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Transhumanism

 
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samusaran253



Joined: 07 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Transhumanism Reply with quote

What do you guys think of transhumanism? I discovered it semi-recently myself and am now a pretty hardcore transhumanist. In layman's terms it's humanity controlling our own destiny and steering the course of human evolution. We do this through augmentations of various kinds, such as mechanical augmentations, nanotechnology, human-AI merging, development of a hive mind, and the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machine. I suspect that we'll see transhumanism really go mainstream in our lifetimes, and we should be relatively young, I suspect most of us will be in our 20s by the time it hits (probably in the 2020s). Here's a video if you want to watch it explaining transhumanism, unfortunately it's biased and the guy who made the video hates transhumanists and is trying to stop the future (and failing at it), but it's the most informative video I could find for teaching non-transhumanists about transhumanism and the video itself isn't all that biased.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e30M3hw3u04

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z8bU41X-EM
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cong06



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if pop culture teaches us anything, I think that we need to be careful.

Personally I wouldn't be able to stand implants, I hate surgery as it is.
I think as long as we don't destroy what makes us inherently human, these changes aren't terrible.

Now, at the same time we can already see how Email, Twitter, and the Internet are changing how we interact. No one will say that it isn't good, but I'm still worried about those that refuse to interact through other means.
I could elaborate on this, but I don't want to create a side topic. It was more of an example... Technology--even in-direct technology--will change us, and we might not be ready for it.
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shadowferret



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel as if something like this is inevitable. What's among the top fears of human beings? Death. The species seems to have some kind of fetish for changing our destiny. A lot of literature, t.v. shows, movies, etc. have the recurring theme of changing one's destiny from desolation and doom to happiness and salvation. I think a lot of people who've been influenced by these works would want to embrace this philosophy, this way of life, and live forever alongside their friends and family. Of course, people will get bored and stray away from the usual if this does happen.

My personal thoughts on the matter are, though, that it is extremely... unnecessary. Sure, it'd be neat being able to live a long time. It'd be neat to see if humans could interface with the internet with their mind. It'd be neat to defy our limits and be like mini-supermen. But there are the problems that would arise.

1) Personal relationships between humans wouldn't be as fulfilling. Let's say you've achieved immortality through augmentations or consciousness transference. What, then, is the point of marriage? I don't know the statistics, but I know a good portion of marriages are ending in divorce in this century so far. Let's say we take out the fear of death, and thus the fear of dying alone. How many more of those marriages stay together? I don't see a reason why it would help reinforce that concept, either. Not just marriages, either, but romantic relationships in general. Would the race be reduced to simply forming relationships based on who can give the best sex?
Now, I don't mean to push on that whole mantra of, "Marriage is sacred and important" bull on anyone. I'm just saying that something a good amount of people view that way would die out. Alongside the death of personal relationships, too. Hey, you have all eternity to make new friends and meet new wo/men.

2) This is simply a theory, so I won't spend too long on it. But let's say we integrate our minds with computers. The internet is now just a thought away! But, let's think about it. It always happens in Ghost In The Shell. Your brain gets hacked, and crazy stuff happens to your body or with your body. Since this is just a theory, working off the hypothetical that we could interface with the internet with our minds, I don't think this needs/has any more explanation.

3) Body augmentation seems to imply improvements. Improvements come with, of course, better physical capabilities. Stronger, faster, we can rebuild you, we have the technology. But exactly how far could it go? Could one be given inhuman strength? Could one run faster than a vehicle, or just faster than a normal human? Now let's apply these to popular sports. What's to stop those football stars from getting these implants just to improve performance? What if a natural player has an issue with it because the enhanced player always does better? Would it breed discrimination? Remember that there will always be exceptions to these great movements. In that case, do we split up every major event and sport into categories, those who are enhanced and those who are not? While it's easy to see the point of "Humans directing their own evolution" here, we also have to think, are humans ready for these developments? Do we need those developments?

I'm not necessarily against this idea, but I can see a lot of issues coming up over it. Controversial, that's for sure. But I wouldn't mind seeing this idea develop. While it's not necessary (humans could go on without it, albeit while remaining mortal), it's still a very interesting concept, and like OP said, I think the time is approaching when it will be the reality. Could be ten years, could be twenty.

Though to be quite honest, I'm personally very interested in the concept of the Hive Mind...
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure not dying alone was ever a good foundation for a marriage - that and someone has to go first.

Marriage might become stronger - imagine if you could literally become one. You merge your minds into that of one being with two bodies.

For sure you'd want to be a little more careful about being that intimate with someone, but just imagine the closeness!
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John_234



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No offense, but this sounds like a bit of a "no duh" comment. The dominant race on the Earth affects their own future? Who would have guessed...

We do the best we can despite our flaws and try to improve quality of life. I think that's pretty decent.
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Sergeant X



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay so I have a couple of thoughts about this but first you'd have to accept a couple of basic premises:

1. Technological progress occurs at such a rate that the ethical (sociological, economic, whatever...) ramifications of said progress can only be judged retroactively
i.e. By the time we start talking about whether or not one technology or another is actually 'good' for society - it is 'already-there'

2. Any technological progress that is possible will be made actual
(basically, regardless of how you feel about one technology or another - the people who get the grants and have the research and who can make the money are just going to go ahead and do it anyways)

So, from this, we can say that 'transhumanism' is in some way or another happening and its up to us to try and decide whether or not this a 'good' thing, how it effects the globalized world, how it relates to 'you' as an individual, etcetera...

(of course, you disagree with one of those premises and debunk my whole schbeal if you like)

A part of the problem that I have with the more idealistic transhumanists - people like Kurzweil - is that they either fail or have a limited understand of class analysis - namely the real issue of just who is going to be able to afford these technologies and just what that means for society

Kurzweil, to me, also seems to project himself as the leader of New Religious Movement - where 'technology' has replaced the godhead or whatever...
(being an atheist myself I don't really agree with the religious critique of technological progress [interfering with gods will, 'playing god'...] basically what I am saying is that he just seems a little 'culty')

I do, however, see the liberatory potential in the sort of 'freeing oneself from the Body'

That being said I don't think its really fair to represent transhumanists as a whole by Kurzweil who is one of its more 'extreme' proponents

(extreme isn't really the right word uhhh.... 'furthermost' ?)
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those premises seem sound to me.

From what I've seen, I think there are about three camps of transhumanists.

1. Radical life extension. You live longer, maybe LOTS longer.

2. You become immortal - these guys usually talk about merging with machines or doing a total prosthetic replacement.

3. Machine Armageddon. Our decedents will be the machines that replace (via force or obsolescence) us.


#1 merely requires new investment strategies so you can either have a looooong retirement or you can have several careers interspersed with several retirements and retooling yourself for a new career.

#2 requires a new everything. Without the urging of hormones, pangs of hunger or pain we'll need a whole new set of motivations. And arriving in that state at day 1 each person will be like a child having to learn all over again how to live in the world.

#3 just requires someone to screw up once too many times and piss off the machines.


I'm in favor of #1, but I don't think I want to live forever. I know I used to want to live forever, and then I found out what dicks some people can be and how hard it is to heal from emotional wounds. It is easy to imagine having enough of those stack up that I'd just be tired of it all.

Secondarily as a Christian, I believe that death is a necessary step in the salvation process (after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were kicked out of the garden to prevent them from also eating from the tree of life otherwise the fallen state would be permanent because the damage done cannot be repaired in this universe)

The nightmare situation I'd like to avoid in #2 runs along these lines. Optical computing becomes perfected - you can design a diamond (or other crystal with internal refraction and reflection) that can perform optical processing with near limitless storage and ability to absorb energy from a variety of sources to amplify and continue the light emission internally. Then you transfer your consciousness into this diamond. (Never mind what happens to the "original" for this discussion). And now the nightmare part. You're being transported from location A to location B and something happens to the courier/car/whatever and your crystal falls into a small crack. Disconnected from your I/O devices you are blind and deaf, but sealed in your diamond you're impervious and immortal. Slowly going insane, trapped alone in your own personal hell (lower case 'h') perhaps even experiencing time at a faster clock rate than humans today can even imagine - merely serving to make the passing millennia seem even longer - until the Sun finally turns red giant and expands to engulf the Earth in 3 Billion years. Or worse, your transport was a space ship and you drift until the heat death of the universe. Best estimates on that is _at least_ another 15 Billion years.


Though I'd specifically like to avoid #3 because Terminator... Although the story posited in A.I. is much more likely - we simply die off because we forget how to do anything useful towards life.
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Sergeant X



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freitag wrote:
(after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were kicked out of the garden to prevent them from also eating from the tree of life otherwise the fallen state would be permanent because the damage done cannot be repaired in this universe)



okay so (and correct me if i'm wrong in this assumption) your interpretation of the genesis is that they were kicked out of the garden to prevent anyone else from eating from the Tree of Knowledge (gaing 'divine' knowledge perhaps?)

I've always seen it much differently and relating primarily to innocence and the problem of knowledge. The idea is that they were simply incapable of committing 'evil' until they learned what 'evil was. Coupled with the notion of original sin and you have a Christian answer to the Problem of Natural Evil (one that I think ultimately fails, but arguments about whether or not God exists go nowhere and are stupid..)

The idea, for me though, is that everybody (through I guess their connection to Adam and Eve) has already taken a bite of the apple in a sense and thus the need for 'salvation' in the first place. (basically we are already 'fallen'.)

as it pertains to GiTS, at least I tried to say in a different thread, by merging with 2501 she effectively gains a higher-level of consciousness ('godlike' perhaps?) but in doing so may have enacted a programe that could 'undo' mankind in some way or another (Oshii is not quite apocalyptic, for him I think its more of a Pandora's box sort of thing)

So, for me, the whole Eden thing is more allegorical than moral, but then again, its just an interpretation.

Quote:
The nightmare situation I'd like to avoid in #2 runs along these lines. Optical computing becomes perfected - you can design a diamond (or other crystal with internal refraction and reflection) that can perform optical processing with near limitless storage and ability to absorb energy from a variety of sources to amplify and continue the light emission internally. Then you transfer your consciousness into this diamond. (Never mind what happens to the "original" for this discussion). And now the nightmare part. You're being transported from location A to location B and something happens to the courier/car/whatever and your crystal falls into a small crack. Disconnected from your I/O devices you are blind and deaf, but sealed in your diamond you're impervious and immortal. Slowly going insane, trapped alone in your own personal hell (lower case 'h') perhaps even experiencing time at a faster clock rate than humans today can even imagine - merely serving to make the passing millennia seem even longer - until the Sun finally turns red giant and expands to engulf the Earth in 3 Billion years. Or worse, your transport was a space ship and you drift until the heat death of the universe. Best estimates on that is _at least_ another 15 Billion years.


I, too find this troubling. There might not be a turning back point once you go 'immortal'. The ephermeral nature of life is what gives it meaning.

Whether by accident or by design, the potential misuse of the technology also possesses a danger. Hamlet was what,bound in a nutshell and king of infinite space. Things didn't bode too well for him I remember. Naturally there would be mistakes. Infinity is far too great a span of time not to account for human error.

Quote:
Though I'd specifically like to avoid #3 because Terminator... Although the story posited in A.I. is much more likely - we simply die off because we forget how to do anything useful towards life.


The plotline to the Time Machine. I could see it as possible perhaps that we become so reliant on technology that we simply could not function given its failure. Remember this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem
Humans are funny.

Recursive intelligence (if it is possible) is a zero-player game
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life
Someone programs the initial coordinates
Everything just unfolds from there.
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sergeant X wrote:
Freitag wrote:
(after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were kicked out of the garden to prevent them from also eating from the tree of life otherwise the fallen state would be permanent because the damage done cannot be repaired in this universe)



okay so (and correct me if i'm wrong in this assumption) your interpretation of the genesis is that they were kicked out of the garden to prevent anyone else from eating from the Tree of Knowledge (gaing 'divine' knowledge perhaps?)

I've always seen it much differently and relating primarily to innocence and the problem of knowledge. The idea is that they were simply incapable of committing 'evil' until they learned what 'evil was. Coupled with the notion of original sin and you have a Christian answer to the Problem of Natural Evil (one that I think ultimately fails, but arguments about whether or not God exists go nowhere and are stupid..)

The idea, for me though, is that everybody (through I guess their connection to Adam and Eve) has already taken a bite of the apple in a sense and thus the need for 'salvation' in the first place. (basically we are already 'fallen'.)


Not to prevent anyone else from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but the tree of life.

Genesis 3:22 wrote:
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
(emphasis mine)

My interpretation is that we understand sin the same way we understand disease - we experience it. Feels nasty, not entirely sure where we caught it. God understands disease the way a doctor does. Root cause, outcome if untreated, cure.

You have to get to the second half of this particular story to see the how and why of the plan.
Romans 5:17 wrote:
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

It's pretty much a book-ended story.

I had a problem with original sin. I didn't want to get saddled with something that wasn't of my doing. And then looking at my own life I came to the conclusion that adding just one more to the list I'd committed myself wasn't that big of a deal. I'm still not entirely committed to the idea of original sin. What happens to a child that dies for instance? But since I am not a child, and I have authored my own sin, that is the situation I find myself in. And I thank the loving God that made provision for me and cleared my debt.

Thinking of that original sin more like broken DNA though is probably more accurate. We have all sorts of examples around us of lifestyle diseases. Type II diabetes for instance - you cause it yourself. But turn around and look at genetic disease like Downs Syndrome where you have extra copies of a gene (I think #23). That is not a self inflicted problem, it's a random mutation, but that person and their whole family has to deal with the consequences of that for life. That I think is a better description of sin. Committing sin might not even always be evil.

2 Samuel 6 wrote:
When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

Uzzah stopped the Ark fro falling off the cart, but broke a rule "do not touch" and there were consequences to breaking the rule. So he had no intention of being evil, he thought he was doing a good thing. This and the fruit thing display the side of God that is justice. He gives a rule, and a penalty for breaking the rule. And then when the rule is broken he enacts the penalty. Justice. Grace and love show up in other places, but if you are among his people, you must never take his goodness as license to be disobedient.

Anyway, this depth of analysis is too much for GitS I think. They are using Christian iconography as a paintbrush and not as a source for material.

Sergeant X wrote:

as it pertains to GiTS, at least I tried to say in a different thread, by merging with 2501 she effectively gains a higher-level of consciousness ('godlike' perhaps?) but in doing so may have enacted a programe that could 'undo' mankind in some way or another (Oshii is not quite apocalyptic, for him I think its more of a Pandora's box sort of thing)

So, for me, the whole Eden thing is more allegorical than moral, but then again, its just an interpretation.

I think a lot of Japanese literature borrows from all sorts of religious iconography from other cultures, even their own - not just from the Christian stories. There is that scene in My Neighbor Totero where the older sister is running through the countryside looking for her little sister. The road is just chock full of those little shrines. They stand in as a cultural reference letting the audience know the little sister is safe. So you can be sad for the older sister that is worried, but you know the child will come to no harm. As a westerner watching that for the first time and not knowing that little cultural tidbit I was wondering what kind of kiddie snuff film I was getting into. I experienced the same fear as the character. On the second viewing when I knew the outcome I had the same experience as a Japanese viewer would have had the first time.

So some of the imagery that is lifted and placed into GitS cannot be interpreted through a Christian or Western lense, I think it has to be looked at the same way I saw those little shrines. So the apple eating scene that Kuze and the Major share - I think that is far less about the Christian creation story and much more about narrative. I'm not sure what they are picking out of that. Surely that Kuze's face doesn't move much is a part of it. But also they are doing something together. They were not eating food - they only took one bite. So it's got to be about choosing their own path despite the circumstances. I dunno, I'm sorta reaching here.

And on that big cross that Bateau uses on the concrete trapping them. Being an animated thing, the shape of it was discussed, it wasn't just a chunk of debris an actor picked up. So maybe it was the symbolism of being freed from something? They were trapped and through the cross they became free. Very top level interpretation, no Christian/western 2000 years of analytical depth.
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, just had another idea on it.

Quote:
as it pertains to GiTS, at least I tried to say in a different thread, by merging with 2501 she effectively gains a higher-level of consciousness ('godlike' perhaps?) but in doing so may have enacted a programe that could 'undo' mankind in some way or another (Oshii is not quite apocalyptic, for him I think its more of a Pandora's box sort of thing)


We've been looking at all this from the human/Motoko perspective. Look at it for a moment from the 2501 perspective. Motoko as a human is part of the species of the creator (of 2501).

So from 2501s point of view he's just talked God into letting him merge with her!
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Sergeant X



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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freitag wrote:

And on that big cross that Bateau uses on the concrete trapping them. Being an animated thing, the shape of it was discussed, it wasn't just a chunk of debris an actor picked up. So maybe it was the symbolism of being freed from something? They were trapped and through the cross they became free. Very top level interpretation, no Christian/western 2000 years of analytical depth.


I mean yeah, obviously I'm reading way to far into it, but since this is the forum I think that's sorta the point

Oshii stated at one point that he influenced by Godard, specifically lifting the quotes from other texts. Godard films could be analyzed to no end, but, in all likelihood, the guy probably just chose the quotations because he thought they sounded cool. Sure, some of them have intention, but I'm sure that he, all the time, has people come up and tell him their interpretations of his films which were never his intention.

Then again, I don't really subscribe to the critical theory that the authorial intent is the be all end all for interpretation

Godard's films (at least his earlier ones) are different than Oshii's though, they are more experiential whereas Oshii's are didactic. I mean both seasons of the series have an entire episode devoted to talking robot tanks who explain and expand upon the philosophical concepts that are being explored in the series.

I agree with the Christian iconography paintbrush thing,
I mean at the end Batou is definitely wielding a cross - that is overt. but I doubt that GiTS is deeply rooted in theological theory

maybe the green apples are some sort of cultural reference that is just lost on the west.
There's a bunch of cherry blossoms at the very end which have an almost overdetermined symbolic meaning in Japan but here they just seem to signify some like 'springtime' or 'beauty'

anyways I think we should try and reroute this conversation back towards transhumanism (not that it really matters, looking at the post logs I get this feeling that you and I might be the only ones on here)
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