Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transhumanism, and our Accelerating Future

First, what is Transhumanism? Transhumanism is the idea that humans have or will have the capability to transcend our biological limitations, and supersede our slow, natural evolution with one guided by our own hands. It's a seminew idea that officially started as it is today around the 1990's. A prominent supporter of this concept is futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil. He has several books on the topic, the latest being The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. I haven't finished it yet (still working through The Holographic Universe atm), but it's been quite an interesting read thusfar. On the wiki page about the book, it gives a good summary of what it is, and what his predictions about the future are. The books main focuses are as follows:
  • A technological-evolutionary point known as "the singularity" exists as an achievable goal for humanity.
  • Through a law of accelerating returns, technology is progressing toward the singularity at an exponential rate.
  • The functionality of the human brain is quantifiable in terms of technology that we can build in the near future.
  • Medical advancements make it possible for a significant number of his generation (Baby Boomers) to live long enough for the exponential growth of technology to intersect and surpass the processing of the human brain.
For a better idea on exactly how much faster our technological progress is about to get, I'll give you some examples right off the wiki page.
  • 2020's - computers (not components, but whole, functional computers) smaller than 100nm will be possible.
  • 2020's - nano-sized bots will be capable of being injected into the bloodstream, filtering out disease, pollutants, and supplying oxygen/neutrients to cells.
  • Late 2020's - nanotech-based manufacturing will be in widespread use, radically altering the economy as all sorts of products can suddenly be produced for a fraction of their traditional-manufacture costs.
  • late 2020's - The threat posed by genetically engineered pathogens permanently dissipates by the end of this decade as medical nanobots—far more durable, intelligent and capable than any microorganism—become sufficiently advanced.
  • 2030's - Recreational uses aside, nanomachines in people's brains will allow them to greatly expand their cognitive, memory and sensory capabilities, to directly interface with computers, and to telepathically communicate with other, similarly augmented humans via wireless networks.
  • 2030's - Mind uploading becomes possible.
  • 2040's - utility foglets in use.
  • 2040's - Organs are completely replaced by superior cybernetic implants.
  • Want to know how fast things are going to happen after around 2045, according to Kurzweil? Kurzweil predicts that machines will have the ability to make planet-sized computers by 2099, which underscores how enormously technology will advance after the Singularity.
I would like for you to know that Ray Kurzweil has also been accurately predicting many of our technological advancements / inventions since the 1980's. Cool stuff. You can skip the book and get the tl;dr version at this page (it's much shorter than the book, but will still take time to go through):

I'm currently writing a text file on this subject, but am interested in seeing how others feel about this concept. Let us making the discussion, no?

No comments:

Post a Comment