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Transhumanism and crazy endeavours

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Melchior
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#1

Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:29 PM

So I'm constantly hearing vague pictures painted of transhumanism but without any kind of time frame. I've heard that stopping and reversing ageing is excitingly close and we've made some baby steps towards artificial organs, but it's hard to piece together an idea of when we'll actually become "posthuman" and whether or not I'll be alive to see it. Perhaps our knowledge of the subject combined could produce a more comprehensive idea of just how close we are.

 

Then there's all the crazy endeavours. Sea and space colonisation and time travel, being the big ones. I know those aren't around the corner but like, when!? How theoretically possible are they?

 

I'd like to know where we're at as a species, basically. Perhaps too ambitious a task for a GTA forum, but let's give it a go.

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Mr. House
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#2

Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:01 PM

I wanted to make a topic about this, but clearly I'm not as crazy as you in the expectation that this topic will not die a short death.

 

Transhumanism to me sounds like a fantastic idea. I mean in a sense, it already does exist to a small extent. Pacemakers are the most common form of adding artificial items to human biology, but there are also a larger amount of people who have lost their limbs who are using robotic prosthetics. Prosthetic forearms are most common and the most 'user friendly', but their are full arm prototypes which have been shown to work on command. Robotic prosthetic legs also exist and are in use by a few people. More impressively (in my opinion) is the prosthetic eye technology, which can 'cure' blindness, which has been trailed with success. 

 

Anyway the birth pangs for 'tanshumanism' has been around for decades, maybe more, in the form of iron lungs, the aforementioned pacemakers plastic limbs, fake eyes and even walking sticks.

 

As for internal organs which are more difficult to replace with artificial ones, well there are prototypes of artificial lung implants and actual replacement lungs bloop bloop

 

I don't think that a society in which people regularly have electronic replacements for missing limbs and failing internal organs is that far off. The technology is there in theory, the main real issue is funding and later affordability. The only types which receive heavy funding are prosthetic limbs, which are mainly funded by the military for obvious reasons.


CatDog96
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#3

Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:03 PM Edited by CatDog96, 24 March 2014 - 05:07 PM.

Time travel is not possible


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#4

Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:17 PM

Space colonization will be possible within the century. If you're optimistic, maybe before 2050. The idea is feasible, it just needs more research and support from governments in the world. As they work towards it and convince the public at large that it's beneficial to move upward to the stars, private industry will regulate and monetize the process. It won't be perfect but it will get people out there. It's anyone's guess how space-faring societies will go. Sea colonization, I can't comment on. I know there's a lot of work going into topside structures that can sustain themselves but I have no idea if we're going to have a Sealab by 2020.

 

Transhumanism is happening, sure. It's a fringe idea now but only because the public support for such ambitious goals is always precarious at best unless laden with spiritual and religious themes. It's completely feasible and in the next few decades the secondary goals of it will be met. Transhumansim isn't too well-defined I think because every organization dedicated to it has a slightly shifted idea of what it should be. Some think it's to completely eliminate suffering from the human experience. Some see it as a simple pro-technology ideation and devotion to augmenting human ability. Some think it's just an edgy scif-i motif that looks cool.

 

For ease I'll use the more grand but less definitive idea: to eliminate human suffering. The goal of transhumanism is to progress with the help of technology. To become the masters of the world around us and defeat things as precarious as death, aging, depletion of resources, poverty, etc. It's extremely idealistic, to be frank. That said I think it's an important idea and I think it's not nearly as new as people make it out to be. Humanity has always been one to take the world around it and transform that world to its will. We suffer for our mistakes in doing this but it's fundamentally human to manipulate the world and carry on. The only difference now is that we are approaching somewhat of a singularity wherein there's almost no telling how it's going to play out.

 

This next century is going to make or break us, I think. We'll either take to the stars and look onward to the edge, examining what it means to be human, or we'll kill each other over clean water and natural gas until the world is so caked in ash that we finally die off. We're not special just because we're alive, though. There's no plot armor on our species and the only way we'll survive is by realizing that. I tend to veer between two mindsets when I think about this. The first is optimistic about the technology we have and the ideas we can produce and make into reality. That spirit has been with us forever and guided humanity to where we are now. The other mind I keep on this is pessimistic: we are on the very edge of it all right now. We just exited the most dangerous time to be alive because two governments alone held the capacity to destroy everything we've worked toward, and now we're sinking right back into that. Only difference is now we also have to contend with the extreme ecological shift we're producing due to our ignorance concerning the environment, and we are as a society consuming way too much. What's the solution to that?

 

It seems simple and in some ways it is. The problem is that we all have an engendered arrogance when it comes to this stuff. Everything moves so slow because people never want to believe they're wrong and because of that we have wars over dick-swinging, and we have environmental catastrophes because no one wants to admit things need to change. No one wants to put down their steak and their white-picket fences and their endless suburbs but somewhere in the next few decades they're going to have to make an extreme change in the way they live. It's either that or everything ends because they wanted more meat and SUVs than we could squeeze out of the world.

 

I'm not saying this to scare-monger. I'm an optimist when it concerns technology. It's just that the same fundamental power we have to manipulate the world around us also gives us such an extreme, debilitating arrogance, that I wonder if we'll really make it. If we establish humanity outside of the planet Earth then we have a good couple hundred million years where it's almost guaranteed that we'll survive. We could destroy civilization hundreds of times in that time-frame and be fine. We basically have a blank check from the universe that we'll always be able to cash in. The problem is just getting our asses off of this planet before we make it uninhabitable to us and we choke on the fumes of it all, staring up into the sky and wondering at what could have been,

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trip
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#5

Posted 25 March 2014 - 02:23 AM

Transhumanism will continue to evolve and progress but there will always be something that controls it to an extent.  

 

I suspect the first and foremost control will be the fact that people really don't want to live forever.  Even if science advances to where they can keep your brain and body at [what might be thought] an optimal age, I can't see them being able to mess with the mind enough to battle the ever growing pile of memories and "living" that eventually makes people realize that they have had enough.  They have lived enough life and now it is boring, monotonous, repetitive, and there seems to be nothing more to gain. 

 

The other issue would be earth's resources.  If we over saturate earth with resource consuming humans the fragile balance of man and nature will tip in the wrong direction.

 

JeffGoldblum07.jpg


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#6

Posted 25 March 2014 - 03:04 AM

 
 
trip, on 24 Mar 2014 - 10:23 PM, said:
 
I suspect the first and foremost control will be the fact that people really don't want to live forever. 

 

 

I think this is wrong. Most people do want to live forever, since most people are afraid of death. With increased lifespans, society will have to change. Currently you work a small number of jobs in your specific field. If people were to increase the lifespans to centuries this model would be useless. The vast majority of people would probably look into other careers if they get bored with their current one. And of course if people just feel they have done everything and just want to end it, they could always commit suicide. 

 

The only problem I can see with increased lifespans is the possibility of stagnation in regards of new technological or scientific breakthroughs, with the old guard not willing to allow new ideas replace their old ones. Hell we already kinda have this now.

 

Though frankly, I just want humanity to finally reach the stars, or at least other parts of our solar system. Going to Mars would be like going to Europe, space trip ticket away. Plus space colonies would help us fix the problem regarding space, or the running out of natural resources. If we can have an entire planet devoted to just farming, we could be set for now.

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Rown
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#7

Posted 13 April 2014 - 04:57 AM Edited by Rown, 13 April 2014 - 04:57 AM.

 

 
 
trip, on 24 Mar 2014 - 10:23 PM, said:
 
I suspect the first and foremost control will be the fact that people really don't want to live forever. 

 

 

I think this is wrong. 

 

 

I think that you only kinda think that it is wrong. People want to live forever only until they have gotten their fill of life. I don't know what my point for that would be, but it'd probably depend greatly on how many of my friends and family could come along for the ride. To be the only immortal would be a very lonely and depressed way to live after the novelty wears off. Even as a group we might develop a kind of guilt that our ancestors can't be with us as we share all these new experiences. Reproduction would be a big problem with an immortal society. If we developed a "Matrix" type digital environment for our consciousnesses to play around in it might alleviate some of the stresses. We might even create reincarnation, with our old live's memories being removed and stored and being reborn to live out another existence.

 

I worry whether transhumanism is a thing we will all get to experience or if only the rich or privileged will be allowed to advance while the bulk of the species wallows away in its own filth. I'd like to walk on distant worlds but my social class might not be enough to get me there. I would hope there would be, if not full egalitarianism then, at least a meritocratic approach to our advance.

 

An underwater city would be cool as a testament to our technological prowess but I do have concerns about its practicality. Much like Phoenix, Arizona it would exist in spite of natural restrictions (and possibly good sense). While this mindset does have a certain defiant pioneer charm, wouldn't the resource diversion just worsen the effect we're having on the environment? 

I suppose it might be conceptually similar to space colonization, but space offers more resources to grow societies. People going to new worlds would be relying on a seed of cultural and biological means but the soil would be new. Deep sea colonization on the other hand draws from the same pool of resources we have now. So I guess my mindset is one of: "Space first, Seafloor second."

 

Rown :rampage:


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#8

Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:59 AM

Time travel is not possible

 

technically time travel is very possible.

at the very least, time travel is possible forwards. we don't yet know if it's possible to go backwards.

 

but it's totally doable.

you just need a lot of energy.


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#9

Posted 13 April 2014 - 07:35 AM

 

Time travel is not possible

 

technically time travel is very possible.

at the very least, time travel is possible forwards. we don't yet know if it's possible to go backwards.

 

but it's totally doable.

you just need a lot of energy.

 

 

I can do it. I'm told I have the energy of a stallion.


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#10

Posted 13 April 2014 - 09:45 AM

I don't want to become a robot :( I think computers will become so advanced that they will actually enslave the human race.

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#11

Posted 13 April 2014 - 10:15 AM

I have to say why the f*ck would someone want to live forever? I'm only 25 and I already feel old...
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Doc Rikowski
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#12

Posted 13 April 2014 - 12:31 PM

I see the human kind still as a rather primitive and not so technologically/socially advanced species.

I doubt we'll ever go beyond maybe Mars.

Although it's an interesting subject in terms of sic-fi we certainly are far from any real consistent progress.

Right now we are pretty much on the verge of a total collapse as a civilisation rather than a great leap forward.

IPCC just reported we have only 17 years left to reverse climate change.

They say it is highly affordable for our economic system to do so.

Usual problem is there's no political will to implement the change as we are lead by a bunch of greedy idiots all over the planet.


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#13

Posted 13 April 2014 - 01:55 PM

Sorry guys, the transhuman future is that we kill each other in new ways.

http://io9.com/darpa...shum-1556857603

 

Oh, wait, this is a forum about a game you kill people in new and exciting ways. You all should love this.


Melchior
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#14

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:40 AM

> the future of the human race: twelve replies in two weeks

> butter on sandwiches: twenty six replies in half an hour

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#15

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:45 AM

what did you expect?

 

it's GTAForums.

not Cambridge.


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#16

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:45 AM Edited by JIMHO, 14 April 2014 - 02:45 AM.

Editing my post so I don't sound like El_Diablo.

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Melchior
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#17

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:49 AM

what did you expect?

 

it's GTAForums.

not Cambridge.

Yes because you need an RP accent to have an opinion on life and the future.


El Diablo
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#18

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:54 AM Edited by El_Diablo, 14 April 2014 - 02:54 AM.

look the school could be located in South Africa.

 

the point remains.

what did you expect? :lol:


Melchior
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#19

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:56 AM Edited by Melchior, 14 April 2014 - 02:56 AM.

The point being that you need to be part of an educated elite in order to be philosophical? 


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#20

Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:57 AM

The point being that you need to be part of an educated elite in order to be philosophical? 

No point, just conceited smugness.


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#21

Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:05 AM Edited by gtarelatedusername2, 14 April 2014 - 03:07 AM.

> the future of the human race: twelve replies in two weeks

> butter on sandwiches: twenty six replies in half an hour

That's what you get for having expectations.

 

it's not exactly a relatable topic for most people, and even then it's a subject that is poorly defined. The other transhuman stuff aside, I believe space colonization is possible even now (on a small scale), but would it be feasible? I'd imagine that the logistics behind it would be a massive drain on resources, especially given the fact that spacecraft still rely on chemical propulsion.

 

Before any of that though, I'd think that we'd try to maximize available space on this planet before setting course for elsewhere. I picture more artificial islands and 'oceanscrapers' in the coming decades, and we'll probably get into asteroid/lunar mining around the same time, perhaps even slightly before. Maybe we'll go the opposite direction and become more integrated with our tech, creating limitless virtual worlds to 'inhabit'.

 

Oh, and I base my beliefs on this on absolutely nothing except pipe dreams.

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#22

Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:35 AM

I would blast off into space for an experiment...if NASA let me. I wonder how many would sign up for a one way ticket?

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#23

Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:52 AM Edited by Rown, 14 April 2014 - 03:52 AM.

@Melch: Stop being bitter and condescending of buttered bread and enjoy the topic's newfound activity :p

On topic:
I feel transhumanism represents the possibility of the divergence of several new humanities. Throughout Earth's history nature has been the selector of traits for new species by the process of evolution. We are approaching a point where synthetic evolution or at least directed evolution may be possible. Where we can choose the characteristics of our progeny directly.

 

In broad categories I imagine these post-evolution members of the family as human, super-human, mecha-human, and spliced-humans.

 

Those who choose to stay human (I'm not sure that one of the others would choose to switch back but I guess it's possible) would stay the course as a relatively non-augmented primate not particularly well suited to prolonged space travel or environments dissimilar to the one found on Earth.

 

Super-humans are what most transhumanists talk about, more 'perfect' beings without fears of aging or disease, (think Tolkien's Elves or angelic figures in general). With their greater lifespans their society would most likely look a lot different than our own. Monogamy might be a thing of the past with more of a kathenogamy (a word I made up borrowing from kathenotheism) where relationships are more fluid and a person could comfortably be married to several different people in a lifetime without the current stigma of divorce. I believe that their greater longevity might make them the most likely to try longer space travel. The first interstellar traveler from Earth might be a super-human (discounting any microbes that might've snuck aboard the Voyager I probe). 

 

Mecha-humans are either heavily prostheticized or wholly digitized consciousnesses (i.e. Ghost In The Shell, The Matrix, ME2's Overlord DLC, and that new Depp movie most likely). The possibilities here are interesting as through digitization we wouldn't need the same variety of resources that we need now and conceivably we could take further steps to alter the perception of time making a moment last a week and vice versa. There's also the chance that upon achieving our perfect world digitally we'd just call it good and this branch of humanity would stop growing either from unfruitful immortality or blissful extinction.

 

Spliced-humans I think of as more of a fringe movement but that could just be my own bias. Basically any human that augments their own genetic code with that of another animal for aesthetic or practical reasons. As we get a better understanding of genes and the brain you could someday go to a splicing parlor down the street and get a snake tongue that senses the air or a monkey tail because why-the-hell-not? (consider furries and other near-human fantasy creatures and then consider half of cosplay and you'll realize it might not be so farfetched.)  

 

These groups are by no means mutually exclusive either, a spacefaring super-human might want to be digital-able to make long journeys through space less noticeable through electronic diversion or may choose certain genetic traits to limit energy use and alleviate hunger (like a lizard or a hibernating mammal). The future, as always, will be an interesting place.

Rown :rampage:

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Melchior
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#24

Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:31 AM

^ that sounds f*cking nuts. Future, woop woop!





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