A-Z of the Future > Transhumanism
Transhumanism is the idea of self-directed human evolution – using technologies to enhance human capabilities – both mental and physical.
The limitations of the human condition are immediately obvious – we are fragile mortal beings with little conception of the meaning of our own fleeting existence. We have a consciousness that allows us to love, to imagine, to desire, to rationalise and yet we are bounded by numerous physical and intellectual constraints.
Dreams of everlasting life, the ability to fly, or the means to predict our fate have long been the stuff of legend - for example, Gilgamesh, Icarus and the Oracle at Delphi. The difference is that now we have the scientific and technological understanding that is putting these potentialities on the cusp of reality. The NBIC suite of converging technologies (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science) are giving rise to radical possibilities.
Morphological freedom is the idea of taking on new physical forms. Artificial intelligence is rapidly improving and with the development of brain-computer-interfaces some argue our only hope of staying ahead of machine intelligence is to fuse with it. Others argue the future of humanity lies in creating human consciousness in digital form which will allow for the mind to travel between different physical bodies – perhaps with infinite plasticity in the form of tiny nanobot swarms.
But will everyone have access to such radical technologies? If not could species divergence occur where we have humans and super-humans living side by side competing for resources?