TransVision Thursday Afternoon Session II
26 July 2007 (updated 15 August 2007)
I’m in Chicago for TransVision 2007. Here are some notes and thoughts from Thursday afternoon session II.
Natasha Vita-More spoke on the future of the human body. The posthuman … Is it disembodied, a cyborg, an aggregate of such things? The impending future human is the posthuman. There are commonalities to major visions of the future human. Architecture is art, a monument to humanity’s endurance. At each new phase in architecture, we look at how to restructure for endurance. We lack a design for ensuring long term existence. Disembodied information: posthuman as an information pattern. The concept of disembodied info is suspect because all info requires substrate. Deconstructed DNA: posthuman as modified biological basis of life. Some have argued that this would have dangerous results, removing a biological basis for ethics. Enhancements are desired, and who should be allowed to withhold them based on a judgment that it is not a cure. Prosthetic impulse: posthuman as a cyborg. The material body has always been prosthetic, according to some. Replacing and enhancing body parts has been increasing for millenia. Science-fiction man/machine: the posthuman as a another form of cyborg. Films tend to have negative dystopian views of the future, with a techno-totalitarianism flavor. Some are looking at the cyborg as its own gender. Uninterrupted evolution: posthuman as matter in motion. Use of regular human body enhances emotional recognition of continued existence. This is the future human! It is enhancing both individual and species well-being. We are adapting to support and sustain well-being. Our human nature is complex, changing and growing. The bottom line is continued existence. Concern is not the architecture of human design, but what is lacking. Flexibility, adaptibility, endurance, etc. We are distributed embodied information. If the artificial is not better than the natural then to what end are all the arts of life? Conclusion is that the best way to view posthumans is by looking at both the community and the individual. We won’t have less spirituality.
Philippe Van Nedervelde spoke about responsible nanotech. There are serious challenges that lead some to think we’re doomed unless we can spread beyond earth. The lifeboat foundation is about saving humanity from existential risks. Existential threats are the problem. The earth is at stake. We are in danger. A perfect storm is coming. Death is what happens while you are making other plans. Be prepared. All we hold dear is at stake. To get a shot at longevity, we’ll need to survive the next decades. What are the horrors? There are cosmic and manmade risks. Asteroids may strike. Gamma ray bursts or mega flares from sun could hit. A rogue black hole may hit. Unfriendly aliens may come. Global thermonuclear war may be started. A pathogen may be engineered to kill. The emergence of AI could go wrong. Nano WMDs could be unleashed. There are yet others to be considered and mitigated to the extent possible. ADC stands for asymmetric destructive capability. Little is needed to destroy. Large scale destruction is possible from less resources. Current WMDs are nothing compared to nanotech weapons. SIMAD stands for single individual massive ability for destruction. The unabomber is an example. Precautions, prevention, warnings and counter-measures are possible. Lifeboat Foundation consists of Trans-survivalists. We should monitor psychology in education. Mental health and behavior monitoring should be implemented.