Monday, November 23, 2015

Transhuman predictions

Proponents of transhumanism et. al., I apologize.

My posts will be brief this week. True, I have the days off but there's no shortage of things to do. I'm also making my entries on the Blogger app. As such, I can't find a way to add hyperlinks. So you'll just get...well...links. Here's one:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-kurzweil-most-extreme-predictions-2015-11

It's a sort of primer article on transhumanism focused on Ray Kurzweil. Ray Kurzweil has made several bold predictions. They aren't exactly new. Many of them are covered in his books, The Singularity is Near and The Age of Spiritual Machines. Here are a few of those predictions.

-Nanobots will connect our brains directly to cloud computing. I love talking with my students about this concept. Nanobots adhered cybernetically to the nervous system, allowing us "complete and immersive access" to virtual reality. Why would anyone want to leave?

-Nanobots will be key in life extension. Bolster that immune system by swarming and killing invaders and irregular cell growth.

-We can 3D print anything. Lungs, rib cages, suspension bridges, and...all manner of stuff.

-We will recreate the deceased via AI. This is certainly one of Kurzweil's boldest...and most controversial...predictions. Through a DNA sample, Nanobots will extract memories and recreate the person as an artificial intelligence. Chew that one over for a little while.

-After the Singularity, we upload. Once fully merged with machines, human consciousness itself may be uploaded to brain-based computers but with a billion times the computing power of the human brain.

-Virtual bodies. I've often wondered about the mind/body conundrum when it comes to uploaded human consciousness. Our minds need a body because we are just wired that way after millions of years of evolution. Kurzweil's theory is that transhumanism will allow us to have virtual bodies that are completely customizable.

-The Singularity will make us funnier. Now that's an interesting assertion. How you might ask? To hear Kurzweil say it, Nanobot-enhanced intelligence will allow us to be more creative and even for different modes of expression. Splendeferous! Well, for me, anyway.

If you want to disagree with Kurzweil, that's fine. God knows many people do. Two things you may wish to consider however. One, Kurzweil bases his predictions on the Law of Accelerating Returns. Look it up. Two, transhumanism isn't really a new concept. There's evidence of prosthetic developments since ancient Egypt and the 16th Century:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/object-of-intrigue-the-prosthetic-iron-hand-of-a-16thcentury-knight?kwp_0=61361&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=keywee&kwp_4=344665&kwp_1=217176

Are Kurzweil's predictions merely logical extensions?




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