Many outstanding people within the tech industry have talked in regards to the increasing
convergence between humans and machines in coming a long time. For example, Elon Musk
has reportedly said he wants humans to merge with AI “to
achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence”.

His company Neuralink goals to facilitate this convergence in order that humans won’t be “left behind” as technology advances in the longer term. While individuals with disabilities could be near-term recipients of those innovations, some consider technologies like this might be used to reinforce abilities in everyone.

These goals are inspired by an idea called transhumanism, the assumption that we should always use science and technology to radically enhance human capabilities and seek to direct our own evolutionary path. Disease, aging and death are all realities transhumanists wish to finish, alongside dramatically increasing our cognitive, emotional and physical capacities.

Transhumanists often advocate for the three “supers” of superintelligence, superlongevity and superhappiness, the last referring to ways of achieving lasting happiness. There are many various views among the many transhumanist community of what our ongoing evolution should appear to be.

For example, some advocate uploading the mind into digital form and settling the cosmos. Others think we should always remain organic beings but rewire or upgrade our biology through genetic engineering and other methods. A way forward for designer babies, artificial wombs and anti-aging therapies appeal to those thinkers.

This may all sound futuristic and fantastical, but rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial biology have led some to argue we’re on the cusp of making such possibilities.

God-like role

Tech billionaires are among the many biggest promoters of transhumanist considering. It just isn’t hard to grasp why: they might be the central protagonists in crucial moment in history.

Creating so-called artificial general intelligence (AGI) – that’s, an AI system that may do all of the cognitive tasks a human can do and more – is a current focus inside Silicon Valley. AGI is seen as vital to enabling us to tackle the God-like role of designing our own evolutionary futures.

Advanced anti-aging therapies are one area that would deepen inequality.
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That is why firms like OpenAI, DeepMind and Anthropic are racing towards the event of AGI, despite some experts warning that it could result in human extinction.

In the short term, the guarantees and the perils are probably overstated. After all, these firms have so much to realize by making us think they’re on the verge of engineering a divine power that may create utopia or destroy the world. Meanwhile, AI has played a task in fuelling our polarised political landscape, with disinformation and more complex types of manipulation made simpler by generative AI.

Indeed, AI systems are already causing many other types of social and environmental harm. AI firms rarely wish to deal with these harms though. If they will make governments give attention to long-term potential “safety” issues referring to possible existential risks as a substitute of actual social and environmental injustices, they stand to learn from the resulting regulatory framework.

But if we lack the capability and determination to deal with these real world harms, it’s hard to consider that we are going to give you the chance to mitigate larger-scale risks that AI may hypothetically enable. If there really is a threat that AGI could pose an existential risk, for instance, everyone would shoulder that cost, however the profits could be very much private.

A well-recognized story

This issue inside AI development might be seen as a microcosm of why the broader
transhumanist imagination may appeal to billionaire elites in an age of multiple crises. It speaks to the refusal to interact in grounded ethics, injustices and challenges and offers a grandiose narrative of a resplendent future to distract from the present moment.

Our misuse of the planet’s resources has set in train a sixth mass extinction of species and a climate crisis. In addition, ongoing wars with increasingly potent weapons remain a component of our technological evolution.

There’s also the pressing query of whose future shall be transhuman. We currently live in a really unequal world. Transhumanism, if developed in
anything like our existing context, is more likely to greatly increase inequality, and
can have catastrophic consequences for the vast majority of humans.

Perhaps transhumanism itself is a symptom of the sort of considering that has created our parlous social reality. It is a narrative that encourages us to hit the gas, expropriate nature much more, continue to grow and never look back on the devastation within the rear-view mirror.

If we’re really on the verge of making an enhanced version of humanity, we should always begin to ask some big questions on what being human should mean, and subsequently what an enhancement of humanity should entail.

If the human is an aspiring God, then it lays claim to dominion over nature and the body, making all amenable to its desires. But if the human is an animal embedded in complex relations with other species and nature at large, then “enhancement” is contingent on the health and sustainability of its relations.

If the human is conceived of as an environmental threat, then enhancement is definitely that which redirects its exploitative lifeways. Perhaps becoming more-than-human should constitute a way more responsible humanity.

One that shows compassion to and awareness of other types of life on this wealthy and
wondrous planet. That could be preferable to colonising and increasing ourselves,
with great hubris, on the expense of every part, and everybody, else.

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