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Adventures in E-Learning and Digital Culture

Transhumanism and its Unique Relationship with the Emperor #edcmooc February 21, 2013

Emperors-New-Clothes1

I find the views of the Transhumanists in our readings a bit like the Emperor’s new clothes, all rhetoric but nothing new.  It might be I am too pragmatic (and tired) to understand the nuances?

“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remould in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have” N Bostrom

We have been “evolving” like this since our earliest times.  We had a wonderful BBC programme on Early Britain recently – which showed how we have evolved, physically, mentally and spiritually.  It is a remarkable story and a credit to the humans’ creativity – not just evolutionary but revolutionary.  Transhumanists’ aspirations will be fulfilled and that is because of human’s boundless creativity and seemingly infinite ability to adapt and improve.

I have been reflecting on Gabe Zichermann and his infectious passion for gamification and how this new technology is resulting in improved abilities to learn, multitask, come up with solutions faster and it’s wider application in various arenas.   But the technology is not the cause of the improvement – it is the human brains ability to adapt and maximise.

http://www.ted.com/speakers/gabe_zichermann.html

One random thought – we, in NZ,  had devastating earthquakes recently that have destroyed human landscapes and infrastructures – Nature does seem to have a its own indiscriminant, final word when it comes to any exalted state humans feel they have evolved to or created.  But what do we do in the face of disaster – regather, create, rebuild better.  Brilliant.

On the basis of my limited introduction Transhumanism falls deficit because it bases its idea of evolution on “rational means” which minimises the irrational, extraordinary or inexplicable human aspects which fascinate us. How do aboriginals teleport without machines, how do humans perform amazing feats under duress without bionic body parts, how do some people foretell the future without time machines?  What about intuition and faith – all valid expressions of being human in most cultures.  I am not widely read on transhumanism – they may have explanations?

“Transhumanism promotes the quest to develop further so that we can explore hither to inaccessible realms of value. “ N Bostrom.  Transhumanism is in luck because that is exactly what humans do.   History speaks for itself.  Technological enhancement may be a part of that but there is much, much more.