THE CASE FOR TRANSHUMANISM
Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an intellectual movement, operating at an international level, that aims to transform the human condition by both developing, and making widely available, technologies whose aim is to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and cognitive capabilities.
April's guest speaker is David Wood who is the chair of the British Transhumanist Party and a leading figure in the International Transhumanist Movement. David will give a presentation in which he will make the case for Transhumanism. That is, why it is something we should not be incredulous about or afraid of, and indeed should welcome.
David will speak to us about the following:
• What exactly Transhumanism is;
• How the Transhumanist Movement came into being;
• What the specific controversies surrounding Transhumanism are;
• What activities and research the British Transhumanist Party is involved with.
As usual, there will be a Q n A session afterwards.
Transhumanists devote their attention and research to the potential benefits of emerging technologies that they believe could enable us overcome fundamental human limitations. The most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings (thereby affecting their own evolution) with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of post-human beings. Whilst many technologists seek to apply science and technology for the purposes of reducing poverty, disease, disability and malnutrition around the globe, transhumanism is distinctive in that its focus is on the applications of technologies to the improvement of human bodies at the individual level.
Transhumanists argue that there not only exists an ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition, but that it is both possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence in which humans enhance themselves beyond what is "naturally" human.
The very notion of human enhancement and related issues arouses controversy. Criticisms of it and its proposals take two main forms: those objecting to the likelihood of transhumanist goals ever being achieved (practical criticisms) and those objecting to the moral principles or worldview sustaining transhumanist proposals or underlying transhumanism itself (ethical criticisms). Critics and opponents often see transhumanists' goals as posing threats to human values.
Some theorists think that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating to such an extent that the next 50 years may yield not only radical technological advances, but possibly a technological singularity, which may fundamentally change the nature of human beings.
ABOUT THE BRITISH TRANSHUMANIST PARTY:
The Transhumanist Party is still a very new movement. It has however distilled its philosophy into a set of basic principles:
David spent 25 years in the mobile computing and smartphone industries, envisioning, designing, and implementing devices and services for a better human future.
As one of the pioneers of the smartphone industry, he co-founded Symbian, the creator of the world’s first successful smartphone operating system, and served on the leadership teams of Psion Software and Symbian from[masked]. At different times, his executive responsibilities included software development, technical consulting, developer evangelism, partnering and ecosystem management, and research and innovation. Software written by his teams was included in half a billion smartphones over the following years, from companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Fujitsu, and Panasonic.
David also spent three years as CTO of Accenture Mobility. Whilst at Accenture, David co-led the company’s Mobility Health business initiative.
From 2010 to 2013, David was Technology Planning Lead (CTO) of Accenture Mobility. He also co-led Accenture’s “Mobility Health” business initiative.
Since 2008, he has been the Chair of London Futurists (http://www.meetup.com/London-Futurists/), a collective of inventors, futurists, and transhumanists who regularly gather together in order to discuss their ideas and demonstrate the findings of their research. He is also the Executive Director of the political think-tank Transpolitica (http://transpolitica.org/partners/consultants/), the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Humanity+ (http://humanityplus.org/about/board/), and the Principal of futurist consultancy Delta Wisdom (http://deltawisdom.com/). He is the author and editor of five books (http://deltawisdom.com/books/). His declared vision (http://dw2blog.com/2015/03/11/my-vision-for-humanity-2015-2017/), for the next three years, is to dramatically raise the calibre of public discussion about transhumanism and radical futurism."