Saturday, December 4, 2010

Transhuman armageddon!

Last night's Coast To Coast AM featured researcher Tom Horn.  Apparently (and I'm going by the show summary I get from the C2C newsletter), Horn bemoaned advancements in genetics and cybernetics, warning that we are headed for a new kind of arms race.
He contends that the Pentagon sees that "the human enhancement revolution is just around the corner."  New wars will be fought with deadly combinations of robotics and biotech.  That is not entirely false.  Remote controlled weapons systems like UAVs are becoming more and more integrated into frontline combat.
Horn went on to warn of The Singularity, in which the human brain itself can be altered by technology.  This, he argues, will only open a causeway to beings from alternate dimensions.  That and there is a war coming between "normal humans" and advanced, augmented human constructs known as "artilects."  Interestingly enough, this very notion has been discussed in Forbes magazine, of all places.  And here I was expecting the notion to be found in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I cannot begin to draw the number of comparisons there are between the "profundity" of Horn's scenario and science fiction memes.  This is not surprising.  There is an old adage that I believe holds true here: any technology that is around at the time of our birth is seen as commonplace.  Any technology that arrives before we turn 30 is new and exciting to us.  Any technology that arrives past age 30 is something to be feared and distrusted.  As a tech geek or "techie" as Kip would call it, I've never subscribed to that interpretation of technological development.  You cannot fight progress any more than you can halt the proliferation of television at this point.
Of course there will be pitfalls that come from the advancement of cybernetics.  Of course the awful side of human nature will come through and exploit the advancements towards ill ends.  Kurzweil himself warned that the war between humans and cyborgs would be a quick one and wouldn't turn out so well for us.

Still, to succumb to fear and cease to work on cybernetics and human/technological integration is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  There are myriad good things can and will come of this.  True, we should be on guard against probable pitfalls, but we should not fear the least not in terms of transhumanism.  Society itself is another matter.

Look out!  Dear God, it's coming for you next!

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