Transhumanity, like it or not? (was: Prince Charles gets nervous)

Jeff Bone jbone at
Mon Apr 28 17:40:43 PDT 2003

On Monday, Apr 28, 2003, at 16:01 US/Central, Tom wrote:

> As for a "greater mind" knowing whats best for me, I dont buy into that
> from the Judeo/Christians, Islamics, etc etc so why should I buy into 
> it
> or some other "higher power" scheme no matter who techofashionately
> clothed?

Generally speaking, I agree with the sentiment but not the particulars.

Please don't forget what I said:  I don't find forced-change an 
acceptable outcome.  But I also don't find extinction an acceptable 
outcome.  Finding a balance between the two that preserves autonomy is 
my preferred path.

You're too anxious to tar everything with your ubiquitous "faith" 
brush, Tom, particularly in this case.  Doing so causes serious 
ontological breakage in the conversation.  I'm not taking it for 
granted that transhumans will be benevolent or will necessarily know or 
keep mere humans' best interests in mind.  OTOH, I'm not knee-jerk 
enough to automatically assume they won't.  Making either call is a 
leap of faith, and I'm won't go there.

> Once again, offering up humanity to those sort of "faith based" choices
> seems as precarious as most other faith based choices.

Again, not a faith-based choice.  Merely a possibility, one that relies 
on faith not at all.  Faith is that which by definition is beyond 
rational discourse.  We can't really rationally discuss differing 
points of view on whether or not "God" exists.  (We can rationally have 
a meta- or second-order discussion about that, though.)  We can have a 
very rational (albeit long and winding) discussion about transhuman 
ethics, and we might even get *some* small part of that right, based on 
being pre-transhumans or proto-transhumans ourselves.

> In so much as the Transhumans will still be in some part human and 
> given
> the historical behavioral dealings of humans in social settings it 
> seems a
> better bet to go with the "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
> outcome.

This ignores the qualitative differences that will likely be in effect. 
  Seems rather pessimistic to assume that, with better thinking 
facilities to draw on, that'll just lead to bigger / tougher / more 
evil megabads.


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