Science Information

Movin On: Taking Transhumanism in Stride


Back in the seventies, we watched "The Six Million Dollar Man", a popular television show about a trained agent who was critically injured and given the gift of technology--bionic legs and super vision.

Lee Majors portrayed a man capable of leaping tall buildings and scanning the landscape at night. We marveled at the possibility of creating a human with superior qualities. In the opening sequence of each episode, we heard the phrase, "We have the technology." The implication was that we could--and should--use it to transform a high market value man into a formidable man/machine mix.

My definition of an excellent human is someone who is mindful of maximizing his or her own potential for creativity and compassion. That seems like plenty to tackle, but there is an emerging school of thought that suggests we ought to become excellent superhumans.

Transhumanists believe that the continual evolution of humans requires the--key word here-- ethical use of technology to help us live better, longer lives. For them, a life span of 80 years may be what "nature intended" for this decade, but our role as 21st century humans is to use what we've learned to improve upon nature.

These aren't doom and gloom types who live in a fantasy world or anticipate a future run by robots. Transhumanists are passionately optimistic about the role of humans. They're excited about the possibilities for people to truly maximize their potential. They believe that human development is limited only by our current technology.

We're seeing evidence of this every day. Fertility clinics offer a range of effective treatments unthinkable a few decades ago. We're captivated by the extreme makeover shows featuring dramatic physical transformations of those willing to endure multiple surgeries and painful recovery periods. We know people who have benefited from pacemakers, cochlear implants, laser vision surgery, prosthetic devices, and cosmetic dentistry.

Transhumanists embrace these techniques and many more as a desirable progression toward utilizing technology as a tool for human improvement. They envision a time when we can eliminate disease, enhance memory, develop superior senses, and create physical bodies resistant to aging.

This build-a-better-human view isn't universally accepted, but it's important to look at how our ideas of "improvement" have changed over the years. Eyeglasses were once viewed as an unnecessary and unwelcome manipulation of our God-given eyesight. The current hot topics such as stem- cell research will one day elicit the same yawns with which we greet news of eyebrow lifts or fertility drug-induced twins.

What does it mean to go beyond human? As long as humans are in charge, is it possible to do anything that might be considered beyond the realm of human potential? Is there a need for ethical controls or legal restrictions if advances in science are seen as the desired result of natural human achievement? Is all fair in love and war--and science?

We love ethical debates about the nature of nature. Instead of focusing on a particular new-fangled technique, we'd do well to frame our rejection or acceptance of transhumanism in terms of the bigger picture--is technology a natural part of human evolution? Do we have a responsibility to use science as a tool to improve the human experience- including the human body?

I'm always open to improving, and that goes for my definition of excellence. If we can develop superhuman brains and bodies, can we also look forward to tremendous gains in creativity and compassion? Transhumanists get us thinking about the potential for humanity over the long haul.

Now that's excellent.

About The Author

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 90 countries. She serves up a satisfying blend of clarity, comfort and comic relief in her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage. To subscribe, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.

maya@massageyourmind.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


CNN

Trump's administration's seven banned words are an attack on science
CNN
Despite these denials, it's not hard to believe the Washington Post story. After all, this would not be the Trump administration's first attack on scientists or their abilities to communicate to the public. Since his days on the campaign trail, Donald ...
Trump's Censorship of Science Will Kill PeopleNewsweek
Reported CDC ban on terms such as 'fetus,' 'science-based' alarms health leadersSyracuse.com
Trump administration gives CDC list of banned words, including 'science-based,' 'fetus,' 'transgender'Q13 FOX
Engadget -Vox -Washington Post
all 350 news articles »


LA Daily News

Torrance Unified takes science standards seriously
LA Daily News
As schools nationwide take on the most comprehensive overhaul of science standards in 20 years, Torrance Unified has become a pace-setter. Without relying on outside funding, or major grant money, the South Bay's largest school system has trained more ...



The Verge

Read an excerpt from Eliot Peper's new science fiction thriller, Bandwidth
The Verge
A couple of years ago, I read Cumulus, a self-published book by Eliot Peper. The novel follows three characters in a near-future San Francisco, which is divided into a super-wealthy tech elite and the downtrodden customers who use their services. It's ...



Savannah Grove Elementary to become computer science immersion school
SCNow
FLORENCE, S.C. – Savannah Grove Elementary School will become a computer science immersion school, and the program is set to launch in January. Students will have the opportunity to learn fundamentals of computer coding as part of their daily ...



7 Science-Backed Ways That Show Coffee Can Actually Be Good For You
ScienceAlert
7 Science-Backed Ways That Show Coffee Can Actually Be Good For You. Coffee addicts, rejoice! KEVIN LORIA, BUSINESS INSIDER. 17 DEC 2017. Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world - for good reason. It wakes us up, helps us stay ...

and more »


Study finds humanities and social science Ph.Ds working outside academe are happier than their tenure-track peers ...
Inside Higher Ed
With the dearth of available tenure-track faculty positions, professional organizations and others are working to change how Ph.D. programs prepare students for the careers they're likely to have outside academe. In good news for those efforts, a new ...



NBCNews.com

Is Star Wars' 'The Last Jedi' science fiction? It's time to settle this age-old argument.
NBCNews.com
"The Last Jedi" is built around magic and mysticism and backwards-looking nostalgia for a time of knights and royal houses. Those are tropes of fantasy, not of future-obsessed science fiction. Or is it? To figure out whether Star Wars is science ...

and more »


The Guardian

Heinz Wolff obituary
The Guardian
Heinz Wolff, who has died aged 89, was one of a long line of distinguished British scientists who became even more distinguished television presenters and apostles of science. With his trademark bow tie, quizzical look, characteristic pronunciation ...

and more »


The Verge

A century after Arthur C. Clarke's birth, science fiction is still following ...
The Verge
At some point, most science fiction readers come across the “Big Three” authors from its so-called Golden Age: Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. Over the course of his lifetime, Clarke witnessed the birth of the space age, and ...

and more »


The Guardian

Playing God: should we revive extinct species?
The Guardian
Critics claim that although you can breed for similar appearance, you cannot recreate the animal's behaviour and ecology. The same may be true of a project to revive the woolly mammoth, which has yet to progress beyond the early stages. So what next? I ...


Google News

home | site map | Xray Photography
© 2006