Transhumanism

Transhumanism - 1

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1 In his book  Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our  Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human,  Joel Garreau discusses the future of humanity.  Radical Evolution  is broken into sections, among of which are The Curve, The Heaven Scenario,  The Hell Scenario, and Transcendence. Garreau interviews two individuals, Ray Kurzweil,  supporting The Heaven Scenario, and Bill Joy, a supporter of The Hell Scenario. Through  discussions with Kurzweil and Joy, Garreau looks at the future of humanity, and what  Transhumanism could mean in the next stage of human evolution. An integral part of both The Heaven Scenario and The Hell Scenario is Transhumanism.  James “Jay” Hughes, the executive director of the World Transhumanist Association, avers that  Transhumanism comes directly from the traditional perspective of Humanism. The  Transhumanist movement started in the 1970s and looks to improve upon human intellectual,  mental and physical capacities. Those involved in the Transhumanist movement also seek to  eliminate disease, suffering, disability, and to extend the human lifespan. Furthermore,  Transhumanism ties into the idea of a “post-human,” or a being that can no longer be recognized  as human according to the current fundamental ideal. To those following the Transhumanist  movement, “‘Transhumanism’ is their description of those who are in the process of becoming  posthuman—the metamorphosis they believe, not without good reason, some of us are entering  right now.” 1   Moore’s Law is a component of Transhumanism. Moore’s Law, named after Gordon E.  1 Joel Garreau, Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human (New York: Broadway Books, 2005), 232
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2 Moore, states that “the power of information technology will double every 18 months, for as far  as the eye can see.” 2  To highlight this process, Garreau provides that the 27 th  such doubling came  in 2002, with a billion-transistor chip, an extraordinary feat in the history of humanity. 3   Furthermore, Moore’s Law correlates with the curve of accelerating returns, or The  Curve. The Curve is represented by an S-curve: a period of stability resides at the bottom of the  S, growing to rapid change in the middle, and then, at the top of the S, leveling out. Another element of Transhumanism is The Singularity, coined by Vernor Vinge in 1993.  It describes “huge but unpredictable social change driven by The Curve.” 4  Garreau states,  “Today all serious discussions regarding the social impact of the coming decades of The Curve 
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2011 for the course HIST 1060 taught by Professor Charlottedecoster during the Spring '08 term at North Texas.

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Transhumanism - 1

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