VIDEO: I'm transhuman. I'm going to become digital - BBC * 2023
VIDEO: I'm transhuman. I'm going to become digital - BBC * 2023

What is the concept of transhumanism?

Several people contributed to the definition of transhumanism, which was originated by Max More. Greg Burch, David Pearce, Kathryn Aegis, and Anders Sandberg kindly offered extensive editorial comments. Transhumanism is a philosophical movement dedicated to the technological improvement of the human condition. This is some transhumanists’ dream, a future where we can completely trick out our bodies and transcend the limitations of human biology.

Transhuman, or trans-human, is the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman. In other words, a transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects, but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans. These abilities might include improved intelligence, awareness, strength, or durability. Transhumans appear in science-fiction, sometimes as cyborgs or genetically-enhanced humans. Another topic of transhumanist research is how to protect humanity against existential risks, such as nuclear war or asteroid collision.

Transhumanism is a philosophical and intellectual movement which advocates the enhancement of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies that can greatly enhance longevity and cognition.

Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of using such technologies. Some transhumanists believe that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the current condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.


Transhumanism elevating the human condition?

Transhumanists are all people who seek to improve their biology by enhancing their bodies with technology and believe that our natural condition inhibits our experience of the world and that we can transcend our current abilities through science. Today, we can alter our bodies in ways previously unimaginable, whether by implanting microchips, fitting advanced prosthetics, or even designing entirely new senses.

It is a matter of debate whether transhumanism is a branch of posthumanism and how this philosophical movement should be conceptualised with regard to transhumanism. The latter is often referred to as a variant or activist form of posthumanism by its conservative, Christian and progressive critics.

A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve and eventually will supplement or supersede it. Transhumanism stresses the evolutionary perspective, including sometimes the creation of a highly intelligent animal species by way of cognitive enhancement (i.e. biological uplift),but clings to a “posthuman future” as the final goal of participant evolution.

Nevertheless, the idea of creating intelligent artificial beings (proposed, for example, by roboticist Hans Moravec) has influenced transhumanism. Moravec’s ideas and transhumanism have also been characterised as a “complacent” or “apocalyptic” variant of posthumanism and contrasted with “cultural posthumanism” in humanities and the arts.

While such a “cultural posthumanism” would offer resources for rethinking the relationships between humans and increasingly sophisticated machines, transhumanism and similar posthumanisms are, in this view, not abandoning obsolete concepts of the “autonomous liberal subject”, but are expanding its “prerogatives” into the realm of the posthuman. Transhumanist self-characterisations as a continuation of humanism and Enlightenment thinking correspond with this view.

What is regarded as being transhuman?

Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase. It is about how technology will eventually interact and integrate with human beings, and how we may eventually live on after death.

Great advances in technology, scientific and medical processes mean that in someways, we’re already living a transhumanistic life. Transhumanism practises can be anything from cryogenics, IVF, implants and artificial limbs and the speed in which technology and robotics are advancing all the time.


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