Monday, May 26, 2014

Transhuman fears

The following is a post in the IPS thread on the movie Transcendence.

Here's an article on transhumanism that thinks the biggest worry is that only the rich will have access to the wonders of tech, leaving the rest of us to be only human. The article argues that this will not be the case, as it has not been in the past with other tech developments like medicine, electricity and the internet. This is because we are evolving from monopolistic tycoons to a more commons oriented society. And in that way he is consistent with Rifkin's latest work.

In the movie that is one of the main fear's motivating the government, that capitalism's obsession with individualism is being threatened with the AI producing people linked with not only the tech but with each other and operating as a commons. A commons by the way that is concerned with renewable energy, increasing world food supply and creating medical breakthroughs in treating disease and regenerating tissue. I.e., providing equal opportunity for all to thrive. How terrible!

The other fear though not in the article is that by being connected not only with each other but with tech (including AI) we somehow lose our humanity, our natural humanness, we become like machines: unfeeling, instrumentally logical, inhuman. But all the evidence in the movie, as well as Rifkin's voluminous study of real-world, current applications, point in exactly the other direction: we are becoming more human, more caring, more sharing, and more than the kind of human we used to be. It's an unjustified fear of the kind of progress we need to be more human. We are only being transhuman to a regressive humanity based in fear, scarcity and dysfunctional individualism.

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