thinking for you. Doing so at least will give you a grounding in your ideas. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 22:39, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Actually loads of it is uncited and I'm incrementally removing such elements. Deku-shrub (talk) 00:09, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
Except I just came up with several more positives for it. I specificaly acknowledged many of the criticisms as being valid (such as criticisms of cryonics and criticisms of singularitarians), and specifically pointed out parts which I found to be inaccurate (conflating the movement as being entirely composed of internet libertarians). I also pointed out a specific core principle of trans-humanism which is not once mentioned by the article, that being morphological freedom, and the disingenuous nature of comparing the movement to eugenics, as eugenics grossly violates the principle of morphological freedom. The fact that such a core principle as morphological freedom is not once mentioned by the article is evidence of its rather poor quality. You have severely misrepresented my actual post. I am not asking others to do the hard thinking for me. It is blatantly false that I failed to articulate specific criticisms, as I just listed several specific criticisms I already mentioned. And it is disingenuous for you to assume that simply because an article has been up for a long time, there must not be further positive aspects to be explored. EDIT: I read the latest edited version, it's very much improved from what I read last time. I might try to add something on morphological freedom perhaps. Maybe something else as to the scientific plausibility or lack thereof of cryonics and life extension (there are apparently some very solid arguments against being able to revive any of the currently preserved brains, I'll try to find the article to cite it). I might also try to outline some of the different strands of transhumanism, such as singularitarianism, democratic transhumanism (combining social democracy with transhumanism), libertarian transhumanism (Etc.) Erik Tiber (talk) 02:44, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

Deku-shrub[edit]

@Deku-shrub I'm aware you are part of the transhumanist party so please stop consistently removing content that doesn't agree with you.—Hamburguesa con queso con un cara Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 18:11, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

Solution to mind uploading problems[edit]

I am pretty sure that this has already been proposed, and the article certainly alludes to it, but if we use the single-neuron scanning equipment to scan an entire brain, there is no "swap-man" since the original is dead. Now, we only have to deal with the fairly simple issues of who to test it out on (it fails, u dead, remember), and the legality of it (you WOULD be killing them), plus the other issues (prossessing power, ect). None of this matters though untill we gain a better understanding of HOW the neurons opporate- in theroy, if we gain enough of an idea, we can vastly simplify the prossess. — Unsigned, by: TheMageKing / talk / contribs

I love that optimism where people just stand back, clap their hands together and go:
"Well, assuming [wild sci-fi fantasy] actually could be done (both in theory and in practice), and assuming it IS done — all that's really left for us to worry about now is the ethics of how to apply it and sorting out some minutiae regarding how best to power it."
Like, yeah — let's start with our priorities straight: coming up with a cool name and deciding on a paint job.
I'm sure the whole actually-inventing-and-constructing-the-HIGHLY-speculative-technology part will sort itself out along the way somehow. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:53, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Honestly, I don't think everything about transhumanism is necessarily a blind optimism. You may think that the idea of "love-enhancing drugs" is science fiction, to say the least, but I really can't see why this couldn't be possible. We already know a lot substances that affects the mood and emotions (antidepressants, for example). So, if love, anger, and fear are emotions that arises from the physical brain, changing the way the brain works, we can change the way these emotions work. Just look at what we already accomplished: space travel, genetic engineering, cure for a lot of diseases. Sure, none of this guarantees that all of the predictions made by transhumanists will become reality one day (and that idea that we will be able to reproduce the brain in a computer on the next 10 years is pretty absurd indeed), but a lot of the things they predicted could actually become truth. With love and a terrible english, Verossimio Espagnado (talk) 13:36, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Cliché Criticism[edit]

Can the editors rise above the cliché criticism of transhumanism where one is seemingly convinced that none of it is ever going to happen and it's a total fantasy but feels this incongruous need to elaborate about how it's hideously unethical, which is not how one usually responds to things that one believes will never happen?— Unsigned, by: 204.186.128.64 / talk / contribs

If you find a toy gun, and you believe it's a real gun, and you try to shoot an innocent person with it, the fact that I know it's a toy, and thus think you're dumb for believing it, and simultaneously can believe you're unethical for wanting to shoot someone with what you believe to be a real gun.
Or more on topic for the wiki, if you're an evangelical christian, I can both disagree with the likeliehood that a dead jewish carpenter from 2000 years ago is god, and morally condemn you for ahdereing to a religion that condemns people to hell for being gay. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:29, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
The issue is whether you are justified in believing that the gun is a toy. Speaking of guns, the biggest funder of transhumanist projects by far is not Silicon Valley startups, as many of you appear to believe, but the military and civilian defense sector of the United States. You can be assured that toy guns are not involved. Generally the editors of the article seem hilariously uninformed, for example treating the computational theory of mind as hotly debated or even a crackpot idea, rather than what it is (namely mainstream cognitive science). You should probably rectify all that shit before you make pompous pronouncements about how transhumanism is all "woo". — Unsigned, by: 4.59.138.57 / talk
My position on the gun being a toy is pretty clear. It's not at issue at all in this overextended metaphor.
To answer your(are you the same person? who knows! get an account!) new charge, a simple control+f of our article for "fund" finds that we only mention funding once in the context of military funding. Doesn't seem like the misrepresentation you claim. And silicon valley is only mentioned in the context of ideology, not funding, checking the contrapositive of your assertion. If you have complaints about the article, at least make them about the article that exists, not some hypothetical one. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:47, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
The article itself mentions the Silicon Valley only once, but that is just one example of a pattern I've noticed, where critics of transhumanism try to assure themselves that it's not happening because it's this all just this cult of weirdo (presumably also white, some of the time, but anyway definitely privileged cishet male) nerds in the San Francisco Bay Area. And these people will bray about techbro this and techbro that ("a strongly-held belief among many computer geeks" etc.) but are less eager to talk about the fact that the idea that machine intelligence could outstrip human intelligence is just about as old as the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence themselves. Alan Turing predicted that machines would one day outstrip humankind, referring to the late 19th century novel Erewhon (oh b-b-b-but that's science fiction!) and, if I recall correctly, John von Neumann did much the same. These two were seminal figures in the founding of computer science, just as Marvin Minsky and Herbert Simon were seminal figures in the founding of artificial intelligence, both of whom were very sanguine about the prospect of eventual machine intelligence, of artificial general intelligence. And here the "it's just the techbros!" claim dies.
The incredulity concerning the computational theory of mind that I referred to earlier is a further example of where self-proclaimed "rationalists" fail hard. They are often so utterly unfamiliar with the available literature that they think that CTM is a hotly contested idea, when it's not. The following is a passage from a leading introductory text in cognitive science, Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science, by Canadian philosopher Paul Thagard:
Here is the central hypothesis of cognitive science: Thinking can best be understood in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures. Although there is much disagreement about the nature of the representations and computations that constitute thinking, the central hypothesis is general enough to encompass the current range of thinking in cognitive science, including connectionist theories. For short, I call the approach to understanding the mind based on this central hypothesis CRUM, for Computational-Representational Understanding of Mind. —Paul Thagard
He later acknowledges that CRUM may be false (like any other empirical set of statements, really) but then asserts, not wrongly, that CRUM has been the most progressive approach to the major questions of cognitive science by far and that most cognitive scientists adhere to CRUM in fact. This fact is very frequently ignored by putative "skeptics" and "rationalists" and, indeed, the disconnect between claiming to adhere to the available science and failing miserably to do so in fact that I've seen is almost surreal.
And where exactly am I going with all of this? Well, I suppose the most important point is that putative "rationalists" are very frequently less than eager, strangely, about developments that may well make humans much more rational than apes barely distinguished from chimpanzees. For my part, I've only encountered empty blithering about how "they wouldn't be human anymore!" (so?) I would also add that rationalizations about how it's all just so infeasible should be retired soon when things like this are already a reality, not at some unspecified point in the future, but today, now:
It’s Now Possible To Telepathically Communicate with a Drone Swarm
On this note, I suggest a profound shift away from "this is not happening and will never happen" towards drilling down on what you think is so unethical about these prospects (and that doesn't just mean saying "problematic"). When I say this, I don't mean that you will actually succeed in getting rid of these ideas, because, really, c'mon, you have utterly no influence, but I do mean that you will at least leave pure wishful thinking behind in favor of something resembling an actual argument. And that's a step up to be sure.
And as far as me not making an account is concerned: that seems like investing a lot of effort in what will ultimately prove futile. Frankly I'm surprised that I'm even where I am just now. I can't say I've often seen putative "skeptics" and "rationalists" living up to their claims of welcoming the free exchange of ideas. More typically, it's "we don't like your ideas; goodbye". I imagine that editing the page as such will prove pointless and I am happy to keep my discussion here, in the less conspicuous talk page. Sound good? — Unsigned, by: 204.186.128.64 / talk / contribs
I'd be more willing to have a discussion with you if you didn't change the subject every reply. Do you specifically want to discuss CRUM? Give me a focal point for us to discuss because right now I can't figure out what you want, other than a less critical perspective in general. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:22, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
I suppose we can start with CRUM. Another topic I am interested in, though, is why human irrationality should be treated any differently than dumping toxic effluents into a river or something like this, given that they both cause extraordinary damage. Secular humanists frequently seem to be tolerant and even supportive of human irrationality, despite claims to the contrary, so this is a topic I am especially interesting into delving into further. — Unsigned, by: 204.186.128.64 / talk