2010.09.15 07:00 - Transhumanism

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Bleu Oleander. The comments are by Bleu Oleander.


    Bleu Oleander: hi Bruce
    Bruce Mowbray: Hello, Bleu.
    Bleu Oleander: hi Bruce .... how are you?
    Bruce Mowbray: I'm a bit slow this morning --
    Bleu Oleander: beautiful day in sl
    Bruce Mowbray: otherwise fine -- working on my second cup of coffee.
    Bruce Mowbray: and you?
    Bleu Oleander: just making my first cup
    Bruce Mowbray: none
    Bleu Oleander: hi Arch
    Bruce Mowbray: Hood morning, Arch.
    Bruce Mowbray: Good.... morning,(sorry).
    Bruce Mowbray: fingers not yet awake.
    Bleu Oleander: :)
    Archmage Atlantis: Hi, Bleu
    Archmage Atlantis: Hi, Bruce
    Bleu Oleander: how are you Arch?
    Archmage Atlantis: Hi, BBlub
    Bruce Mowbray: Blub emits a welcoming bubble to Arch.
    Archmage Atlantis: :))
    Bruce Mowbray: ... and another bubble to Koya.
    Archmage Atlantis: :)
    Archmage Atlantis: Has a topic come up yet?
    Bruce Mowbray: Nope -- I arrived just before you did, Arch.
    Archmage Atlantis: Ok
    Bleu Oleander: what topic would you like?
    Bleu Oleander: has your 9 sec practice evolved since your time at PaB?
    Archmage Atlantis: I've been reading a lot on transhumanism on the various web sites and in the group on SL
    Bleu Oleander: what do you think about that Arch?
    Archmage Atlantis: No, Bleu, but that's a good reminder to do that as I read. Ty Bleu.
    Bruce Mowbray is fascinated by the term "transhumanism". . . but does not have a working meaning for that word.
    Archmage Atlantis: Well, the idea is realated to what brought me back to SL in the first place last year.
    Archmage Atlantis: I was thinking, now I am disabled, and can't get out much.......what can I do that would have meaning
    Bleu Oleander: Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.
    Bleu Oleander: from wikipedia
    Archmage Atlantis: An, not having kids, I thought, what could I do to contribute to the future
    Bruce Mowbray: Thanks, Bleu. [continues to listen intently to Arch.]
    Archmage Atlantis: My earlier readings were on evolutionary psychology
    Bleu Oleander: good book: Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau
    Archmage Atlantis: Transhumanism seemed the closest to what I might do
    Bleu Oleander: we had him speak with our group recently
    Archmage Atlantis: Which group Bleu?
    Bleu Oleander: on what it means to be human
    Bleu Oleander: my local salon group in rl
    Bleu Oleander: should try to get him in sl

    Archmage Atlantis: Yes , that was not part of my career, but it has always been a subject of personal study, what it means to be human.....read lots of books on religion, philosophy, psychology, self-help, scientific findings about how the mind functions
    Archmage Atlantis: I will note that on my reading list, ty
    Bleu Oleander: :)
    Archmage Atlantis: Bleu, how would you personally summarize what he had to say?
    Bruce Mowbray: http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Evolut...4560174&sr=8-1
    Bleu Oleander: he talks about transhumanism issues
    Bleu Oleander: and how far we should go
    Bleu Oleander: he thinks these enhancements will become part of our lives
    Bleu Oleander: the ethics issues
    Bleu Oleander: will the unrestrained technology bring us to the ultimate destruction?
    Archmage Atlantis: ty for the link, Bruce......yes, the ethics issues are of special interest to me
    Archmage Atlantis: Pls continue, Bleu
    Bleu Oleander: another very good book: Long for this world by Jonathan Weiner
    Bleu Oleander: issues of extending life
    Bleu Oleander: and living much longer
    Bleu Oleander: good ethics discussion
    Archmage Atlantis: Yes, that is another important issue
    Bleu Oleander: he writes his book around the life of Aubrey de Grey
    Archmage Atlantis: Another book for my list :)) - TY
    Bleu Oleander: who also spoke with our group
    Bleu Oleander: fascinating story
    Archmage Atlantis: That's some powerful salon group *g*
    Bleu Oleander: yes, we have a good time
    Archmage Atlantis: I wish there were something on SL similar......there is sort of, but not exactly
    Bleu Oleander: we try to get people to speak in sl .... hard to do, but we've had some good salons
    Archmage Atlantis: Might I ask what general area, geographically, your group is in, Bleu?
    Bleu Oleander: Phoenix
    Bleu Oleander: where are you Arch?
    Archmage Atlantis: Nice, I've been to Phoenix.....my ex was from there
    Archmage Atlantis: In SW FL, the Fort Myers area
    Bleu Oleander: ah also a nice area I hear
    Archmage Atlantis: It is
    Bleu Oleander: where are you Bruce?
    Bruce Mowbray: [turning green with envy....] Alaso, very rural southern Ohio. No salons here.
    Bruce Mowbray: Alas.
    Bruce Mowbray: just cornfields.
    Bruce Mowbray: Arch, if it's not too personal, can you describe how your studies of transhumanism are impacting you?
    Archmage Atlantis: Been there also, and you're right about that.....not near Cinncinnati then
    Bruce Mowbray: 75 miles northeast of Cincy.

    Bruce Mowbray: 50 south of COlumbus.
    Archmage Atlantis: Sure, Bleu....I'll have to give it a moment to think about
    Archmage Atlantis: The most significant impact, I think, is how it has broadened my knowledge, and understanding, of the range of possibilites....and of what it means to us as species.
    Bleu Oleander: we are in many ways controlling our own evolution
    Archmage Atlantis: Ah, the lawnmower service is here :)
    Archmage Atlantis: Yes, I agree
    Archmage Atlantis: The power to manipulate our own DNA is a major change.
    Archmage Atlantis: We have just begun, and the Pandora's box is now open and can't be shut.
    Bleu Oleander: :)
    Bruce Mowbray: Do you feel, both of you, that DNA engineering is more powerful an influence on evolution, say, than genocide. . . war. . . natural disasters (like tsunamis, etc.)?
    Archmage Atlantis: That is happening in conjunction with the rapid development of tech
    Bruce Mowbray: I mean,..... DNA engineering affects one organism. . .
    Archmage Atlantis: and the possible AI that may result
    Bruce Mowbray: Or perhaps many -- if it's the DNS of disease germs. . . (Obviously, I am not at all informed on this topic.)
    Bleu Oleander: hard to know where it will take us
    Bruce Mowbray: DNA. How does that become spread throughout the population -- and therefore become a changer of evolution?
    Archmage Atlantis: In the past, genocide, war, natural disasters were the major influence
    Archmage Atlantis: Now we are being given a chance to choose for ourselves
    Archmage Atlantis: Tho those things will not go away
    Archmage Atlantis: as major influences
    Bleu Oleander: hi Aph
    Bruce Mowbray: Good morning, Aph. OK -- but isn't that an individual choice. . . ? I'm still not seeing its impact on evolution (except for changing individuals).
    Archmage Atlantis: Hi, Aph
    Aphrodite Macbain: Hi
    Bruce Mowbray: We're discussing "transhumanism" and its possible effects on evolution of our species and some of the ethical implications of that, Aph.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Big subject for morning
    Bleu Oleander: using DNA testing to design
    Archmage Atlantis: Good summary Bruce
    Bleu Oleander: we already do that
    Bruce Mowbray: a working definition: Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.
    Aphrodite Macbain: sounds a little scary
    Bruce Mowbray: Good day, Lawrence.
    Archmage Atlantis: It is scary at first
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Hi
    Archmage Atlantis: Hi Lawrence
    Aphrodite Macbain: the idea of people designing the human race
    Bleu Oleander: hi Lawrence
    Aphrodite Macbain: according to their ideas about what would be ideal
    Aphrodite Macbain: I probably haven't fully understood
    Archmage Atlantis: Yes, at first it sounds like the Nazi plan for a master race
    Aphrodite Macbain: well-yes. I didn't want to say so
    Bleu Oleander: initially I think it will help control for diseases
    Aphrodite Macbain: It must be more than that right?
    Archmage Atlantis: But it is happening anyway.....so talking about it is important
    Bleu Oleander: but will be used in other ways also
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes. How is it happening-genetic engineering?
    Bleu Oleander: talking about it is very important
    Bruce Mowbray: agrees - about keeping the dialogue open and rigorous.
    Bleu Oleander: ethics issues need to be discussed
    Aphrodite Macbain: using certain value systems
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Well, I, for one, am anxious to have that brain chip that will allow us to calculate at incredible speed!

    Bleu Oleander: people should become aware
    Aphrodite Macbain: I don't want to be manipulated by a couple of men with a point of view
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Peoploe should become aware of everything! The brain chip should also be the internet!
    Aphrodite Macbain: sorry- my feminism is leeking out
    Aphrodite Macbain: who should be making the decisons about what changes are made?
    Bleu Oleander: not just men Aph
    Bleu Oleander: everyone as a culture
    Archmage Atlantis: I would restate that important observation as "those who are already developing an awareness would serve best by engaging all who are willing in the dialogue"
    Aphrodite Macbain: I know. /me realizes she needs alot more coffee before she speaks
    Bleu Oleander: ha!
    Bleu Oleander: relates to that!
    Archmage Atlantis: On my 3rd cup *g*
    Aphrodite Macbain: what about those who dond' agree? Do they get a voice?
    Aphrodite Macbain: don't
    Archmage Atlantis: Yes......imo.......they should have a voice
    Bleu Oleander: should get into the conversation Aph
    Lawrence Vyceratops: In the future, I'm optimistic that everyone has a voice. Unless we are all blown into oblivion by our most wonderful and cherished nucluear bombs.
    Bleu Oleander: lots of ways to be heard
    Aphrodite Macbain: I am concerned that history will repeat itself and the "master race" will again dominate. Neitzche would love this
    Bleu Oleander: hi Ed
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Hi, Ed.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Hello
    Bleu Oleander: Welcome to Play as Being :) have you been here before?

    I continued in IM conversation with "Ed" who said he wished to NOT be included in the log and that he wanted to just sit and listen.

    Bruce Mowbray: Would you consider innoculations of children entering school (age 5 - for common diseases - and required for all) to be an example of transhumanism? -- albeit a very primitive and early example?
    Archmage Atlantis: If we are, Lawrence, then I feel we ought to leave a record for those who survive or follow of what happened and how it got to there.

    Lawrence Vyceratops: As long as our technology advances, I believe it will be more difficult to manipulate the masses. We are beome more informed and it's very hard to manipulate the informed.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I think either we will become more powerful as a people or become destryoed by bombs.
    Archmage Atlantis: BTW, Aph, transhumanism is a rather fluid concept at the moment
    Lawrence Vyceratops: It will be too difficult for fascist rule as our society become more and more informed.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Blub looks like a helicopter in the sky from my position
    Archmage Atlantis: And beginning to become more diverse
    Bruce Mowbray: Earlier, I asked Arch if he had personal experience with transhumanism - that he'd be willing to share with us (describe for us) here.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I want a robot arm.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Just kidding. My arm is fine. ;)
    Bruce Mowbray: OK. But, does anyone have actual RL experience with it?
    Bruce Mowbray: more than required immunizations, etc.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: No, but I still want that brain chip!
    Lawrence Vyceratops: with internet access!
    Aphrodite Macbain: What if someone gave you the wrong brain chip
    Bruce Mowbray: Need help with workink definition ---
    Archmage Atlantis: Only in geneology.....I had my DNA analyzed to trace back where my ancestors came from
    Aphrodite Macbain: oh?
    Bruce Mowbray: Would a prosthetic device be considered transhumanism?
    Bleu Oleander: in a sense yes Bruce
    Aphrodite Macbain: it's not human - tho it has ben made by humans
    Bruce Mowbray: ok, thanks.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I wear glasses.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Not good enough
    Lawrence Vyceratops: That counts, right?
    Aphrodite Macbain: You need to get new eyes
    Bleu Oleander: sure in a sense also Lawrence
    Bleu Oleander: all enhancements
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Phooey.
    Bruce Mowbray: but it seems to me that TH is implying much more than our simple tools to see and hear better. . .
    Archmage Atlantis: One of the characteristics of humanity in general is that we manipulate things to our own ends
    Bleu Oleander: yes Bruce but all a matter of degree
    Archmage Atlantis: So, glasses count
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes..each of us. And there is no one idea of perfect
    Lawrence Vyceratops: agree, Bleu
    Bruce Mowbray: ok.... How about if you want to erase the collective memory of an event. . . for an entire society....?
    Aphrodite Macbain: who decides?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: What?
    Bruce Mowbray: supposeyou could implant a chip that would eliminate all memories of such an event...
    Archmage Atlantis: That is why the ethics is of particular interest to me, Aph
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Erase the collective memory?
    Aphrodite Macbain: that would be very frightening.-and it has been done
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, those are the ethical issues I'm intending to raise....
    Aphrodite Macbain: removing records, images,
    Lawrence Vyceratops: We would have to study memory more. I don't think we fully grasp it yet.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: There doesn't seem to be a specific location that a memory resides in the brain.
    Bleu Oleander: I think we are already affecting collective memory with history text books
    Aphrodite Macbain: it's amazing how people forget. Perhaps that's why oral history is more reliable
    Bruce Mowbray thinks of the movie "Ethernal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in which that technology was employed.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes. Time is the best memory eraser.
    Bruce Mowbray: for two individuals who wished to forget about their relationship.
    Archmage Atlantis: Agree, Lawrence, but there is a lot of good science being done on just that, and on how the brain/body function
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But, in the end, they remembered. ;)
    Archmage Atlantis: Or relearned
    Aphrodite Macbain: layers upon layers. But as I age I start to remember more of the past, although it becomes skewed
    Bruce Mowbray: ;-) --- Yes, sort of -- at least they were able to begin their relationship a-new.

    Lawrence Vyceratops: I'm sure we could do that without zapping our neurotransmitters haha
    Aphrodite Macbain: Must go. Bye all
    Bleu Oleander: bye Aph
    Archmage Atlantis: Bye Aph
    Bleu Oleander: need to go also .... bye all .... have a great day :)
    Bruce Mowbray: My point about mass immunizations was -- if we can do that (for everyone - and have been requiring it for decades), then is that not a fore-runner for something else that could be required of all beginners in school (like a particular brain chip that would have them already know words, math functions, spellings, etc.)?
    Bruce Mowbray: Bye Aph.
    Bleu Oleander: bye for now :)
    Bruce Mowbray: Bye, Bleu -- have a fine day!

    Archmage Atlantis: George Orwell would probably agree with that statement Bruce
    Archmage Atlantis: Bye (late) Bleu
    Archmage Atlantis: :)
    Bruce Mowbray: But, of course, that chip would be implanted in the little buggers' brains with only the best intentions for their welfare.
    Bruce Mowbray: and educational advance.
    Bruce Mowbray: Near where I live, there are thousands of folks who have opted out of modern society. the Amish and the Mennonites.
    Archmage Atlantis: Of course, Bruce, as aborigine children were taken from their families to learn civilized ways in Australia.....overlapping concepts
    Bruce Mowbray: The have no TV's, no tractors, no computers....
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, Arch ---- Australia's Outback is an excellent example.
    Archmage Atlantis: Yes, I lived in a Mennoniite town near Philly, and saw the Amish nearby
    Bruce Mowbray: Perhaps TH would necessitate at least two social classes -- those who went along with the tchnological "improvements" of what being human means, and those who stayed with the "old ways of being human."
    Bruce Mowbray listens to Arch.
    Archmage Atlantis: The thing I like about the Amish is they allow their nearly grown children a chance to experience the world outside themselves, and then make their own decision whether to stay in the Amish community
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Just the boys, though. right? dont they try to keep the girls? Or am I thinking of a different group of people?
    Archmage Atlantis: Both boys and girls, Lawrence
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, I understand that in principle. . .
    Bruce Mowbray: but recently I talked with a 19-year-old Mennonite chap -- and was almost stunned by the "concreteness" of his language....
    Archmage Atlantis: I need to go, ty you all for the discussion and the intelligent company :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: No, I believe I'm correct. I thnk they encourage the boys to leave and the girls to stay.
    Bruce Mowbray: By, Arch..
    Bruce Mowbray: Have a fine day.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Or maybe it's the Mormons....
    Bruce Mowbray: The young man ---- sorry RL phone call....
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I think it's the Mormons... who knows?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Wait! I'm on the Internet!
    Bruce Mowbray is back.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: It's the Mormons.
    Bruce Mowbray: anyway -- my point was that the kid was ALREADY so conditioned by language that it would be extremely difficult for him to make an informed and neiytral chice at that age.
    Bruce Mowbray: neutral.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh, it is difficult for anyone to make a neurtral choice. haha
    Bruce Mowbray: He asked me -- in all seriousness -- whether Heaven was between the Earth and the moon, or whether Heaven was beyond the moon.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Haha religion....
    Bruce Mowbray: That's just an example of how concrete his thinking is.... and I do believe that is representative.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Absolutely.
    Bruce Mowbray: so -- my point is, could persons raised that way really have a fair chance of making a choice about whether to enter modern society?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: They require education
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I don't think it's fair at all.

    Lawrence Vyceratops: Their community has stunted their thinking.
    Bruce Mowbray: ---- especially difficult if all the other kids in the society are receiving brain implant chips upon entering school at the age of 5
    Bruce Mowbray: @ Lawrence -- So, in order to keep the society's children "un-stunted" - it might be necessary to require all of the kids to have the brain implants. . .
    Bruce Mowbray: just to keep things fair and "equal" (like putting floride in drinking water, or requiring certain achievement scores for graduation).
    Lawrence Vyceratops: That sounds like authoritarian rule. I don't like that.
    Bruce Mowbray: I agree. But we already have it (No Child Left Behind, etc, etc, etc....)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: In the future, I think it will be difficult for humanity to survive under authoritarian rule.
    Bruce Mowbray: wb, Arch.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: yes, but all that is beginning to break down. how much longer will it last?
    Archmage Atlantis: Had to pop back and give these 2 references on the Amish
    Archmage Atlantis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa
    Lawrence Vyceratops: We will have to destroy the internet in order to maintain this system.
    Archmage Atlantis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa http://books.google.com/books?id=YMO...page&q&f=false
    Bruce Mowbray: Thanks, Arch.
    Archmage Atlantis: TY
    Lawrence Vyceratops: religious people....
    Bruce Mowbray: mmmm..... but the Internet offers alternatives to mass education. . . (like home schooling).
    Bruce Mowbray: It also offers alternatives to religious indoctrination.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes, so if the internet continues to connect people, it will be more and more difficult for there to be fascist rule. Which is why politicians are trying to control it now. I don['t think they'll succeed.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But if they do, it will be a dark day for humanity.
    Bruce Mowbray: agrees completely.
    Bruce Mowbray: Well, folks, this is a very BRIGHT day for my little corner of humanity -- and it's time for me to get out for ahike with my dog.
    Bruce Mowbray: May you both have a great day -- and I look forward to seeing you later.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I am hoping that explosion of technology and information will be too much too fast for them to get their grubby hands around it.
    Bruce Mowbray: I hope so too, Lawrence...
    Lawrence Vyceratops: See ya, Bruce.
    Bruce Mowbray: Bye for now.

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