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Old 02-09-2005, 06:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Transhumanism & you

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Transhumanism is an emergent school of speculative philosophy analysing or favouring the use of technology, especially neurotechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, to improve the human condition.
Read about it!

The question:
Given the feasibility and opportunity, would you alter yourself via technological means in order for self-improvement?

I sure would. I'd love to alter myself for improvement in whatever areas possible, given a reasonable factor of safety. I'd remove any genetic defects (I don't think I'd change anything else, tho - I'm okay with who I am), and I'd would kill for a few cybernetic enhancements. First off, I'd want a hard drive in me so I could easily store and retrieve information and I'd want to replace my left eye with some sort of advanced replacement. My vision in that eye sucks, and I'd like to be able to have magnified vision as well. There'd be a bunch of other things that I could think of, but those are the biggies and I don't want to sound like a sci-fi novel.

If you had an artificial means of living forever (or even just for an extremely long time) would you do it?

What, if any, do you think the limits should be on transhumanistic modification and why? (This is not intended to become a debate on the morality of transhumanism - please express your own views and leave others to theirs)

Do you think that transhuman modification would be beneficial to society? Why?

...I have my own opinions but I want to see what other people think first such as to avoid contaminating peoples' responses with my own.
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Old 02-09-2005, 07:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sure, I'd love to improve some things. My biggest weakness is intelligence, there are so many things I don't understand. If they sold viagra for the brain I'd run out and buy some today.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well benefits are limitless. Disease, sickness, birth defects, handicaps--all those became a thing of the past. Also, lost limbs are now easily replaced with new or better than new ones. I would love to walk into MacDonald's, order by Big Mac, fries, large drink, and new lungs or better metabolism.

And I wouldn't stop there. This just became the new means of self expression. Piercing, tatoos, body art--all just ended with this form of human control. Imagine walking into your average "Red Cell Biotech" and walk out having a feline tail, gills, changing-color skin, tiger fur, animal features--you name it. Personally I find non-anthropormorphic art really cool. Yeah, weirdo is written of my forehead. It's probably all that anime I watched as a teenager. But really, people would pay to have this done to them. I would.
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My favourite example of this is in the story Johnny Neumonic (not the film)... the lo teks are great examples of trans humanism... as is Molly and her modifications...

The loteks appealed to me though. They always seemed more the natural progression of today's tattooing and piercing... puposefully out of the mainstream.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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personal soundtrack. DEFINATELY personal soundtrack. Like an internal iPod, with a control/display inside my wrist. Awexome.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think Calvin once attempted to give himself a laugh track and a gasping studio audience.

That would be pleasantly aggravating for a while.

Play "Deus Ex" if you're interested in this subject. It has a lot of good speculation as to how people would wind up if you gave them various degrees of mechanical, biological, or nanotechnological modifications. One big concern it raises is tension between the rapidly developing state of technology and the permanence of significantly altering the human body. Could an entire person become obsolete if they had their systems rewired before any given major breakthrough?
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If i knew it were safe i would. I would do anything that didn't directly alter my state of consciousness. Although maybe i would avoid anything that allowed me to be jacked into the internet 24/7, otherwise i'd probably never get anything done.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would do certain things, as long as i dont lose things like the sense of touch. Like if i could live forever but had a completely metal/plastic body i dont think i would do it. I dont think i would mess with my eyesight or hearing either, if there was any risk at all of losing either of them.

A few examples of what i would get though: nanobots repairing cells and such would be ok. Drawing from Tv/Movies something like what Becka has in Andromeda would be nice, she can change her hair color to any color she wants with a thought. If one of my organs needed replacement i wouldnt object to an artificial. Also something similar to the matrix where i could plug in and exist in a simulated environment, or plug in and absorb or transmit information directly, like isntead of using a mouse and keyboard i could type or play that first person shooter purely on direct brain linking.

As long as it didnt require major surgery most things would be ok. Replacement of some bones with something more solid would be nice, never having to worry about breaking a leg, etc.

There's also the problem of the possibility of a company having rights to my body, or "owning" my body parts, similar to like it is in Ghost in the Shell.

I highly recommend "Ghost in the Shell" for anyone interested in this type of thing. Its an anime. There's a couple movies and a series. The first and second movies definitely poke at your brain's processing power, trying to decipher all the deep meanings of existance and shit like that, what exactly makes a human a human... etc.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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First of all, I hate a lot of labels (including this one) because to the extent that they are currently used, they are completely useless as they frequently require a definition anyway and therefore are not conducive to understanding (among other problems). Sorry, just had to get that out of the way.

I would not alter my body in most ways. Maybe genetic modification to improve my eyesight (20/10 would be awesome! ), as well as one or two other things which I consider to be genetic defects. As for the rest, it's iffy at best. Really depends what would be available, how invasive it would be, and whether it would change me in what I consider to be a "fundamental" way (in which case I would opt against it).
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would definately enhance myself if i had the chance, mostly physically
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I think I would be in for only organic alterations of my body. I would accept nanomachines since they are not visible and act like other cells of my body, but macroscopic machines inside me are something different. If there were external machines that could link to my brain, like in Total recall, mission is go. I would not want a neural net wired through my brain... because I can see my plug becoming a major weakness. Imagine if someone hit that with an electric shock? I'd be brain damaged for the rest of my life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ObieX
As long as it didnt require major surgery most things would be ok. Replacement of some bones with something more solid would be nice, never having to worry about breaking a leg, etc.

There's also the problem of the possibility of a company having rights to my body, or "owning" my body parts, similar to like it is in Ghost in the Shell.
Major surgery isn't a problem on my mind. As long as I am asleep or highly drugged and can't feel the intense pain of my body being forcefully reshaped (Island of Dr. Moreau anyone? The book, not movies).

Ghost in the Shell was nice, but I don't really care about the meanings that creators try to throw into animes anymore. If you have seen Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, you know why. That was a great anime (which fits into this discussion) until the whole presence of god bits at the end. Off topic but interesting nonetheless.

And why is no one else posting the crazy form they'd take?
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Who would/does oppose this kind of technology?
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well technically I would like for people to keep their unique traits to make for a more interesting world, but it would hypocritical for me to say "I would change this and this and this, but don't want anyone else to have the ability". I suppose I could go either way though.
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suave
Well technically I would like for people to keep their unique traits to make for a more interesting world,...
But wouldn't transhumanist technologies increase the amount of possible traits and thereby increase diversity? Or perhaps you are alluding that people would want many of the same augmentations (ones to enhance positive traits, or remove deleterious traits) and thereby eliminate some diversity?

The possibilities are endless!!! It boggles the mind!!!

Haha... Sorry. Got a little carried away. But yeah... There really is no way to tell wether such technology would encourage divergence or convergence, is there?
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'd say more towards diversion. One person's agmentations would lead to someone else to be inspired to get that same augmentation. But you always have the populace that purposely make themselves "stand out" in the crowds. Out of 6 billion you think they are all going to be the same?

I agree with you C4, endless possibilities will lead, atleast me, to move away from the "standard" form.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm not saying everyone will become exactly the same, but people will become more similar. Everybody wants to be different, as long as other people are doing it too. That's the sad truth about the vast, vast, VAST majority of people who are all hung up on being "unique" and "standing out in a crowd". They do so by asking other people how to best do it, by imitating their friends, etc. Instead of people just wearing Versace, people would have the equivalent of Versace imprinted within or onto their bodies. There would certainly be variation between groups, and not everyone is like this, but it would create a sort of patternistic bent toward social groups that I find most disturbing.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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There are still a large number of people who shy away from simple things like body piercings and tattoos - I can't see this kind of technology catching on untill there are some real benefits.

I don't see our natural abilities being improved a great deal in terms of strength/speed etc, but perhaps in enhanced perception (glasses, hearing aids, binoculars etc already exist) and extended communication/control (bone-phone, thought-activated devices etc) But I guess we will allways remain largely human. There may be those who choose to disfigure themselves surgically (as they do today) for vanity reasons - but that's nothing new.
 
Old 02-11-2005, 04:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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We're probably going to end up seriously modded anyway. Personally I'd go for nano-augmentations to clear up nasty cells and keep me healthy, and something like a SoulKeeper (read Ian M Bank's Look To Windward for a good example of stuff like this - in fact, just read all his stuff) to back up my mind when I'm old - and then transfer it to another body.

However piercings = Not for me. I'm too squeamish for that. I'd want any mods to serve some kind of readily identifiable purpose and anything below that (IE my personal self-expression) I'd just end up changing my lifestyle/hair/clothes to suit.
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Old 02-12-2005, 03:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I posted a related thread on this a while back, with a story of a quadriplegic controlling a computer with his mind. (Admitedly it was quite primitive).

The stuff of science-fiction keeps getting nearer and nearer

I think that it is people with disabilities that will be the first people to benefit from new technologies such as these. In fact I believe that in the not-incredibly-distant-future, to have a disability will not render you 'disabled' in any major way.

The blind will see, and the lame shall walk.
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Old 02-14-2005, 05:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
I would not want a neural net wired through my brain... because I can see my plug becoming a major weakness. Imagine if someone hit that with an electric shock? I'd be brain damaged for the rest of my life.
Nah, you would be fine. You just have to remember to make regular backups.
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phage
Nah, you would be fine. You just have to remember to make regular backups.
Yeah... The moment I back up my brain on a computer is the day I get screwed by the government for all the stuff I have done that I shouldn't have. That and a JakeOS floating around that someone else could install would be real bad! One me is too many for the world. Image two! I'll stick with external manipulation of thoughts and memories.
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:51 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'd love to modify myself biologically/genetically for extra strength, speed, stamina, etc. This stuff facinates me, and I think it will be the next true evolutionary jump humans make in advancement albeit self administered.

The limits should be of safety concerns only, leave the religion/morality out of it. Let the individual make their choice in whether to receive treatment. The biggest thing I'd fear with this advent would be more the limitations some might want to impose on groups of people to create a master race type of thing all over again.

As for the other two questions it should be obvious, yes I'd choose longevity, and I think it will be a great benefit to humanity.
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Old 03-15-2005, 11:04 PM   #23 (permalink)
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If the process were safe, then I'd have little problem with it. Improved eyesight, senses, strength... but I wouldn't want any neurological enhancements. That might affect my conscienceness too much. For me, the randomness of genetic traits takes away any meaningfulness of natural characteristics. Like, if traits are largely random, what significance do they really have in defining you, as an individual, besides what you are and are not good at.
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