Tag Archive | Philosophy

The Transhumanist Reader

English: Transhumanism H+ symbol Русский: Симв...

Transhumanism H+ symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a follow-up to my last post here about transhumanism, is an interesting podcast from Singularity blog about the new book The Transhumanist Reader from Natasha Vita-More.

What is transhumanism ?

According to wikipedia :

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

Who is Natasha Vita-More ?

According to wikipedia:

Natasha Vita-More (born Nancie Clark in Westchester County, New York) is a university lecturer on transhumanism and the Creative Director of H+ Lab.

In 1982, Vita-More authored a Transhuman Statement; produced and hosted cable TV show TransCentury Update on human futures reaching over 100,000 viewers in Los Angeles and Telluride 1985–1992; founded Transhumanist Arts and Culture 1993. She was the Chair of “Vital Progress Summit” 2004, establishing a precedent for proaction of human enhancement. She was the president of the Extropy Institute 2002-2006. She currently advises non-profit organizations including Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, Adaptive A.I., and LifeBoat Foundation, and Alcor Life Extension Foundation, and has been a consultant to IBM on the future of human performance.

The Transhumanist Reader

This is a book about transhumanism and the human nature.

The book description (according to amazon) is:

The first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking.
The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations. Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns. Edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism, The Transhumanist Reader is an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature.
Bellow is a the podcast I was talking about.

More information about this book and Natasha Vita-More are found here.

Appreciation of Life and Technology

This is an interesting video from David Di Franco about life and technology.

Is Futurama the Best Argument Against Transhumanism?

This is an interesting video about the future of our world and the vision of transhumanism.

But, first, what is transhumanism (according to wikipedia) ?

Transhumanism, abbreviated as H+ or h+, is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label “posthuman“.

More information about this video :

Transhumanism is a scientific philosophy that says technology will solve all our human biological constraints and that immortality is right around the corner (well not RIGHT around the corner, but WAYYY closer). They envision a world of endlessly euphoric robo-humans that represent the next step in evolution. And while this sounds super awesome, we had to ask, will this really make us happy?!

If you watch Futurama, than you know that the answer is probably NO. While not an exact illustration of transhumanism, Futurama does show a future of vast technological ability, where today’s everyday problems are rendered moot, and yet the characters on the show still seem to find themselves in some very non-euphoric emotional states. Does this disprove what transhumanists expect for our future?

The Fate of Reason in an Age of Belief

A philosophical view of science and religion in history, from great thinkers.

Award-winning film-maker and author, Stephen Trombley offers a fresh analysis of the key thinkers whose work from the Enlightenment to the present day is of continued importance as we proceed into the 21st century.

More information in the event page :

In his new book ’50 Thinkers Who Shaped the Modern World’, Emmy-award-wining film-maker and author Stephen Trombley offers a concise history of modern thought from the Enlightenment to the present day. Profiling the landmark philosophers, scientists, political and social theorists as well as spiritual leaders whose ideas have defined the age we live in, Trombley offers a fresh analysis of their key ideas, and re-evaluation of their importance as we proceed into the 21st century.

In a special event at the RSA, Stephen Trombley offers a stout defence of rationality in what he sees as an era of rising irrational belief; and argues for the continued utility of the work of the four “shapers-in-chief” of our modern world: Marx, Darwin, Einstein and Freud

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Antifragile

This is an interesting post from RSA, on a more philosophical note, on anti-fragility or how to live in a world with uncertainty.

Radical philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb offers a blueprint for how to live – and thrive – in a world we don’t understand, and which is too uncertain for us to even try to predict.

The Art of Creative Coding

Here is a video about some things that don’t intersect each other that often : art and programming .

Programming plays a huge role in the world that surrounds us, and though its uses are often purely functional, there is a growing community of artists who use the language of code as their medium. To simplify the coding process, several platforms and libraries have been assembled to allow coders to cut through the nitty-gritty of programming and focus on the creative aspects of the project. These platforms all share a strong open source philosophy that encourages growth and experimentation, creating a rich community of artists that share their strategies and work with unprecedented openness.

The Magic of Consciousness

Here is a video about the flow of consciousness by Daniel Dennett.

Daniel Dennett is Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

Here Professor Dennett lectures on the philosophical obstacles to understanding consciousness. This lecture includes topics covered in detail in his wonderful books “Consciousness Explained” and “Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness”.