Artificial General Intelligence

This article talks about numerous transhumanist. One that captured my attention was the one about artificial general intelligence, AGI. This is the ability to achieve complex goals in complex environment usint limited computational resources. Thinking, feeling, imagining, communicating thoughtful synthetic intelligence with conscious experience. It is similar to robots or computers. A lot of computrrs and advanced technology right now can help achieve this goal. Present day computers are fast enough to computing the power of the human brain.

There is already a machine out there called Kludge Al. It is programed to function similar as humans. Its can be mediocre at some tasks and be super human at some. Although it is kind of slow, it it possible to improve its performance by adding more hardware. There are many tests such as the coffee robot test, the student robot test, and the employment test. These tests tests if the robot is capable of normal to intelligent human functions.

I personally think it is possible in the future for us to have these types of robots and AGIs. Although it may be hard, with our advancing technology anything is possible.

| Leave a comment

Transhumanism and Procreation

Some scientists say that transhumanism’s ultimate goal of escaping mortality will be feasible within this century. In his article, Zoltan Istvan, keeps this thought in mind when he poses this question, “Should transhumanists have children?”

Illustrating several viewpoints that address this inquiry, Istvan half-heartedly says that biologic life will become obsolete. From Istvan’s perspective, having children doesn’t make sense, because, by his understanding of transhumanism, humans will be able to upload their brains into computers, will take on virtual lives, and will adapt to this new virtual world. How and why would anyone raise a child?

This article, though  thought-provoking, produces no concrete answer to the question, “Should transhumanists have children?” Valid points about transhumanism are made throughout, but the author, who appears to be on the cusp of totally agreeing that procreation will become pointless, recoils by stating that he looks forward to the birth of his daughter–a real “cop out.”

Keeping to the scope of Istvan’s idea of transhumanism and posthumanism, I, personally, don’t take any of these arguments seriously, because I don’t see transhumanism and posthumanism as viable means of immortality. Living in a virtual world is not really “living.” In order to be living, one must be experiencing life–not existing in a sterile, unfeeling virtual world. As for raising kids, that’s really a personal preference that transhumanism need not address.

| Leave a comment

Posthuman Dignity

The source I’m sharing is “In Defense of Posthuman Dignity” by Oxford professor Nick Bostrom. It discusses arguments against posthumanism (which is basically transhumanism – the jargon change comes from the idea that transhumanist technology will make us more than human, therefore posthuman is a more appropriate name) and posthuman dignity, and describes why the author thinks these arguments are wrong.

He refutes the arguments that 1. becoming posthuman is degrading and dehumanizing, and 2. the existence of posthumans would create a dangerous tension between “normal” humans and posthumans, which can lead to dangerous, perhaps genocidal results. He refutes these by arguing that 1. nature is not objectively good (see our own weakness to disease, or tendency of hurting each other) and 2. society already has functioning laws in place to protect those who are considered different or less capable.

Beyond these arguments, he discusses posthuman dignity (the name of the article), specifically responding to the question: is human dignity incompatible with posthuman dignity? Human dignity here not only meaning worthy of respect simply for being, but also our moral worthiness, how good we are as humans. To the first point, Bostrom suggests that history has constantly changed the definition of who is worthy of human dignity (in American history from wealthy white men, moving incrementally to include all citizens), so it is not worth looking at today’s standards and suggesting they won’t ever change. To the second point, he argues that this isn’t a new problem at all. People will always use technology for good or for bad, so the question of dignity here isn’t specifically dangerous in terms of posthumanism.

I hesitate to post my opinion because I haven’t quite formed one yet. This is a really difficult topic to even think about (to imagine such technology, that is), let alone form a specific, educated stance. But overall, this article was a really interesting read and I hope everyone can take a look.

| 1 Comment