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Keith West of the Charleston (South Carolina) City Paper interviewed Freeman Dyson, Neil Freer, and Hans Moravec about Transhumanism recently and these are the questions posed by him to Neil Freer and Neil’s answers as submitted. We do not have the edited article as yet and it will appear on the extended date of May 10th. The questions and answers are followed by a piece from Nick Bostrom’s (one of the founders of Transhumanism) website for your appreciation of what Transhumanism is about.

Keith West:

1) Give me a little background on yourself, and why you decided to write "Breaking the Godspell".

NEIL FREER is a researcher, writer, lecturer, philosopher, and poet living in Santa Fe, NM. Neil and his wife, Ursula, have lived in the Eldorado area since 1994. Neil holds a BA in English and did his graduate work in Philosophy and Psychology at the New School for Social Research. He has taught college courses in Philosophy and History of Religion, gives private and public seminars and lectures, and has done over one hundred fifty radio and TV interviews. Neil is the author of Breaking the Godspell, a book which explores the ramifications of the archaeological, astronomical and genetic proof for our being a genetically engineered species and presents the ramifications of this new paradigm of human nature that resolves the Creationist-Evolutionary conflict.

In his second book, God-Games: What Do You Do Forever? (The Book Tree, 1998) he explores the ways in which we will live when, individually and collectively, we attain the unassailable integrity afforded by the restoration of our true genetic history. He outlines the racial maturity of the new planetary civilization and describes the new human.

Neil’s work appears as part of the symposium, Of Heaven and Earth (Book Tree, 1996) which includes the paper he presented as invited guest speaker at the Zecharia Sitchin Day special event at the International Association For New Science conference in 1996 in Denver. An essay “In The Middle of Whose Ship Are You Standing?” is included in David Pursglove’s Zen And The Art Of Close Encounters. Neil published his first full collection of poetry, Neuroglyphs, in 1994

Neil is also a computer programmer and an instrument rated private pilot and has decided to be an immortal. Toward that end he is signed up with Alcor for cryogenic suspension in the event that he has to take a recess in the cryo tank because the biotechnologists can’t get their act together before he has to die.

He is currently working on a book, Zen in the Art of Spiritual Machine Maintenance.

Neil Freer
28 Avenida Las Nubes
Santa Fe, NM 87505-2116
email: freer1@concentric.net

Please visit Neil’s website for a more detailed overview of his work and publications at http://www.concentric.net/~freer1

I wrote Breaking The Godspell in ’87 because I realized that the thesis of the Sumerian scholar, Zecharia Sitchin, published in ’76 was correct and put the last pieces in the human puzzle. He said that the transcultural gods known to all the early civilizations were real flesh and blood aliens from the tenth planet in our solar system who had colonized Earth some 432,000 years ago, created the human species by crossing their genes with Homo Erectus to obtain a slave race to work their gold mines in Africa some 250,000 years ago. He backed it up with overwhelming archaeological, documentary and artifactual evidence. Someone needed to analyze and articulate the mind-boggling ramifications of his Nobel Prize quality work and begin rethinking the planet.

2) Why do you believe that cryonic suspension offer the best alternative Available for life extension advocates? Why would anyone want to remain in a flesh-and-blood body, which is vulnerable to aging, disease and injury?

I have chosen to be immortal. I will use whatever technology, now or in the future, which is the best at the time when it is needed and available. Certainly, I take good vitamins, eat for my blood type, and have practiced Chi Kung and Tai Chi for 30 years. But, to be precise, I believe that cryonic suspension is the best technology available right now to achieve the immortality goal, if one dies and has to take a recess, in fact the only one. It is imperfect, uncertain, but it is currently the only game in town if I were to die this week. Although I’m 70, I’d bet that cryo may not even be necessary due to rapid developments in nano and bio tech before I have to book it. I am signed up with Alcor to cover my bet just as other Alcorites like Mr. Nanotech, Eric Drexler, Ralph Merkle, and Marvin Minsky are.

One of the most ubiquitous misconceptions about the future and intention of cryonics is that you would return and begin living at the 101 years or whatever at which you died. Not a pretty picture. We, I, fully anticipate that the development of the robust level of nanotechnology needed to restore my body will also have achieved control and reversal of the aging process, the elimination of disease, the easy repair of injury and defects. I fully expect to return and remain at the age of forty six and a half, knowing what I know now, with all the experiences of my past. Maybe 45. “I say, immortality, anyone.....? Take all the time you want to answer”.

If I had to guess what the next solid technology for immortality will be, I would say, not a more distant genetic engineering of the genome, uploading, “compufusing”, any of those, but a much more proximate one: the use of monoatomics (as patented by David Hudson).

3) Do you see uploading as a future alternative for earthbound humans? Or, is this just a con, as you stated in your prior email to me, perpetrated by AI researchers and techies?

I don’t think I said, and never intended to imply that uploading is a con. We are at the clunky Buck Rogers stage of technologies for life enhancement, life expansion, life extension, and immortality and beyond. I see uploading (scanning the synaptic matrix of a human brain and simulating it on a computer), advanced chip implants, sophisticated gene-therapy, merging of human with “spiritual machine” consciousness (Kurzweil), as all potentially viable and valuable modalities. But, relatively, primitive and tentative. By the time we perfect uploading, “computers” will not even resemble Deep Blue or your laptop.

What I am strongly convinced of is that we cannot let any of these technologies just sort of evolve from current computers or in the drug company labs, or at the whim of some unknown nerdy chip company techies. The main problem of development with these physical or consciousness enhancing and advancing technologies is the relative degree of evolution of the designers and developers not the technology itself. My vision is of a generic human evolved and evolving as an integral bio-psychical entity retaining the fullness of the essence of Hir humanity, free to use bionics but not reduced to bionic; to use uploading but not reduced to uploaded; to use genetic manipulation but not reduced to a nanobot; to merge with superintelligent machines but not Borged by them. I want to have input, knowledge of the intention and direction and intelligence of those who are making those products for obvious reasons.

Anyone who can read Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines can see the mind boggling potential they present. Ray’s estimate is that the “automated agents” of 2039 will be learning and developing knowledge on their own having read all available human and machine generated literature, there is serious discussion of legal rights of computers and what constitutes “human”, etc. By 2099 uploading as we think of it now will seem as primitive and quaint as writing a Basic program to the first floppy disk drives on a Radio Shack Model One. Sex with spiritual machines, eventually, is taken for granted. But a superintelligent data bank as large as the planet does not, automatically, a self-reflexive superconsciousness make. Although it’s going to take one to know one, they will be so powerfully intelligent. I’m consciously self-evolving toward a level of superconsciousness that will enable me to be Zen master to these precocious machines.

Someone will have to teach these “machines” if only to keep them from becoming idiot savants petting us to death as a curiosity. The problem is that we have no consensual definition of a human being or what is generically human --- and we already have run out of time. I am arrogant --- and concerned ---enough to think that some of us have consciousnesses evolved and evolvable enough to not only teach these awesome entities but to act as their mentors. I am currently working on a book, Zen In The Art Of Spiritual Machine Maintenance, to do just that. I haven’t decided yet whether to bury it on the web and let them find it or to publish it to influence the designers and developers as well. I think it might better be the latter.

4) What is the future of humanity, in light of the burgeoning Transhumanist movement?

I published God Games: What Do You Do Forever? in ’98 to contribute to an answer to that question. Having broken the slave mentality godspell, the deepest dye in our cultures, the residue of the master slave relationship to the alien “gods” who invented us (Sumerian: Anunnaki; Old Testament: Anakeim / Nefilim / Elohim), we will have a unifying, consensual, generic, definition of a human being as Homo Erectus Nefilimus, arrive at a freedom and unassailable integrity, racially and individually, that will take us out of the adolescence of the race. There is a new human and a new human society on the horizon. We are rapidly evolving to habitual four dimensional perception and consciousness. As our own evolutionary artists, playing our own god games, one-on-one with the universe, whatever we can conceive we can achieve; whatever we can comprehend we can and shall transcend. My focus is primarily on describing where and what we as humans are transitioning to (a few are already there) although I am concerned with how we use highest consciousness to direct and control the transition process itself. I invite all humans to take an interest and give input not from negative future-shock but from positive concern for the children.

I admire and support Transhumanism’s concepts and goals and think the TH philosophy is pointing generally to a transition toward the right stuff. Frankly, however, I find it a bit amusing, that some TH academics have made their cornerstone the claim to the view that human nature is not a fixed, static item but can expand and evolve. Peer pressure prevents them acknowledging the far more fundamental paradigm effecting transitioning humans: the restoration of our true history, beginnings and definition by Sitchin and its detailed extension to modern times by Sir Laurence Gardner. The acknowledgement that religion is a sublimation of our ancient master-slave relationship to the Anunnaki would allow them to point out that the concept of human nature as fixed is a basic tenet of the godspell Roman Church theology (you can degenerate but you can’t evolve). They are only now beginning to excitedly dally with Darwin when the Sitchin paradigm has already corrected and subsumed both the outmoded Creationist and the Darwinian evolutionary scenarios. As a result, they are still Babel factored into discussing within the context of conflicting definitions of a human that have caused persecutions, wars, crusades, jihads and Inquisitions --- and loss of tenure. Their goal, to make TH a mainstream academic discipline, is admirable but the price will ultimately be far too high.

Superintelligence will always be subordinate to superconsciousness. Zen-like, systematic “jumping out of the system” is a hyper-conscious event, to be followed by data-intelligence filling in of details at leisure afterward. I am focused on the fullness of constantly expanding, generically human superconsciousness, incidentally using whatever enhancements truly enhance if appropriate. If the choice is between sex with a superintelligent machine entity and another human superconsciousness exquisitely tuned to dyadic transcendent tantric fusion........

A statement of what Transhumanism is all about by Nick Bostrom found at Nick Bostrom’s Site: http://www.transhumanism.com

Over the past few years, a new paradigm for thinking about humankind's future has begun to take shape among some leading computer scientists, neuroscientists, nanotechnologists and researchers at the forefront of technological development. The new paradigm rejects a crucial assumption that is implicit in both traditional futurology and practically all of today's political thinking. This is the assumption that the "human condition" is at root a constant. Present-day processes can be fine-tuned; wealth can be increased and redistributed; tools can be developed and refined; culture can change, sometimes drastically; but human nature itself is not up for grabs.

This assumption no longer holds true. Arguably it has never been true. Such innovations as speech, written language, printing, engines, modern medicine and computers have had a profound impact not just on how people live their lives, but on who and what they are. Compared to what might happen in the next few decades, these changes may have been slow and even relatively tame. But note that even a single additional innovation as important as any of the above would be enough to invalidate orthodox projections of the future of our world.

"Transhumanism" has gained currency as the name for a new way of thinking that challenges the premiss that the human condition is and will remain essentially unalterable. Clearing away that mental block allows one to see a dazzling landscape of radical possibilities, ranging from unlimited bliss to the extinction of intelligent life. Ingeneral, the future by present lights looks very weird - but perhaps very wonderful - indeed.

Some of the possibilities that you will no doubt hear discussed in the coming years are quite extreme and sound like science-fiction. Consider the following:

Superintelligent machines. Superintelligence means any form of artificial intelligence, maybe based on "self-taught" neural networks, that is capable of outclassing the best human brains in practically every discipline, including scientific creativity, practical wisdom, and social skills. Several commentators have argued that both the hardware and the software required for superintelligence might be developed in the first few decades of the next century. (See Moravec [1998] and Bostrom [1998].)

Lifelong emotional well-being through re-calibration of the pleasure-centers. Even today, mild variants of sustainable euphoria are possible for a minority of people who respond especially well to clinical mood-brighteners ("antidepressants"). Pharmaceuticals currently under development promise to give an increasing number of "normal" people the choice of drastically reducing the incidence of negative emotions in their lives. In some cases, the adverse side-effects of the new agents are negligible. Whereas street drugs typically wreak havoc on the brain's neurochemistry, producing a brief emotional "high" followed by a crash, modern clinical drugs may target with high specificity a given neurotransmitter or receptor subtype, thereby avoiding any negative effect on the subject's cognitive faculties - (s)he won't feel "drugged" - and enables a constant, indefinitely sustainable mood-elevation without being addictive. David Pearce [1997] advocates and predicts a post-Darwinian era in which all aversive experience will be replaced by gradients of pleasure beyond the bounds of normal human experience. As cleaner and safer mood-brighteners and gene-therapies become available, paradise-engineering may become a practicable possibility.

Personality pills. Drugs and gene therapy will yield far more than shallow one-dimensional pleasure. They can also modify personality. They can help overcome shyness, eliminate jealousy (Kramer [1994]), increase creativity and enhance the capacity for empathy and emotional depth. Think of all the preaching, fasting and self-discipline that people have subjected themselves to throughout the ages in attempts to ennoble their character. Shortly it may become possible to achieve the same goals much more thoroughly by swallowing a daily cocktail pill.

Space colonization. Today, space colonization is technologically feasible but prohibitively expensive. As costs decrease, it will become economically and politically possible to begin to colonize space. The thing to note is that once a single self-sustaining colony has been established, capable of sending out its own colonization probes, then an exponentially self-replicating process has been set in motion that is capable - without any further input from the planet Earth - of spreading out across the millions of stars in our galaxy and then to millions of other galaxies as well. Of course, this sequence of events will take an extremely long time on a human time-scale. But is interesting to notice how near we are to being able to initiate a chain of events that will have such momentous consequences as filling the observable universe with our descendants.

Molecular nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the hypothetical design and manufacture of machines to atomic-scale precision, including general-purpose "assemblers", devices that can position atoms individually in order to build almost any chemically permitted matter-configuration for which we can give a detailed specification - including exact copies of themselves. An existence-proof of a limited form of nanotechnology is given by biology: the cell is a molecular self-replicator that can produce a broad range of proteins. But the part of design space that is accessible to present biological organisms is restricted by their evolutionary history, and is mostly confined to non-rigid carbon structures. Eric Drexler ([1988], [1992]) was the first person to analyze in detail the physical possibility of a practically universal molecular assembler. Once such a gadget exists, it would make possible dirt-cheap (but perfectly clean) production of almost any commodity, given a design-specification and the requisite input of energy and atoms. The bootstrap problem for nanotechnology - how to build this first assembler - is very hard to solve.

Two approaches are currently pursued. One of them builds on what nature has achieved and seeks to use biochemistry to engineer new proteins that can serve as tools in further engineering efforts. The other attempts to build atomic structures from scratch, using proximal probes such as atomic-force microscopes to position atoms one-by-one on a surface. The two methods can potentially be used in conjunction. Much research is required before the physical possibility of Drexlerian nanotechnology can be turned into an actuality; it will certainly not happen in the next couple of years, but it might come about in the first few decades of the next century.

Vastly extended life spans. It may prove feasible to use radical gene-therapy and other biological methods to block normal aging processes, and to stimulate rejuvenation and repair mechanisms indefinitely. It is also possible that nothing short of nanotechnology will do the trick. Meanwhile there are unproven and in some cases expensive hormone treatments that seem to have some effect on general vitality in elderly people, although as yet nothing has been shown to be more effective at life-extension than controlled caloric restriction.

Extinction of intelligent life. The risks are as enormous as the potential benefits. In addition to dangers that are already recognized (though perhaps inadequately counteracted?), such as a major military, terrorist or accidental disaster involving nuclear, chemical, viral or bacteriological agents, the new technologies threaten dangers of a different order altogether. Nanotechnology, for example, could pose a terrible threat to our existence if obtained by some terrorist group before adequate defense systems have been developed. It is not even certain that adequate defense is possible. Perhaps in a nanotechnological world offense has a decisive intrinsic advantage over defense. Nor is it farfetched to assume that there are other risks that we haven't yet been able to imagine.

The interconnected world. Even in its present form, the Internet has an immense impact on some people's lives. And its ramifications are just beginning to unfold. This is one area where radical change is quite widely perceived, and where media discussion has been extensive.

Uploading of our consciousness into a virtual reality. If we could scan the synaptic matrix of a human brain and simulate it on a computer then it would be possible for us to migrate from our biological embodiments to a purely digital substrate (given certain philosophical assumptions about the nature of consciousness and personal identity). By making sure we always had back-up copies, we might then enjoy effectively unlimited life-spans. By directing the activation flow in the simulated neural networks, we could engineer totally new types of experience. Uploading, in this sense, would probably require mature nanotechnology. But there are less extreme ways of fusing the human mind with computers. Work is being done today on developing neuro/chip interfaces. The technology is still in its early stages; but it might one day enable us to build neuroprostheses whereby we could "plug in" to cyberspace. Even less speculative are various schemes for immersive virtual reality - for instance using head-mounted displays - that communicate with the brain via our natural sense organs.

Reanimation of cryogenically-suspended patients. Persons frozen with today's procedure can probably not be brought back to life with anything less than mature nanotechnology. Even if we could be absolutely sure that mature nanotechnology will one day be developed, there would still be no guarantee that the cryonics customer's gamble would succeed - perhaps the beings of the future won't be interested in reanimating present-day humans. Still, even a 5% or 10% chance of success could make an Alcor contract a rational option for people who can afford it and who place a great value on their continued personal existence. If reanimated, they might look forward to aeons of subjective life time under conditions of their own choosing.

These prospects might seem remote. Yet transhumanists think there is reason to believe that they might not be so far off as is commonly supposed. The Technology Postulate denotes the hypothesis that several of the items listed, or other changes that are equally profound, will become feasible within, say, seventy years (possibly much sooner). This is the antithesis of the assumption that the human condition is a constant. The Technology Postulate is often presupposed in transhumanist discussion. But it is not an article of blind faith; it's a falsifiable hypothesis that is argued for on specific scientific and technological grounds.

If we come to believe that there are good grounds for believing that Technology Postulate is true, what consequences does that have for how we perceive the world and for how we spend our time? Once we start reflecting on the matter and become aware of its ramifications, the implications are profound.

From this awareness springs the transhumanist philosophy - and "movement". For transhumanism is more than just an abstract belief that we are about to transcend our biological limitations by means of technology; it is also an attempt to re-evaluate the entire human predicament as traditionally conceived. And it is a bid to take a far-sighted and constructive approach to our new situation. A primary task is to provoke the widest possible discussion of these topics and to promote a better public understanding. The set of skills and competencies that are needed to drive the transhumanist agenda extend far beyond those of computer scientists, neuroscientists, software-designers and other high-tech gurus. Transhumanism is not just for brains accustomed to hard-core futurism. It should be a concern for our whole society.

The Foresight Institute is an excellent source of information about nanotechnology-related issues. They organize annual conferences and have built up a substantial infrastructure of expertise in nanotechnology. The Extropy Institute has organized several international conferences on general transhumanist themes, and its president Max More has done much to get extropian memes out into the mass media. (Extropianism is a distinctive type transhumanism, defined by the Extropian Principles.) In 1997, the World Transhumanist Association was founded, with the aim of turning transhumanism into a mainstream academic discipline and also to facilitate networking between different transhumanist groups and local chapters and among individual transhumanists, both academic and non-academic. The WTA publishes the electronic Journal of Transhumanism, featuring leading-edge research papers by scholars working in transhumanist-related disciplines. The WTA web pages are one good starting place to find out more about transhumanism.

It is extremely hard to anticipate the long-term consequences of our present actions. But rather than sticking our heads in the sand, transhumanists reckon we should at least try to plan for them as best we can. In doing so, it becomes necessary to confront some of the notorious "big questions", such the so-called Fermi paradox ("Why haven't we seen any signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life?"). This problem requires delving into a number of different scientific disciplines. The Fermi paradox is not only intellectually stimulating, it is also potentially practically important since it could turn out to have consequences for whether we should expect to survive and colonize the universe (Hanson [1996]).

At the present, though, it appears that the state of evolutionary biology is insufficiently advanced to allow us to draw any firm conclusions about our own future from this type of consideration. Another purported indirect source of information about our own future is the highly controversial Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument. This attempts to prove from basic principles of probability theory together with some trivial empirical assumptions that human extinction in the next century is much more likely than has previously been thought. The argument, which uses a version of the Anthropic Principle, was first conceived by astrophysicist Brandon Carter and was later developed by philosopher John Leslie [1996] and others. So far, nobody has been able to explain to general satisfaction what, if anything, is wrong with it (Bostrom [1998]).

While the wider perspective and the bigger questions are essential to transhumanism, that does not mean that transhumanists do not take an intense interest in what goes in our world today. On the contrary! Recent topical themes that have been the subject of wide and lively debate in transhumanist forums include such diverse issues as cloning; proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction; neuro/chip interfaces; psychological tools such as critical thinking skills, NLP, and memetics; processor technology and Moore's law; gender roles and sexuality; neural networks and neuromorphic engineering; life-extension techniques such as caloric restriction; PET, MRI and other brain-scanning methods; evidence(?) for life on Mars; transhumanist fiction and films; quantum cryptography and "teleportation"; the Digital Citizen; atomic force microscopy as a possible enabling technology for nanotechnology; electronic commerce... Not all participants are equally at home in all of these fields, of course, but many like the experience of taking part in a joint exploration of unfamiliar ideas, facts and standpoints.

An important transhumanist goal is to improve the functioning of human society as an epistemic community. In addition to trying to figure out what is happening, we can try to figure out ways of making ourselves better at figuring out what is happening. We can create institutions that increase the efficiency of the academic- and other knowledge-communities. More and more people are gaining access to the Internet. Programmers, software designers, IT consultants and others are involved in projects that are constantly increasing the quality and quantity of advantages of being connected. Hypertext publishing and the collaborative information filtering paradigm (Chislenko [1997]) have the potential to accelerate the propagation of valuable information and aid the demolition of what transpire to be misconceptions and crackpot claims. The people working in information technology are only the latest reinforcement to the body of educators, scientists, humanists, teachers and responsible journalists who have been striving throughout the ages to decrease ignorance and make humankind as a whole more rational.

One simple but brilliant idea, developed by Robin Hanson [1990], is that we create a market of "idea futures". Basically, this means that it would be possible to place bets on all sorts of claims about controversial scientific and technological issues. One of the many benefits of such an institution is that it would provide policy-makers and others with consensus estimates of the probabilities of uncertain hypotheses about projected future events, such as when a certain technological breakthrough will occur. It would also offer a decentralized way of providing financial incentives for people to make an effort to be right in what they think. And it could promote intellectual sincerity in that persons making strong claims would be encouraged to put their money where their mouth is. At present, the idea is embodied in an experimental set-up, the Foresight Exchange, where people can stake "credibility points" on a variety of claims. But for its potential advantages to materialize, a market has to be created that deals in real money and is as integrated in the established economic structure as are current stock exchanges. (Present anti-gambling regulations are one impediment to this; in many countries betting on anything other than sport and horses is prohibited.)

The transhumanist outlook can appear cold and alien at first. Many people are frightened by the rapid changes they are witnessing and respond with denial or by calling for bans on new technologies. It's worth recalling how pain relief at childbirth through the use of anesthetics was once deplored as unnatural. More recently, the idea of "test-tube babies" has been viewed with abhorrence. Genetic engineering is widely seen as interfering with God's designs. Right now, the biggest moral panic is cloning. We have today a whole breed of well-meaning biofundamentalists, religious leaders and so-called ethical experts who see it as their duty to protect us from whatever "unnatural" possibilities that don't fit into their preconceived world-view. The transhumanist philosophy is a positive alternative to this ban-the-new approach to coping with a changing world. Instead of rejecting the unprecedented opportunities on offer, it invites us to embrace them as vigorously as we can. Transhumanists view technological progress as a joint human effort to invent new tools that we can use to reshape the human condition and overcome our biological limitations, making it possible for those who so want to become "post-humans". Whether the tools are "natural" or "unnatural" is entirely irrelevant.

Transhumanism is not a philosophy with a fixed set of dogmas. What distinguishes transhumanists, in addition to their broadly technophiliac values, is the sort of problems they explore. These include subject matter as far-reaching as the future of intelligent life, as well as much more narrow questions about present-day scientific, technological or social developments. In addressing these problems, transhumanists aim to take a fact-driven, scientific, problem-solving approach. They also make a point of challenging holy cows and questioning purported impossibilities. No principle is beyond doubt, not the necessity of death, not our confinement to the finite resources of planet Earth, not even transhumanism itself is held to be too good for constant critical reassessment. The ideology is meant to evolve and be reshaped as we move along, in response to new experiences and new challenges. Transhumanists are prepared to be shown wrong and to learn from their mistakes.

Transhumanism can also be very practical and down-to-earth. Many transhumanists find ways of applying their philosophy to their own lives, ranging from the use of diet and exercise to improve health and life-expectancy; to signing up for cryonic suspension; making money from investing in technology stocks; creating transhumanist art; using clinical drugs to adjust parameters of mood and personality; applying various psychological self-improvement techniques; and in general taking steps to live richer and more responsible lives. An empowering mind-set that is common among transhumanists is dynamic optimism: the attitude that desirable results can in general be accomplished, but only through hard effort and smart choices (More [1997]).

Are you a transhumanist? If so, then you can look forward to increasingly seeing your own views reflected in the media and in society. For it is clear that transhumanism is an idea whose time has come.


I am grateful to David Pearce and Anders Sandberg for comments on earlier versions of this text.


Bostrom, N. 1998. "How long before superintelligence?" International Journal of Futures Studies, 2. (Also available at http://www.hedweb.com/nickb/superintelligence.htm)

Bostrom, N. 1998. "Investigations into the Doomsday Argument". http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints/inv/investigations.html

Bostrom, N. 1997. "The Fermi Paradox". http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~transhumanism/Fermi.htm

Chislenko, A. 1997. "Collaborative Information Filtering". http://www.lucifer.com/~sasha/articles/ACF.html

Drexler, E. 1992. Nanosystems. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Drexler, E. 1988. Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology. Fourth Estate. London. http://www.foresight.org/EOC/index.html

Hanson, R. 1996. "The Great Filter: Are we almost past it?". http://hanson.berkeley.edu/

Kramer, P. 1994. Listning to Prozac. Penguin. U.S.A.

Leslie, J. 1996. The End of the World: The Ethics and Science of Human Extinction. Routledge, New York.

More, M. 1997. "The Extropian Principles". http://www.extropy.com/~exi/extprn26.htm

More, M. 1995. "Dynamic optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians". http://www.primenet.com/~maxmore/optimism.htm

Moravec, H. 1998. Robot, Being: mere machine to transcendent mind. Oxford Univ. Press.

Pearce, D. 1997. "The Hedonistic Imperative". http://www.hedweb.com/hedab.htm


Extropy Institute http://www.extropy.org/

Foresight Exchange http://www.ideosphere.com/fx/main.html

Foresight Institute http://www.foresight.org/

World Transhumanist Association http://www.transhumanism.com/

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