The Transhumanist Association gathered last month in Chicago to discuss issues relating to the idea that humans are in the process of evolving from organic beings to a sort of machine/organic hybridized animal that will have spectacular mental abilities and will effectively attain immortality when Artificial Intelligence routines are sufficiently developed.
Sound a bit crazy to you? In my opinion this techno-hybridization of our species is already happening, and the process of integrating biology and technology has been going on pretty much since the beginning of tool use by primates. Corneal transplants and lasik surgery, for example, are fairly significant modifications and enhancements to our “natural”capabilities. Artificial organs even more so. Use a computer lately? This is just another of many ways we use technology as an interface between our human intellect and non-human helping devices.
Sure it’s another step forward to have our brains getting downloaded or to have neurons integrated with chips (lots of neat experiments are going on with this organic / silicon stuff now), but it’s not to be feared. Rather we should embrace the potential here to solve many of the most pressing problems of the world – problems like global poverty, warfare, and health that we often fail to adequately address, let alone solve.
Here’s a nice article about the Transhumanist conference
Kurzweil’s newsletter noted that one of the provocative notions at the conference, from Sirius Satellite founder Martine Rothblatt
… The idea is that people should be creating digital mindfiles throughout their
lives that could be used to revive them by means of mindware when
sufficiently strong artificial intelligence is developed …
Wow, how’s THAT for an Attention based economy? More like an Attention based Jean Paul Sartre “Being and Nothingness” philosophizing extravaganza. Cool. Count me in.