Transhumanist Philosophy

On Sunday, November 3rd: Adam Ford, will speak on Transhumanist Philosophy.

Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. “Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.” (Max More 1990)

Transhumanism takes a multidisciplinary approach in analyzing the dynamic interplay between humanity and the acceleration of technology. In this sphere, much of our focus and attention is on the present technologies, such as biotechnology and information technology, and anticipated future technologies, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial general intelligence. Transhumanism seeks the ethical use of these and other speculative technologies. Our theoretical interests focus on posthuman topics of the singularity, extinction risk, and human enhancement.

== Transhumanist Declaration ==

Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.We believe that humanity’s potential is still mostly unrealized. There are possible scenarios that lead to wonderful and exceedingly worthwhile enhanced human conditions.We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. There are possible realistic scenarios that lead to the loss of most, or even all, of what we hold valuable. Some of these scenarios are drastic, others are subtle. Although all progress is change, not all change is progress.Research effort needs to be invested into understanding these prospects. We need to carefully deliberate how best to reduce risks and expedite beneficial applications. We also need forums where people can constructively discuss what should be done, and a social order where responsible decisions can be implemented.Reduction of existential risks, and development of means for the preservation of life and health, the alleviation of grave suffering, and the improvement of human foresight and wisdom should be pursued as urgent priorities, and heavily funded.Policy making ought to be guided by responsible and inclusive moral vision, taking seriously both opportunities and risks, respecting autonomy and individual rights, and showing solidarity with and concern for the interests and dignity of all people around the globe. We must also consider our moral responsibilities towards generations that will exist in the future.We advocate the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise.We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to assist memory, concentration, and mental energy; life extension therapies; reproductive choice technologies; cryonics procedures; and many other possible human modification and enhancement technologies.

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  • Luke

    Also wanted to discuss the question posed about artificial intelligence vs artificial consciousness.

    In my assumption, i would define intelligence as the ability to manipulate and understand your environment. An entity can show intelligence within a program without showing consciousness. For example an agent running a simple pathfinding algorithm such as A*, demonstrates a form of intelligence based upon the environment it is set to. The algorithm runs to define the least cost path from source to destination. Going by the notion that the intelligence is defined by the environment the agent runs in, the agent is demonstrating intelligence.

    In my own words, I would define consciousness as the ability to understand and seperate yourself from the environment you operate in. The ability to say I, and understand what that means. In the above case of the A* agent, the agent operates with function and purpose but it does not identify itself as its own entity. We most likely will program it..

    November 3, 2013

    • Luke

      Want to hear other opinions, it was an interesting question.

      November 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Well, intelligence and conciousness are far from mutually exclusive. Every person has conciousness. Not nearly enough have intelligence.

      November 3, 2013

  • Luke

    Hi adam thanks for the presentation.

    In regard to the AI discussion, I wanted to ask as you mentioned about intelligence following the rules of physics; Could this be untrue? In a program, any intelligent agent would follow the rules of the program that is defined by the programmer. For example if I were to create a simulated environment with its own set of physical laws where the agent operated, and the agent were able to learn about its environment.
    It learns and gains knowledge based upon the environment it is defined in, as that is all it knows.

    So if this is the case, then could we say the intelligence of the agent is only defined by the properties of that system? Whether the program contains it's own unique set of physical laws or not.

    Although the code defined by us, is a physical process within the computer on compilation.

    So when defining Machine Intelligence, would you say it is defined within the system of the agent or within the pre compiled code that the agent ...

    November 3, 2013

    • Luke

      at this stage cannot access? Thanks again for your talk today, I was interested in the A.I discussion but seems time was short. Appreciate your thoughts.

      November 3, 2013

  • Spenser K.

    Technologies + Humanity, that has been a topic of my interest!

    October 28, 2013

    • Adam

      Good combo, technology + humanity! Looking forward to seeing you there!

      November 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part man, part machine; after a tragic accident my sense of humour was replaced with a wifi connection, and now I am only about to communicate in pop culture references and bad memes. See the future here folks!

    October 16, 2013

    • Adam

      Well, humour at 100mbs aint too bad, just make sure no one hogs your signal

      November 1, 2013

  • Tony S.

    Venue is actually the familiar Unitarian Church, 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne.

    Unfortunate double clash with and but if you can't afford the whole weekend for one or other of them, then Adam can make even such deep topics as Transhumanism accessible.

    October 15, 2013

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