What Does It Mean To Be Transhuman?

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   Michael Blade, Copyright  All Rights Reserved, January 2013

I will start by trying to define my understanding of what it means to be transhuman. This may not be your understanding or even the general understanding, but so be it. I will not enter into the debate on whether we should even attempt to be transhuman or what would be the negative consequences of such an undertaking. I leave that to other discussions, which believe me I have had many.

To be transhuman implies that you are also human, or once were human or derived from human genetic stock (DNA), basically having a human ancestor, maybe AI of a scan human derived variety (born or unborn), possibly AGI integrated. It implies you are more than human, transitioning, on the way to becoming posthuman, human plus, H+, a new species entirely, etc. Hopefully not H-.

In my opinion transhuman is a form of self directed evolution through technology and shaped by societal forces, this is assuming that an individual has the free choice. Growing out of this kind of thinking comes a multitude of branches for alteration-augmentation; possibilities in the base human from very minor to very extreme.

Listed here in no particular order and very possibly incomplete are:

  • Cyborgs, robotic, all manner of electronic augmentation, new senses, AR

  • Transpecies DNA alteration/insertion, Synthetic DNA alteration/insertion

  • Incorporation of symbiotic organisms, altered-designed new function organs giving new capabilities

  • Neural augmentation, cognitive extension into cyberspace/internet/cloud

  • Complete life-logging all senses, thoughts, experiences, complete digital uploading, substrate independence, integration with Artificial Intelligence, genome-connectome-envirome packaging

  • Robotic telepresence from simulated being, android (meaning synthetic artificial body, appearing human), meat cloned body linked to upload, telepresence into organic being (like “Avatar” the movie), rented bodies

  • A group mind social integration, global brain, hive mind, multiple consciousness functioning as one entity, omni-conscious being/experience possible human-machine-system-super-organism

  • Digital Avatar with AI augmentation and augmented reality/virtual reality, cellular network telepathy-sensory-memory-communication and backup storage

 

Having taken a good general high-level attempt at defining some of the possibilities, it becomes obvious that the permutations are really very large and diverse and it is impossible to predict at any granular level what a transhuman can actually be or become. That said, I will try to illustrate one extreme possibility with my limited understanding of the technologies involved, many which do not exist yet, others which are rapidly progressing or formulating.

My very extreme transhuman will have no categorical name (just yet), but will have certain qualities. Any sexual identity will be possible, he, she, it, we, other, multi, none; completely selectable.  He will be substrate independent, having a connectome which is uploaded and simulant (siman: simulated human). He will have physical presence in a real clone grown body with a cyborg- transpecies-synthetic genome. He will have access to a tool set and catalog for self-modification, tweaking.

He can exist as multiple telepresent android-robots in space colony situations. His “digital packaging” allows him to be simulated in multiple complete virtual or augmented reality situations. He can be telepathically linked to other minds through the cellar network, or like wireless neurally integration infrastructure, with define exchange protocols for sensory, memory, communication and storage both in the virtual simulation and remote entity.

Able to spawn thousands of copies of himself, complete separate tasks and reintegrate the multitude of experiences. Eventually he could become a swarm of nanomachines or integrate with AI's in a group planetary mind.

Traveling at the speed of light his digital package would be transmittable to the stars, instantiate at receiver stations in the local systems, visit and study planets as localized alien entities. Eventually he would become part alien as well (when we encounter other intelligent life or create it), experiencing new emotions, living for hundreds of thousands of years, millions, jumping from star system to star system and becoming a galactic human-machine lifeform, a true posthuman entity.

Eventually he may create a bubble universe or universe simulation. Existing in clouds of nanoparticles or even dark matter as an energy-super-computer-organism. This could also explain some of the fermi paradox.  Does becoming transhuman therefore imply a singularity?  No one can really know the answer.   It may be a tipping point for humanity or the greatest explosion of diversity in the human technological species we will ever know.

 

See also:

Package for the Stars