Transhumanism

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
KevorkianKat
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:32 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby KevorkianKat » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:31 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:KevorkianKat, I'd argue that if you put me in stasis, then unstasis-ify me, *I* would start up again. The individual *I* that is wrapped in my wetware (i like that term).
If you kill me and start a copy of me in a cloned body, then *I* die. Still though opinion.
BUT WAIT! Come to think of it, I do wonder if people who have amnesia have had something akin to the *I* dying and a new one jumping in its place! Or maybe hibernating animals, when they slow their brain function and metabolism, also have a death of the *I*... HOLY CRAP!
I want adrenalin and metabolism regulators. I want to be able to alter my perception of time as I see fit.


Aha, now how is being frozen different from death then? Being frozen isn't a state of suspended animation, it's a state of freezing a corpse (at least right now). While your body may still technically be dead, the only reason you're not walking around is because your brain stopped telling your heart to pump blood and lungs to breath (in the few hours you have just after death). Nothing has decayed at this point, but when they freeze you, all your cells stop functioning (ala death) and henceforth you will be legally dead (so your insurance pays out to Alcor or whoever froze you). When being revived in the far future when they've perfected DNA molecular repair, how is that different from replacing all your cells with exact biological replicas of the damaged ones? Why does repair of a "dead/damaged" cell make it any different from replacement of a cell that is EXACTLY like that one?

I personally think it's more to do with our perception. My future self won't give a rats ass if it's me or not, because biologically I will think it is, and that's all that matters to the body. Unlike amnesia, I'll (hopefully) wake up with a full recollection (or whatever I can normally remember) of past events and a sense of what is "me". Even if they have to completely replace cells. Hence, I believe they could make a molecular clone of me and it would ALSO be me, but the second they start perceiving the world separately it ceases to be me. I change all the time hence force I am always new but I am the product of the old. It makes me feel like saying "I am the Alpha and I am the Omega" :p

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18638
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:52 pm UTC

I believe you would be right about the freezing thing. Wetware reboots just fine. However, another you elsewhere (clone or whatnot) is not *YOU*.

Just to nitpick, I don't believe that when freezing down people, DNA damage is what you gotta worry about, its cell damage. Ever unthaw fruit? Imagine that being your brain. As such, I'd really like to read more about cryogenics, as I know there are a great number of synthetic fluids that have been used as blood replacements that also have lower freezing points. I guess the problems are finding something that can replace cells H2O without killing them (exnay on the DMSO or glycerol), be a solvent to glucose, oxygen, and any other number of vital thingies, be about the same pH as blood (7.4 I believe), about the same viscosity... on and on.. I also wonder what kind of vital brain function is attributed to the 'signal' of brain activity, and can't be rebooted by simply starting up the heart and blood flow again.

EDIT: OHOHOHOHOH!!! And if the body is just life support for the brain, and the brain is just a template for the 'signal' of us, would it be possible to transplant the 'signal' to another template??? (Jane from Enders Game much?)
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
KevorkianKat
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:32 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby KevorkianKat » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:15 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I believe you would be right about the freezing thing. Wetware reboots just fine. However, another you elsewhere (clone or whatnot) is not *YOU*.

Just to nitpick, I don't believe that when freezing down people, DNA damage is what you gotta worry about, its cell damage. Ever unthaw fruit? Imagine that being your brain. As such, I'd really like to read more about cryogenics, as I know there are a great number of synthetic fluids that have been used as blood replacements that also have lower freezing points. I guess the problems are finding something that can replace cells H2O without killing them (exnay on the DMSO or glycerol), be a solvent to glucose, oxygen, and any other number of vital thingies, be about the same pH as blood (7.4 I believe), about the same viscosity... on and on.. I also wonder what kind of vital brain function is attributed to the 'signal' of brain activity, and can't be rebooted by simply starting up the heart and blood flow again.

EDIT: OHOHOHOHOH!!! And if the body is just life support for the brain, and the brain is just a template for the 'signal' of us, would it be possible to transplant the 'signal' to another template??? (Jane from Enders Game much?)


Alcor (one of the companies that does freezes) has some type of blood replacement fluid that doesn't create crystals and cause cell damage when freezing. They're improving on it over time from what I hear but it's pretty good so far for preventing that type of thing. But back to the human you, how much exactly would you attribute to YOU, as in, what if they replaced half of your cells with new ones that were exactly like the old ones? Then what if later you got an operation to replace the rest of them? Are you still you at that point? It's the old axe head and handle question :)

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Indon » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:49 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:EDIT: OHOHOHOHOH!!! And if the body is just life support for the brain, and the brain is just a template for the 'signal' of us, would it be possible to transplant the 'signal' to another template??? (Jane from Enders Game much?)


Why not?

Though the prospect of a possible phishing scam in which, by engaging the bait, your brain is replaced with someone else's... is kinda scary.
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18638
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:46 am UTC

Its the boat of theseus thingy, if you replace every part of a boat over time, every board, sail and nail, is it still the same boat? yar says I. Whats that common urban myth, your cells turn over every 9 years, so your not even made of the same matter as when you were a kid?
Thats still less mind blowing then having your brain hacked, ala Ghost in the Shell. "Brain hacked humans are so pathetic!"
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
neon
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:27 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Transhumanism

Postby neon » Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:52 am UTC

KevorkianKat wrote:
neon wrote:I tend to think that we are, as someone else here has said, patterns impressed on a biological substrate. I really doubt that I, or anyone alive today, will live to see some of this come to pass. We might have engineered viruses that correct things like diabetes. Or nanite bots that correct a few problems here and there. It will be a long time before the rest becomes reality.


I'll be dead for a little while since I'm getting frozen, a true Transhumanist trick :)


But can you trust them to revive you? How well will you cope in this fairly distant future without going insane? What about the society that you'll awake in? Some of the fastest changing aspects of human culture are fashion, personal relationships and social mores. "Welcome! Here, let me help you with that dress. My name is Steve and I'm your new boyfriend. No? Oh, I'm sorry, heterosexuality went out of fashion 150 years ago." What if "transhumanists from the early 21st century" are greatly despised and made into slaves? Given that they can essentially bring you back from death you could be waking into a truly hellish life.

Given all the ways this could go really, really bad I'm not sure I'd be that excited to sign up.
"Light up the darkness."

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30448
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Belial » Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:25 am UTC

If you choose to live, and it turns out badly, you can kill yourself.

If you choose to die, and it turns out awesome, you can't decide to live instead.

Therefore, living is always the better option, because it could always turn out awesome right after you die, and THEN where are you? Dead. And everyone is partying. What now?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
neon
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:27 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Transhumanism

Postby neon » Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:32 am UTC

Belial wrote:If you choose to live, and it turns out badly, you can kill yourself.

If you choose to die, and it turns out awesome, you can't decide to live instead.

Therefore, living is always the better option, because it could always turn out awesome right after you die, and THEN where are you? Dead. And everyone is partying. What now?


If they can bring a frozen person back to life they might be able to do the same if you suicide. Some people just have their heads frozen assuming that is all they'll need in the imagined future. They believe the rest of their body can be created from their DNA I suppose. If the imagined future tech is so good they can do all that's been dreamed up here then they could also set you up so that you can't succeed in killing yourself. You're needed in the off world mines and too bad the radiation burns you alive, we just bring you back over and over for eternity.

On the other hand, if we live in a universe where at death you are promoted to a higher plane of existence (depending on your karma or whatever). Well then you just missed out on a significantly better life and you chose to live for eternity in what "higher beings" consider a kindergarten.

On yet another hand (or no hand) in Buddhism the whole point is to achieve "Nirvana" which is not the Christian concept of heaven but instead "the annihilation of the soul". Being utterly extinguished and removed from the wheel of life considered a feature. There are all kinds of ways of looking at this.
"Light up the darkness."

Goplat
Posts: 490
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:41 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Goplat » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:52 am UTC

neon wrote:If they can bring a frozen person back to life they might be able to do the same if you suicide. [...] they could also set you up so that you can't succeed in killing yourself. You're needed in the off world mines and
So in the future they can resurrect people from death but they can't even build a mining robot. I don't think so.
On the other hand, if we live in a universe where at death you are promoted to a higher plane of existence (depending on your karma or whatever). Well then you just missed out on a significantly better life and you chose to live for eternity in what "higher beings" consider a kindergarten.
Having no evidence either way, I should consider it equally likely that after death we all end up getting brutally tortured for the rest of eternity. Why the hell (heh) would someone want to take that gamble (expected value = 0), when the future of the real world is most likely going to be better than the current real world (expected value > 0)? Sounds to me like death is a sucker's bet.
On yet another hand (or no hand) in Buddhism the whole point is to achieve "Nirvana" which is not the Christian concept of heaven but instead "the annihilation of the soul". Being utterly extinguished and removed from the wheel of life considered a feature. There are all kinds of ways of looking at this.
If they really believed that they'd all be killing themselves as soon as they figured they'd achieved enlightenment or whatever. So why hasn't, say, the Dalai Lama killed himself yet? Either Buddhists don't really believe in their own religion or you're misrepresenting it.

User avatar
neon
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:27 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Transhumanism

Postby neon » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:34 am UTC

Goplat wrote:So in the future they can resurrect people from death but they can't even build a mining robot. I don't think so.


Perhaps they just don't like those dweebs from the 21st century. Perhaps they enjoy watching you suffer.


Goplat wrote:Having no evidence either way, I should consider it equally likely that after death we all end up getting brutally tortured for the rest of eternity. Why the hell (heh) would someone want to take that gamble (expected value = 0), when the future of the real world is most likely going to be better than the current real world (expected value > 0)? Sounds to me like death is a sucker's bet.


Fair enough.

Goplat wrote:If they really believed that they'd all be killing themselves as soon as they figured they'd achieved enlightenment or whatever. So why hasn't, say, the Dalai Lama killed himself yet? Either Buddhists don't really believe in their own religion or you're misrepresenting it.


Nirvana:
When a person who has realized Nirvāṇa dies, his death is referred as his parinirvāṇa, his fully passing away, as his life was his last link to the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara), and he will not be reborn again. Buddhism holds that the ultimate goal and end of samsaric existence (of ever "becoming" and "dying" and never truly being) is realization of Nirvāṇa; what happens to a person after his parinirvāṇa cannot be explained, as it is outside of all conceivable experience.


Committing suicide is of course a sin that will get you reborn as a bug or something as start your millennial long struggle to free yourself from rebirth all over again.
"Light up the darkness."

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30448
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Belial » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

So, this is where we dig up the most absurd, unlikely hypothetical to make a good idea look like a bad one?

I wouldn't eat that toast, dude. It might have eggs in it from a new species of insect that'll eat your colon and replace it with an organ whose entire purpose is to cause you constant pain. Also, there might be some gods that consider eating toast a sin and will send you to hell when you die....
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Vellyr
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:57 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Vellyr » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:55 am UTC

What if we could slow it down, and alter bits and then speed it back up to normal? What if you have a single cell of your brain removed, and then replaced with a nanite, does that destroy you? Does 100 nanites destroy you? 1000? 1 million? It would only be an arbitrary number after all, but is there a number that makes you, YOU? Even if they were simply artificial and superior versions of your current brain cells and held all the exact same atoms your previous cells had including energy signals caught midstream, would that still be the old you? Would it matter at that point?


I think that if you did it like this, "you" would stay intact. I highly doubt that whatever electric signals in your brain are responsible for your self-awareness would cease to function because of the loss of a single neuron. It might be a weird mind trip, but you would probably survive it. I imagine the transfer happening a different way. You and your identical clone are hooked up to the same brain, and you gradually learn to control the second body. Then when you have complete control of the second body, you unhook yourself.

This brings up the most important question (in my mind) regarding immortality via cloning: Can you create a clone that's truly a "blank slate"? Is it possible to have a completely functional human body without a soul/mind? I suppose if human cloning and research on fetuses were legal we'd have more answers here.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11053
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Yakk » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:33 pm UTC

You can just remove all brain matter above the brain-stem, and you have a body in which the "automatic" stuff runs, but there is no intelligence.

This doesn't require experimentation on fetuses -- people getting into car accidents in which 90% of their brain is destroyed does this experiment quite nicely on an adult.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18638
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:17 pm UTC

So what we really need is a harem of encephacally challenged adults?
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Gunfingers
Posts: 2401
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:00 pm UTC

So a have to do a paper on Transhumanism for my computer ethics class. I haven't the foggiest idea what to do with this. Can anyone think of a good way to turn "Transhumanism raises certain ethical difficulties" into a four page paper which cites four sources? I can't think of any way to even approach this...

Gadren
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Gadren » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:13 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:So a have to do a paper on Transhumanism for my computer ethics class. I haven't the foggiest idea what to do with this. Can anyone think of a good way to turn "Transhumanism raises certain ethical difficulties" into a four page paper which cites four sources? I can't think of any way to even approach this...


Have you read any of Kurzweil's works? That might be a good place to start.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11053
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Yakk » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:11 pm UTC

Have you read any books on Transhumanism? Have you searched Amazon for books on Transhumanism? Have you searched your local library for the books you found on Amazon, and also searched their index for Transhumanism? (buying books is probably overkill for a high school/undergrad paper)

Those are all ways to begin to approach your problem.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Gunfingers
Posts: 2401
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:07 pm UTC

I do accelerated learning classes after work, so i have 30 days to put a paper together. This isn't conducive to reading dozens of books.

Besides, the problem isn't finding sourcing. I can find things to read. The problem is i can't think of any way to make this a meaningful paper, specifically from an ethical perspective. The whole argument is pretty much "Are the potential benefits worth the change to the human experience?" How does one make 4 pages of that.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11053
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Yakk » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:18 pm UTC

30 days? You can read at least 3 books.

There is a wiki section on ethics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism#Ethics

You have 4 pages. So you can do a "dip and dab", or you can pick one ethical issue out of transhumanism and summerize both sides.

Is this an advocacy paper (ie, are you supposed to take a side and "prove" it?), or should it just inform about the issue in question? Given the title, the issue seems to be "prove that there are ethical issues involved in transhumanism", which seems easy.

If you can't get it off wikipedia, there are bunches of things that people find morally questionable, such as:
1> Human species becomes roughly as smart as an ape relative to the new alpha "species" on Earth.
2> Killing an AI, is it murder? How do you determine if it is a true AI or just a half-decent fake?
3> Do AIs get to vote?
4> Labor/economic issues: what happens when capital is all that is needed for production?
5> Immortality, how do you keep population pressure down?
6> Malthusian geometric AI.
7> Ethical issues with "hand-modification" of the unborn.
8> Sports
9> What is death? If you upload to a CPU then your body dies, is it murder?

What books on Transhumanism have you read before? You should read at least 1, and that will give you at least a dozen ethical issues you could concentrate on in your paper.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
KevorkianKat
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:32 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby KevorkianKat » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:I do accelerated learning classes after work, so i have 30 days to put a paper together. This isn't conducive to reading dozens of books.

Besides, the problem isn't finding sourcing. I can find things to read. The problem is i can't think of any way to make this a meaningful paper, specifically from an ethical perspective. The whole argument is pretty much "Are the potential benefits worth the change to the human experience?" How does one make 4 pages of that.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism#Controversy

Take each one in turn (pick 4) and use the arguments from both sides as ethical dilemmas. People feel differently about what would happen during each scenario, so look at the points of view and right vs. wrong outlooks. If you have a pre-set point of writing as if transhumanism is simply an extension of life to an indefinite length, then you'll want to look directly below the ethics section at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism#Currents

where they've listed the different philosophical outlooks which present differing viewpoints on how transhumanism should be performed and the desired outcomes of each. If you still have trouble, I'll write your paper for you, I love this stuff, been into it for years :)

User avatar
Gunfingers
Posts: 2401
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Re: Transhumanism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:12 pm UTC

KevorkianKat wrote:If you still have trouble, I'll write your paper for you, I love this stuff, been into it for years :)


Excellent, have it to me by the end of the month.

ducknerd
Posts: 211
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:18 pm UTC
Location: Alaska. No, seriously.
Contact:

Re: Transhumanism

Postby ducknerd » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:32 am UTC

Hell, you could do a LOT more than 4 pages on transhuman ethics. If anything, I think you're going to have a hard time getting it that short.
17/Male/Hetero/Euromutt


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests