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At Mind Matters News: Epitaph for transhumanism: But it’s far from dead!, advocate says


Canadian bioethicist and transhumanist George Dvorsky embraced it as a religion but he sees public interest waning amid growing criticism of Big Tech’s side effects:

Dvorsky offers some suggestions as to why the transhumanist movement has stalled: One is that, what with wearables and virtual reality, we are living in a partly transhuman environment now. Possibly, but the public isn’t clamoring for any more of it. In fact, as he admits, the public is having second thoughts. A growing chorus suggests, for example, that social media be off limits to teens for the same reasons as alcohol and firearms are. There are also increasingly pointed questions around social media suicides. Mark Zuckerberg’s executives are deserting his virtual universe. And the AI Church has collapsed in a scandal. Even enthusiast PJ Manney thinks transhumanism “could use an upgrade.”

Here’s a possibility Dvorsky doesn’t consider. This morning, Eric Holloway wrote about the fundamental deficit in artificial neural networks (ANNs), compared to human thinking: Neural networks get stymied by complex decisions due to the very processes that enable them to make any decisions at all. Bigger networks won’t fix that.

News, “Epitaph for transhumanism: But it’s far from dead!, advocate says ” at Mind Matters News (August 8, 2022)

Takehome: The waning of interest in transhumanism may be related to a growing awareness of the fundamental limits of artificial intelligence.

You may also wish to read: John Lennox: Transhumanism is not a new idea. In his just-published book, 2084, Oxford mathematician John Lennox points out that, in the 20th century, both the Communists and the Nazis had attempted transhumanist projects. The likely outcome of all transhumanist attempts to re-engineer humanity will be the extinction of humanity.

Well, I disagree with the conclusions. The idea that man can upgrade his mind, for example, means fully understanding how the brain works. No evidence that that is going anywhere. The idea that man can upgrade or modify his body has some basis but it's in the medical field only. A fully functioning arm replacement may not be far off. https://www.medgadget.com/2014/05/dean-kamens-luke-arm-worlds-most-advanced-prosthesis-receives-fda-approval.html There are still issues with sensing heat and cold and surface textures. A prosthetic leg is available: https://www.theverge.com/2013/9/26/4774444/rehabilitation-institute-chicago-creates-mind-controlled-bionic-leg The idea that a man could grow wings, for example, requires complex growth commands and integration with the human muscles and skeletal structure. This is beyond genetic engineering since the brain would have to be involved in coordinating the necessary muscle movements to stay aloft and maneuver. There is also the issue of putting blood into these appendages. The idea that a totally functional humanoid robot could be developed where the mind/thoughts of a living human being could be downloaded is beyond any current technology, although science-fiction has tackled this to varying degrees of plausibility. Flying cars exist. But you cannot get clearance to fly them. A power failure at altitude would turn the vehicle into a heavy weight that could fall on people or buildings or other object on the ground. I add this example to show that even though something can be built, it may not be safe. So-called fake name transhumanism means man goes beyond his current biological limitations. That is not likely to happen for two reasons: cost and actual need. relatd

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