Why are (some) transhumanists such dicks?


#1

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Man's bad wooden HOV lane dummy
Eenie Meenie Meena Deeka
#2

Darwin said it best: “At the top tier of the evolutive process, organisms of similar characteristics will fight each other for the domineering spot to death and the right to lead the lesser ones. Still, Nature’s failsafe mechanisms will compel the strongest to mate with the loser, in order to share and develop beneficial characteristics which should allow them to flourish, unless they succumb to environmental factors or become prey”.
At this point we should be asking ourselves: what does transhumanism taste like? and how much of their power be transferred if consumed?


#3

Transhumanists are often more Ayn Randian in character

I mean, that’s really all that needs to be said, isn’t it? Most (not all) transhumanists see themselves as literal self-made ubermench, surrounded by mediocre muggles who fear their power.

That sort of philosophy inevitably turns into self-righteousness and distain, unless your sub-culture actively fights against that predisposition with an intentional, humble, altruistic effort— and I don’t see a lot of evidence that most (not all) strains of transhumanism make that effort.


#4

Look at the very word “transhumanist.” Does that evoke modesty and humility, or ego out the wazoo?


#5

The question I was asking myself was, “When can I expect the transhumanists to be compelled to mate with me?”


#6

Are there posthumanists? Or are they posthumous?


#7

Definitely the latter.

However, in fairness, that’s partially because of the selection process for which medical procedures(hypothesized or actually available) get classified as ‘transhumanism’ and which medical procedures get classified as ‘medicine’.

Using The Power Of Technology to transcend the weak, frail, limitations of the human body and mind is actually a downright mainstream activity; but all the boring, well accepted, standard, (and not pie-in-the-sky-fantasy) flavors are just classified as ‘medicine’, which more or less by (sloppy and implicit) definition leaves the ‘transhumanists’ with all the grandiose wish-fulfillment fantasy stuff.

If you dress them up in slightly bombastic language, vaccines, fertility treatments, antibiotics, cancer treatment, psych meds, and about a zillion other things are ‘transhuman’ “Achieve immunity to diseases with which you have never sullied yourself!” “Defy limits on your darwinian patrimony to the world!” “Focus more intensely than anyone can by ‘will’ alone!”.

This doesn’t mean that a fair few ‘transhumanists’ aren’t Grade-A dicks by any objective standard, and probably randroids to boot; but there is some selective classification at work.


#8

I can do even better. I have a technological artifact that allows me to travel at over 70 mph. I can also communicate with beings an unimaginable distance away. I HAVE THE POWER!


#9

I don’t understand the intent / informative value of the headline here. The article text seems to detail the difference between two different segments of transhumanist community. Aside from a link to discussion elsewhere, the article says jack squadoo about members of either one being / not being assholes. Is this simple drama baiting?

EDIT - ah, reading the link… (to an outsider) that looks an awful lot like one group of geeks who view themselves as looked down on pointing fingers at a similar group for being elitist and /or not as ‘punk rock’ as them.


#10

[quote=“boingboing, post:1, topic:52836”]Many grinders have the opinion transhumanists and grinders differ in class (transhumanists are perceived as wealthy), in geography (transhumanists often hail from the Bay Area, grinders tend to operate in working-class cities, including a prominent group in Pittsburgh), and in outlook (self-serving vs. collectively motivated).[/quote]You would think that those seeking to “actively hack themselves” would be the ones with substantial amounts of disposable income on hand in order to so safely and effectively.

On that note, what happened to that Tim Cannon guy? I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a spectacularly awful infection in the least fifteen months.


#11

Check out the body modification community. Look at bmezine.com for examples of some extreme things done. Not all of that requires Big Money.

There is a lot of prior art in the aesthetic-modification community, the seedy underworld around tattoo salons and weird clubs. Lots of knowledge, and biocompatible materials on hand, too.

Apparently he’s alive and kicking.

Something from May 2014
http://www.seriouswonder.com/biohacker-live-streams-xnt-implant-procedure/

And something in Spanish from end of January 2015.

And he is visiting hackerspaces.

So, it looks like you can have your surprise.


#12

Who wants modesty and humility when there’s the universe for taking?

The meek shall inherit the Earth. They can keep the stupid rock. We aim for the stars.


#13

That’s the part that gets me, that digging around in your own body while maybe sorta knowing what you’re doing, as opposed to getting medical professionals involved to help avoid infection, properly anchor or install whatever the component is, etc.
If I only had a handful of bucks and not much else, it damn sure wouldn’t go toward helping me implant a Handicam in my face with duct tape and superglue in my basement lair. However, if I had the money to do it right, get or build a useful and non-disfiguring component, have trained professionals on hand to assist (or more likely, to do), then I’d think about it a little harder.


#14

Wait - stop - old man confused.

I thought grinder was an app for gays to hook up.

Is the grinder in this article something different?

And they said that grinders were more “Pinky and the Brain”. Which means half of them are Pinkys. But I guess you need someone to test out that new prosthetic arm you made using a 3D printer and Legos.


#15

I’ll agree with “assholes everywhere” anytime.

I consider myself sort of a transhumanist, in that I think some of today’s wishful thinking might be part of tomorrow’s commonplace medicine, and eventually that will reach a point where certain ideas/concepts we have always held will have to change. If aging is no longer inevitable, for instance, every social institution we have is in for major renovation.

I think seeing these things as a hard dichotomy between the unfortunate normal humans and the enhanced ubermensch types, as a new kind of inequality, is a bit much though. This is kind of a thing we have already, where most of us assume every citizen has internet access and a cell phone (and a stable physical address, aka a home) even though it’s patently not true. It’s all part of the same old inequality that we haven’t solved yet and might not ever.

So I don’t think you have to be Ayn Randian to think in transhumanist terms. One of the promises of the Nerd Rapture is that this stuff will be cheap enough for “all”, not priced for John Galt.


#16

Ugh.
I feel like much of this explains my reading of “The Singularity is Near.”
Which, now that I think about it more, felt more like a Rand novel than I realized at the time.


#17

Psst: That’s “grindr”, without the “e”.


#18

God damn it - no wonder no one messages me.


#19

I imagine that if one of the defining factors bringing a group of people together is the belief that “being an off-the-shelf human isn’t good enough” then it would make sense for many of those people to have a certain distaste for the vast majority of humanity.


#20

So this article is about World of Warcraft classes right?