NEW!!! Human enhancement
March 10, 2010
What “Irrelevance” Means and What It Doesn’t
I have proposed that a scenario of slower-than-disruptive tech development over the next 15-20 years combined with weak or reduced opposition to human enhancement could result in “increasing irrelevance” for transhumanists. But what exactly does that mean? (IEET)
January 25, 2010
Problems of Transhumanism: Liberal Democracy vs. Technocratic Absolutism
Transhumanists, like Enlightenment partisans in general, believe that human nature can be improved but are conflicted about whether liberal democracy is the best path to betterment. The liberal tradition within the Enlightenment has argued that individuals are best at finding their own interests and should be left to improve themselves in self-determined ways. But many people are mistaken about their own best interests, and more rational elites may have a better understanding of the general good. Enlightenment partisans have often made a case for modernizing monarchs and scientific dictatorships. Transhumanists need to confront this tendency to disparage liberal democracy in favor of the rule by dei ex machina and technocratic elites. (IEET)
November 25, 2009
In 2003, the idea that one might have a freedom to change one’s body and brain as one liked was being discussed in relation to the Transhumanist FAQ. This idea receives much less attention in the current FAQ, where it is largely replaced by a lesser freedom to enhance. This is interesting, because morphological freedom has significant implications. (IEET)
November 20, 2009
The Singularity Is Near—Future for Artificial Intelligence
IBM’s Blue Gene brain simulation has made gains in one of the most sophisticated tasks man has ever taken on—creating artificial intelligence (AI). With the true AI milestone comes the dawn of the singularity, when computers overtake humans. Contributing editor Glenn Reynolds looks into the future and wonders; what happens after the singularity? (Popular Mechanics)
November 4, 2009
New Issue of Philosophy & Public Affairs is Now Available
Philosophy & Public Affairs (Volume 37, Issue 4, Fall 2009) is now available by subscription only.
- “The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience” by Selim Berker, 293-329.
- “Neuroscience and Moral Reasoning: A Note on Recent Research” by F.M. Kamm, 330-345.
- “Moral Status and Human Enhancement” by Allen Buchanan, 346-414.
September 24, 2009
Kurzweil: ‘a world where humans become cyborgs’ only 20 years away
61-year-old Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award winner, futurist and inventor guy Ray Kurzweil has made a lot of wild predictions that end up being appealing or terrifying. One of those is his belief that, within the next 20-25 years, our mastery of nanotechnology will be at such a level that we’ll basically be immortal cyborgs. So, hey — how’s that sound? (DVICE)
September 3, 2009
What are the Dangers and Benefits of Transhumanism?
Transhumanism is, essentially, the advanced tech-art of improving both the physical and mental capacities of human beings with the aid of existing and emerging 21st century technologies in the Bio, Info and Nano (BIN) spheres. At present, transhumanism is fast becoming an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. Transhumanism is symbolised by H+ or h+ and is often used as a synonym for “Human Enhancement”. (mi2g)
August 20, 2009
Lab Bench Ethics: Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic
Many practitioners, for instance, do not realize that their scientific research may have ethical ramifications, Grinnell said. When scientists repeat their experiments, they accumulate ten to fifteen notebooks with many sets of data that eventually become a paper. (Science Progress)
June 24, 2009
New Issue of Artificial Intelligence Review is Now Available
Artificial Intelligence Review (Volume 28, Number 3, October 2007) is now available by subscription only.
- “Human–Computer input and output techniques: an analysis of current research and promising applications” by Marco Porta, 197-226.
June 16, 2009
New Issue of Dialog is Now Available
Dialog (Volume 48, Issue 2, Summer 2009) is now available by subscription only.
- “Animals and the Image of God in the Bible and Beyond ” by Joshua M. Moritz, 134-146.
- “The Animal that Aspires to be an Angel: The Challenge of Transhumanism” by Philip Hefner, 158-167.
- “Human Dignity—A Theological and Confucian Discussion” by Pilgrim W.K. LO, 168-178.
June 9, 2009
Book Review: Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity (The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology)
The notions of biomedical enhancement and our possible posthuman future are very much, so to speak, topics du jour in the bioethical literature. Over the past few years a number of books have appeared that address the ethical issues that surround our using medical technology not simply to treat disorders, but to increase our capacities beyond their normal range, perhaps even to the point where we no longer can be counted as human. These include landmark works by John Harris (Enhancing Evolution) and Michael Sandel (The Case Against Perfection), along with other excellent and thought-provoking works by the likes of Jürgen Habermas and Francis Fukuyama, as well as a first-rate edited collection (Human Enhancement) produced by Julian Savulescu and Nick Bostrom. (Metapsychology)
May 11, 2009
Transhumanism: Does Enhancement Kill “You”?
Dr. Susan Schneider, IEET fellow and assistant professor of philosophy and an affiliated faculty member with Penns Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, speaks at a UPenn Media Seminar on Neuroscience and Society on philosophical controversies surrounding cognitive enhancement. (IEET)
May 7, 2009
Ray Kurzweil: A singular view of the future
For inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, being human with limited intelligence and doomed biology was never good enough. So he came up with an idea called the Singularity – a time when humans merge with machines, become smart and live forever. From MIT to the White House, people either hate the idea or can’t wait for it to happen. So, asks Liz Else, will any of us live long enough to see it? (New Scientist)
May 1, 2009
EU advises on posthuman cyborg future
Philosophers and engineers have debated whether or not we are all gradually becoming post-human cyborgs for decades. Now, the European Parliament is meeting to debate the issues next month.
The European Parliament is set to debate issues surrounding smart drugs, cybernetic body enhancements, cosmetic surgery and more over the coming months to “establish an advisory committee on all aspects of human enhancement, the first committee of its kind.” (TechRadar UK)
Transhumanism and the Limits of Democracy
What is transhumanism? A pretty good definition is offered by bioethicist and transhumanist James Hughes who states that transhumanism is “the idea that humans can use reason to transcend the limitation of the human condition.”[i] Specifically, transhumanists welcome the development of intimate technologies that will enable people to boost their life spans, enhance their intellectual capacities, augment their athletic abilities, and choose their preferred emotional states. What’s particularly noteworthy is that Hughes argues that democratic decision-making is central to the task of guiding humanity into the transhuman future. (Reason Magazine)
April 24, 2009
A crash course in emerging technologies
In a spare one-room office at Nasa’s Silicon Valley campus, a small band of futurists is plotting to save the world. The means are not a revolutionary technology or a new world order (though both may be byproducts). Rather, a new, pseudo-academic institution called Singularity University is going to solve our grand challenges: poverty, hunger, energy scarcity and climate change. Among others. Through a combination of techno-optimism, wide-eyed idealism and belief in the perfectibility of human beings, these well-connected geeks are creating an institution meant to legitimise their most extreme thinking. (Financial Times)
April 14, 2009
New Issue of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy is Now Available
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Volume 12, Number 2, May 2009) is now available by subscription only.
- “Human nature, medicine & health care” by Bert Gordijn and Wim Dekkers, 119.
- “Medical technologies and the life world: an introduction to the theme” by Fredrik Svenaeus, 121-123.
- “Genomics and identity: the bioinformatisation of human life” by Hub Zwart, 125-136.
- “Self and other in global bioethics: critical hermeneutics and the example of different death concepts” by Kristin Zeiler, 137-145.
- “The silencing of Kierkegaard in Habermas’ critique of genetic enhancement” by Karin Christiansen, 147-156.
- “The hermeneutic challenge of genetic engineering: Habermas and the transhumanists” by Andrew Edgar, 157-167.
- “The ethics of self-change: becoming oneself by way of antidepressants or psychotherapy?” by Fredrik Svenaeus, 169-178.
- “Living longer: age retardation and autonomy” by Elisabeth Hildt, 179-185.
- “Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: does age of onset matter (anymore)?” by Timothy Krahn, 187-202.
- “Should or should not forensic psychiatrists think about free will?” by Gerben Meynen, 203-212.
- “Rationality and religion in the public debate on embryo stem cell research and prenatal diagnostics” by Bjørn K. Myskja, 213-224.
March 23, 2009
Nietzche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism
When I first became familiar with the transhumanist movement, I immediately thought that there were many fundamental similarities between transhumanism and Nietzsche’s philosophy, especially concerning the concept of the posthuman and that of Nietzsche’s overhuman. This is what I wish to show in this article. I am employing the term “overhuman instead of “overman,” because in German the term Übermensch can apply to both sexes, which the notion overhuman can, but overman cannot. I discovered, however, that Bostrom, a leading transhumanist, rejects Nietzsche as an ancestor of the transhumanist movement, as he claims that there are merely some “surface-level similarities with the Nietzschean vision” (Bostrom 2005a, 4). (Journal of Evolution & Technology)
February 6, 2009
Future Minds: Transhumanism, Cognitive Enhancement and the Nature of Persons
Abstract: After covering the basic tenets of Transhumanism, I discuss what I take to be the most important philosophical element of the transhumanist picture—its unique perspective on the nature and development of persons. Examining the enhancement issue through the vantage point of the metaphysical problem of personal identity presents a serious challenge to Transhumanism. Indeed, this is a pressing issue for any argument made for or against enhancement. (IEET)
January 21, 2009
Teilhard and Transhumanism
The Journal of Evolution and Technology of the IEET has a very interesting and thoughtful article by Eric Steinhart on Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism.
Teilhard is almost surely the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence. He discusses the spread of human intelligence into the universe and its amplification into a cosmic intelligence. (IEET)
January 5, 2009
New Issue of Artificial Life and Robotics is Now Available
Artificial Life and Robotics (Volume 13, Number 1, December 2008) is now available by subscription only.
- “Human breeders for evolving robots” by Orazio Miglino, Onofrio Gigliotta, Michela Ponticorvo and Henrik H. Lund, 1-4.
- “Stochastic determinism underlying life: systematic theory for assisting the synthesis of artificial cells and new medicines” by Ken Naitoh, 10-17.
- “Engine for cerebral development” by Ken Naitoh, 22-26.
- “A human-machine cooperative system for generating sign language animation using thermal image” by Taro Asada, Yasunari Yoshitomi and Risa Hayashi, 36-40.
- “Inevitability of spiral-shape in DNA” by Ken Naitoh and Motohide Yahiro, 77-80.
- “Backward movement control with two-trailer truck system using genetic programming” by Takanori Ogawa, Naoki Oshiro and Hiroshi Kinjo, 89-93.
- “An integrated circuit design of a silicon neuron and its measurement results” by Munehisa Sekikawa, Takashi Kohno and Kazuyuki Aihara, 116-119.
- “Adaptive crossover, mutation and selection using fuzzy system for genetic algorithms” by Soung-Min Im and Ju-Jang Lee, 129-133.
- “A probabilistic simulator for population dynamics of quasispecies” by Masayuki Fujisawa and Yoshiteru Ishida, 167-171.
- “Reverse engineering of spatial patterns in cellular automata” by Yuuichi Ichise and Yoshiteru Ishida, 172-175.
- “The medical diagnostic support system using extended Rough Neural Network and Multiagent” by Daisuke Yamaguchi, Fumiyo Katayama, Muneo Takahashi, Masataka Arai and Kenneth J. Mackin, 184-187.
- “The diversification of proto-cells driven by membrane permselectivity” by Masaomi Hatakeyama and Takashi Hashimoto, 194-198.
- “Design of robotic behavior that imitates animal consciousness” by Eiji Hayashi and Motoki Shimono, 203-208.