Accelerating Future Transhumanism, AI, nanotech, the Singularity, and extinction risk.


Top 10 Transhumanist Technologies

Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Not just technology as in gadgets you get from Best Buy, but technology in the grander sense of strategies for eliminating disease, providing cheap but high-quality products to the world's poorest, improving quality of life and social interconnectedness, and so on. Technology we don't notice because it's blended in with the fabric of the world, but would immediately take note of its absence if it became unavailable. (Ever tried to travel to another country on foot?) Technology needn't be expensive - indeed, if a technology is truly effective it will pay for itself many times over.

Transhumanists tend to take a longer-than-average view of technological progress, looking not just five or ten years into the future but twenty years, thirty years, and beyond. We realize that the longer you look forward, the more uncertain the predictions get, but one thing is quite certain: if a technology is physically possible and obviously useful, human (or transhuman!) ingenuity will see to it that it gets built eventually. As we gain ever greater control over the atomic structure of matter, our technological goals become increasingly ambitious, and their payoffs more and more generous. Sometimes new technologies even make us happier in a long-lasting way: the Internet would be a prime example. In the following list I take a look at what I consider the top ten transhumanist technologies.

10. Cryonics. (Not cryogenics, that's something else.)

Cryonics is the high-fidelity preservation of the human body, and particularly the brain, after what we would call death, in anticipation of possible future revival. Cryonics is an important transhumanist technology not only because it is already available today, but because the technology is relatively mature - we can reliably stop cells from decaying. In vitrification, the brain is not frozen in the conventional manner but with a cryoprotectant (antifreeze) mixture, which effectively prevents the formation of crystals, causing the water to freeze smoothly, like glass. Maintenance of a cryo-patient is not difficult - it requires no electricity, but merely the replenishment of liquid nitrogen about every three weeks. As cryonics becomes more popular, this process could become automated and extremely reliable. Further improvements in dewar technology will continue to increase safety and reduce costs. The Cryonics Institute in Michigan, for example, has operated since 1976 without a single mishap.

Financed by the interest of the payout of a life insurance policy (which for people under 40 may cost as little as $100 a year to own), patients can be securely cryopreserved for as long as the cryonics company stays afloat and the dewar stays in one piece. Eventual revival does not require the technology to become available tomorrow, or next year... as long as the liquid nitrogen keeps replenished, you can stay on ice for as long as it takes. For an existence proof of cryonic revival, there are frogs that can freeze solid and revive later, though reviving a human from freezing would likely require molecular nanotechnology (MNT). When we will be able to revive a cryo-patient will be strongly related to when we develop sophisticated MNT. Once we do develop MNT, the prospect of successful revival is extremely likely - it would involve slowly melting the ice and rebooting the metabolism by kickstarting the appropriate chemical reactions within cells.

9. Virtual reality.

The above image may look like a photo, but it's actually a screenshot from the game Crysis, a first-person shooter which will be released later this year. Look at screenshots from the game and you'll see that computer graphics are already beginning to approach photorealism. Sometime in the 2050s, reality simulations will become so high-resolution and immersive that they'll start to get indistinguishable from the real thing. Simulations will become the preferred environments for work and play. Pretty soon the main obstacle to truly immersive VR will not be the visuals but the haptics - our sense of touch. To fool our senses into believing haptic technologies are conveying the real thing, the "frame rate" needs to be significantly higher than for visual technologies, a few hundred updates per second rather than a few dozen - which is why development could take another decade or two. But many millions of dollars are currently going into efforts to develop advanced VR.

Clearly, World of Warcraft's eight million subscribers and SecondLife's five million subscribers are onto something. At least 1% of all broadband Internet users play in virtual worlds, and this number is increasing rapidly. These worlds typically outclass the real world in terms of customizability, but still have yet to catch up in terms of sensory richness or social fulfillment. But it's only a matter of time. In the mid-to-late 2020s, I expect full-body, high quality haptic VR suits to be affordable to the average person in developed countries, obtained either from your local WalMart or perhaps printed right out of a desktop nanofactory after payment of a fee. For more on this, here is one scientific paper, "Towards full-body haptic feedback".

8. Gene therapy/RNA interference.

Gene therapy replaces bad genes with good genes, and RNA interference can selectively knock out gene expression. Together, they give us an unprecedented ability to manipulate our own genetic code. By knocking out genes that code for certain metabolic proteins, scientists have been able to make mice that stay slim no matter how much junk food they eat. Lou Gehrig's disease has been cured in mice, and it could only be a few years before we develop a therapy that can cure it for humans too. Aubrey de Grey's SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) research program contains various prescriptions for the use of gene therapy. Within a couple decades or so, progress in anti-aging therapies will improve to the point where we are gaining more than an extra year of lifespan per year, reaching so-called "longevity escape velocity" eventually culminating in indefinite lifespans.

Like many transhumanist technologies, gene therapy is really exciting because it's just beginning. No scientist has yet performed gene therapy on germline cells (sexual cells in the gonads) due to the ethical controversy of producing genetic changes which are heritable, but, as with many of these things, it's only a matter of time. Regulations in any given country will only be capable of slowing the overall progress of the field by a few years at most. The money will go where the research is permitted. In its mature form, gene therapy and genetic engineering will become extremely cheap and powerful, letting humans live comfortably in a wider range of environments and gain immunity to most, if not all diseases. Supercomputers of the future, with thousands or millions of times the crunch power of today's best, will let us simulate the changes in extreme detail before we attempt them with actual human beings. This will make ill side effects quite unlikely for the typical case, much to the dismay of the authors of "genetic engineering turned daddy into a bloodthirsty zombie!" trash novels and films.

7. Space colonization.

Space colonies will become necessary to house the many billions of individuals that will be born in the future as our population continues to expand at a lazy exponential. In his book, The Millennial Project, Marshall T. Savage estimates that the Asteroid Belt could hold 7,500 trillion people, if thoroughly reshaped into O'Neill colonies. At a typical population growth rate for developed countries at 1% per annum (doubling every 72 years), it would take us 1,440 years to fill that space. Siphoning light gases off Jupiter and Saturn and fusing them into heavier elements for construction of further colonies seems plausible in the longer term as well.

Why expand into space? For many, the answers are blatantly obvious, but the easiest is that the alternatives are limiting the human freedom to reproduce, or mass murder, both of which are morally unacceptable. Population growth is not inherently antithetical to a love of the environment - in fact, by expanding outwards into the cosmos in all directions, we'll be able to seed every star system with every species of plant and animal imaginable. The genetic diversity of the embryonic home planet will seem tiny by comparison.

Space colonization is closely related to transhumanism through the mutual association of futurist philosophy, but also more directly because the embrace of transhumanism will be necessary to colonize space. Human beings aren't designed to live in space. Our physiological issues with it are manifold, from deteriorating muscle mass to uncontrollable flatulence. On the surface of Venus, we would melt, on the surface of Mars, we'd freeze. The only reasonable solution is to upgrade our bodies. Not terraform the cosmos, but cosmosform ourselves.

6. Cybernetics.

Can you spot the cyborg in this picture? You're looking right at him! It's Michael Chorost, the man who was born almost deaf but now can hear, thanks to a cochlear implant. Most of the cyborgs in fiction fit certain stereotypes - Ãœbermensch wannabes, cyborg assassins, and supercops. But cyborgs already walk among us, and they look just like normal people. This trend will continue in the future. Many cyborg upgrades which will become available in the 20s and 30s, such as hearing and vision enhancement, metabolic enhancement, artificial bones, muscles, and organs, and even brain-computer interfaces will be invisible to the casual observer, implanted beneath the skin. Cybernetic features on the surface, such as dermal enhancements or technological actuators like retractable wings, will be carefully camouflaged. No one will want to shock the rest of society by looking like the tin man in public.

The process of cyborgization has already been happening for centuries if not millennia, since the advent of clothing and piercings. For many generations, but especially in the last couple decades, our technological gadgets have been getting smaller, more functional, and more closely integrated with our natural activity. Recently, Microsoft announced Microsoft Surface, a mouseless, keyboardless form of desktop computing which takes input from finger tracing and hand gestures. The sophistication of biotechnology and the availability of better materials and precision manufacturing will let us make systems so small and effective that even everyday people elect to implant them. These cybernetic systems will greatly improve our everyday experience, from letting us hear a wider range of ambient sounds, to viewing millions of stars rather than just a few thousand, to making us more resistant to accidents. They will improve the overall economy by enabling us do more work in less time for better pay. In the long term, enhanced humans may get a bigger portion of the economic pie than un-augmented humans, but the pie itself will become so much larger than even the poorest humans of tomorrow will be better off than the wealthiest of today.

Here's a good cyborg blog I found while doing research for this article, and the Power Jacket, a 4-pound jacket that enhances strength and is used by people recovering from paralysis. For more, see the cybernetics category of my del.ic.ious links, or my top ten list of cybernetic enhancements.

5. Autonomous self-replicating robotics.

Why do manual labor when the robots can do it for you? Self-replication might be considered the Holy Grail of robotics. A landmark NASA study, "Advanced Automation for Space Missions", found that robotic self-replication is just a matter of engineering, and that no fundamental theoretical breakthroughs are needed. The study proposed sending a 100-ton package to the Moon, with a self-replication time of 1 year, and letting it self-replicate until the desired level of development is attained. The design - which was fleshed out in great detail - was based on electric carts running on rails within the factory, "paving machines" that direct sunlight to melt lunar regolith, robotic strip miners for obtaining raw materials, and a solar cell "canopy" for powering it all. After 10 years, over 100,000 tons of lunar factory could be produced autonomously. The factory's functions could then be hijacked for the benefit of human colonists, used to produce housing, products, and provide large quantities of solar power.

If similar self-replicating systems could be constructed on Earth, there would be little limit to the material plenty they could provide. Self-replicating factories could turn the vast empty badlands of Australia into lush gardens by pumping water from the oceans, self-replicating factories in the high Arctic could melt snow and create gigantic transparent domes suitable for habitation, and submersible automata in the seas could dredge sand from abiotic regions of the ocean floor and process it into gigantic platforms for human colonization. By opening up such vast new regions of the Earth's surface, talk of overpopulation and crowding would fall by the wayside for quite a few decades, with people realizing how much space there actually was all along. And once things really do get too crowded here on Earth, we can move to the Moon, Mars, and the asteroid belt, using the power of self-replicating robotics to create rotating space colonies suitable for housing trillions of people.

Self-replicating factories could reduce the costs of material goods close to that of food - the primary expenses would consist of raw materials, energy, and whatever small quantity of human oversight is necessary to keep an eye on the overall structure of things. By utilizing special, man-made "nutrients" for top-level functions (rare or exotic molecules such as custom-synthesized proteins) and the broadcast architecture - whereby derivative factories must receive affirmations from a central parent factory to continue self-replicating - such factories could be made safe by design. With such abundance, humanity might actually shift from having a zero-sum perspective on a world to a positive-sum perspective. With medical tools and basic goods in ample supply, no one in the world would need to suffer from poverty or curable disease. The nature of human work would shift from manual drudgery and mind-numbing routine to more creative and personally fulfilling endeavors, like art, music, math, science, literature, and exploration.

For more details on the state of the art in self-replicating machines, see the Wikipedia entry, or the magnum opus on the topic, Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines.

4. Molecular manufacturing.

If self-replication is the Holy Grail of robotics, then molecular nanotechnology (MNT) is the Holy Grail of manufacturing. Molecular nanotechnology would use massive arrays of nanometer-scale actuators (produced initially through self-replication) to manufacture macroscale products with atomic precision. This concept is known as the nanofactory. In practical terms, the creation of nanofactories would mean that practically everything could be made out of diamond, motors would become so powerful that a cubic centimeter would provide enough torque to propel a car, medical nanodevices could heal wounds and repair organs without the need for surgery, and air-suspended nanodevices ("utility fog") could be configured to simulate practically any desired object on demand. On the downside of things, it could become easy to manufacture mite-sized robots with a payload of poison sufficient to kill thousands, or a laptop-sized device capable of separating U-235 from U-238 in a worrisomely simple and rapid fashion, or self-replicating synthetic algae capable of clogging up our oceans with grey goo. Enabling widespread use of the positive applications while cleanly and completely suppressing the nasty applications is a first-order challenge. Incidentally, you can make a difference right now by donating to the Lifeboat Foundation or Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, two of very few organizations focusing on this area.

To some, molecular nanotechnology sounds like science fiction, and based on the grandiose applications I discussed in the previous paragraph, you can't blame them. But many of the prerequisites of molecular manufacturing have already been demonstrated - "molecular surgery" has been used to snip off and replace individual hydrogen atoms, various functional nanoscale devices have been built, scanning tunneling microscopy has been used to mechnically manipulate individual atoms, and so on. The challenge is to create a nanoscale manipulator arm capable of placing individual atoms with angstrom-level precision, avoiding undesired reactions, and serving as a universal constructor that can build a copy of itself. There are numerous technical challenges still outstanding, but when these are overcome, manufacturing will be granted the power that nature has had for hundreds of millions of years - the ability to fabricate large objects with molecular precision. The numerous potential applications of the techology to human enhancement are obvious; with molecular manufacturing, we could orchestrate elegant improvements to every single body component, achieving all of the upgrades described on my top ten list, and many more.

3. Megascale engineering.

Most people are familiar with megascale engineering because it is seen throughout fiction - the Death Star, for instance. Typically, megascale engineering refers to building structures at least 1,000 km in length in one dimension, such as a space elevator, Globus Cassus, or Dyson sphere. With the self-replicating robotics described above, the production of such large structures could be done largely by autonomous drones, with intelligent agents only managing the highest top-level functions and architecture. Considering that mankind's long-term future is in space, and that space right now is pretty devoid of any structure useful or habitable to humans, we have a lot of work to do, and if you can make the projects megascale, why not?

Like some of the other items on this list, megascale engineering is only indirectly transhumanist - but is still very relevant to the long-term future of intelligent life. Megascale engineering goes hand-in-hand with the grandiose transhumanist vision: intelligent beings spreading across the cosmos, and eventually shaping the very structure of the universe itself. The fact that these vast expanses of colonizable space are currently neglected imposes on us a vast opportunity cost - if we hurried up a bit and colonized them, we could give rise to tremendous numbers of people leading worthwhile lives. What experiences would they have, and what stories would they tell? We'll never find out, unless we make it happen.

2. Mind uploading.

Mind uploading, sometimes referred to as nonbiological intelligence, centers around the controversial proposition that cognitive processing can be implemented on substrates other than our current neurons. Considering decades of successful results in neurophysiology, and the recent construction of the world's first brain prosthesis - an artificial copy of the hippocampus - this seems very likely. It appears that our minds are defined more by the information pattern they embody than the particular hardware they are implemented on. Numerous philosophers of mind have long recognized this, but acceptance among the wider public has been a long time in coming: people don't want to think that they're "just" data structures being implemented as computational automata on biological neurons. But it is hard to think of it any other way: once we dismiss the possibility of an immaterial soul, we must acknowledge the mind as a material pattern implemented in physical configurations, and if other substances aside from our current neurons can meet the requirements for these configurations, then there is no reason why intelligence and consciousness could not exist on another substrate. For a humorous look at this complex philosophical argument, see "They're Made Out of Meat" by Terry Bisson.

If our brains really don't have to be made out of meat, then we can transfer them to other substrates. By incrementally replacing each neuron with a synthetic neuron-equivalent, the whole process could go down painlessly and seamlessly. The transfer could be as slow or as fast as we want: from the information-processing perspective of the brain itself, nothing ever changes. Light still comes in through the eye's lens, hits the retina, is transformed into nerve impulses which travel down the optic nerve, receives further processing in the visual cortex at the back of the brain, the highlights of which are sent to the prefrontal cortex for integration with information from the other senses. The brain can't tell if it's made out of traditional meat, or accelerated biological neurons, or entirely nonbiological neuron-equivalents: the computation is the same. Sometimes this notion is also referred to as an application of the Church-Turing thesis.

If entirely synthetic brains are possible, then there's nothing stopping such persons from inhabiting computer networks - not indirectly, sitting in chairs as we currently do, but directly, engaging in computer worlds as a sentient program of tremendous complexity. With molecular manufacturing on hand, reversing the process would be as simple as printing out a hundred or so kilograms of flesh and bone again, complete with memories from the networked experience. This is probably among the transhumanist visions that most reliably elicits the "yuck!" reaction, but if functionalism is true, then virtual experience will be indistinguishable from physical experience. Not only that, but even more enjoyable, due to the manifold degrees of freedom which would become newly accessible. In a virtual world, there are no laws of physics except those we choose.

For a bit more on simulations, see this primer, and remember: be careful not to generalize from fictional evidence.

1. Artificial General Intelligence.

As argued in the previous section, functionalism seems likely. If so, then strong AI is possible. Thinking, feeling, imagining, creating, communicating, thoughtful synthetic intelligences with conscious experiences. Whether serial computing is sufficient, or parallel computing is necessary, both are within technological reach, and present-day computing speeds are fast approaching the computing power of the human brain. In fact, according to many estimates, the fastest present-day supercomputer, Blue Gene/P, has already exceeded it. Blue Gene/P operates continuously at speeds of over a petaflop, which is a million billion operations per second. For strong AI skeptics, no computer - even one operating at trillions of trillions of trillions of operations per second, is sufficient to implement true intelligence, but to functionalists like myself, such a meat-centric perspective is unjustified.

Distinct from artificial intelligence in general, which has come to refer to any sophisticated software program, artificial general intelligence refers to AIs that display open-ended learning and similar competency levels to human beings. A handful of researchers are working diligently towards artificial general intelligence, informed by the mathematics of inference and probability theory: Jürgen Schmidhuber, whose "main scientific ambition has been to build an optimal scientist, then retire"; Marcus Hutter, author of the landmark book Universal Artificial Intelligence; Ben Goertzel, who recently presented his AI design in a talk to Google; and Eliezer Yudkowsky, who is developing a reflective decision theory from first principles. Whether or not others believe in the feasibility of general AI, these individuals will keep working, and one will eventually succeed.

The way the world would be impacted by the arrival of general AI is too extreme to discuss in much detail here. If raw materials such as sand can be converted into computer chips and then into intelligent minds, eventually the majority of material in the solar system could be made intelligent and conscious. The result would be a "noetic Renaissance": the expansion of intelligence and experience beyond our wildest dreams. Conversely, if not given empathic values, artificial intelligence could lead to the doom of all. It's up to us to set the initial conditions appropriately: if not, we might not be around to regret it.

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Comments (152) Trackbacks (21)
  1. Neural interfacing belongs on this list — particularly as it pertains to fully immersive VR and as a precursor to mind transfer (not to mention a myriad of other applications).

    I took a quick look at the Lindeman haptics paper and their proposal for feedback suits and other wearable devices meant to simulate real-world tactile and sensory stimuli.

    While I am sure that this will be a technologically necessary step on the path to fully immersive VR, it won’t actually *be* truly immersive and believable until the development of more powerful neural interfaces.

    Specifically I’m thinking of the so-called brain-jack or similar device that will drill directly into the sensory cortex. Once this has been achieved there will be no need for wearable devices that merely simulate experience. Tapping into the sensory and motor cortices will enable us to over-write unwanted incoming sensory data and replace it with the simulated experience — including touch, smell, sound, and even neurotransmitters like adrenaline.

    The trick is to figure out how to do this, but I don’t think it’s beyond theoretical possibility.

    Great article!

  2. “//but the pie itself will become so much larger than even the poorest humans of tomorrow will be better off than the wealthiest of today.//”

    IF we are politically vigilant. The middle class of the 20th century did not arise by the advance of technology alone, and it is endangered now despite technological advance because the policies that support them (and the poor that they would be otherwise) have been fading.

    Distribution of the benefits of technology is not itself a technology; it is a policy. I can respect some of your expertise as a forecaster of technological developments, but little hand-waves like this that also predict policies make me cringe.

    We seem to have work to do as citizens to make sure that democratic policies governing emerging technologies are properly deliberated and implemented than we do as engineers to create these technologies.

  3. Fighting Fire With Fire

    “We can quit being so addicted to the rationality and embrace the spirit. Rationality simply turns back on itself like a mobius strip. Too much thinking, too much cleverness on the monkey’s part leads it to believe it can come up with rational solutions for what ration itself hath wrought.”
    ~Joe Bageant The Ants of Gaia

    “In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded; “This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said – grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way!” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” ~Carl Sagan

    My point is, without some sort of ‘spiritual’ base for this, a metaphysical operating system if you will, the above advances – which I personally support – may most likely get subsumed by the dominant belief systems, which are all hostile to these advances.

    We are a Spiritual Animal and trying to ignore that is profoundly unscientific and just plain foolish. Time to turn that to our advantage.

  4. Perhaps oddly, considering my relative dislike of video games, etc. versus real-life experiences and interactions, I have always sort of considered mind-uploading as something to render almost all of the rest of these advances unnecessary, in the sense that we would be able to create a much more stable but also variable environment in a computer than IRL.

    I feel as if there must be some good reason why uploading and forgetting the “real world” would not be the most desirable path, but, providing that techonology is advanced enough to allow us to taste, smell, touch, etc in the same way we do IRL (which seems to me – though I am no scientist – would be fairly simple once a brain was uploaded. We can stimulate those brain-parts-turned-computer-program-parts directly, in a way that emulates eating or whatever else?), I really cannot think of one.

    Would we not want to forget the real world in order to avoid “putting all our eggs in one basket,”? But couldn’t we just have more computers, backing up the main hard drive, etc?

    Thoughts on why we would bother with other technologies, cryonics or cybenetics esp., if we could upload ourselves instead?

  5. “We are a Spiritual Animal and trying to ignore that is profoundly unscientific and just plain foolish. Time to turn that to our advantage.”

    If our goal were simply to convince as many people as possible of the merits of Singularitarianism, it would be good to use religion to spread the message. But Singularitarianism must have a purpose besides spreading Singularitarianism, or it collapses into an infinite recursion.

  6. SR:

    While there may not be any experiential reasons to live in a VR that surpasses the qualities of tangible experience, there will remain reasons pertaining to personal power and liberty. Not only would forgetting to retain access to the highest available level of reality expose us to the not-always-friendly slings and arrows of nature and accidents (which you point out in referring to backups), but it would also cede one’s personal security into the hands of those who retain tangible, physical power in the tangible domain – potentially someone you wouldn’t feel comfortable trusting.

  7. SR, because some of these paths may be (or already are) useful prior to uploading becoming available… an advance which will take an unknown length of time. In the long term, uploading wins though.

    Also, some people may believe uploading is possible, so I want to have something else to offer them anyway. You can imagine the reactions you get if you tell someone they will inevitably upload. (Even the very notion itself tends to provoke a strong “yuck” reaction in people, as I mentioned.)

    It’s very hard to make prognostications about exactly how it will all go down, all I’m saying right now is: if technology continues to advance, this option seems physically possible. It will be up to people living at the time as to how it is used.

    which seems to me – though I am no scientist – would be fairly simple once a brain was uploaded. We can stimulate those brain-parts-turned-computer-program-parts directly, in a way that emulates eating or whatever else?

    Actually this would probably be something you’d ask a philosopher of mind rather than some random scientist (and even they might get it wrong), but the real answer is of course yes, in order to upload the brain you’d need to know a tremendous amount about how it works, and if you know that much, then inputting arbitrary sensory data streams would be no problem, as long as you know in detail what is to be inputted.

    MVD, nonsense. Rationality is king. Rationality means trying to make your beliefs as aligned as possible with reality, as determined by experiment. Spirituality means making up whatever the hell you want. Maybe you’re not familiar with transhumanism, but the movement descends directly from humanism (hence the name), which strongly emphasizes rationality over wishful thinking and religion. To put it more bluntly: nothing anyone ever says will make me, or any other serious rationalist, switch from rational beliefs to spiritual beliefs for studying and analyzing the world.

    Tom, this post is about transhumanism, not singularitarianism.

    Nato, ultimately you can create a very large sphere of computronium basically impervious to natural accidents and entirely self-powered through fusion and fission. Especially if you accelerate the whole thing to great speeds, it’s practically impossible to destroy. I’m not sure if you’re imagining a large mainframe and someone walking up and literally pulling the plug, but I’m imagining huge conglomerates of dynamically interacting, extremely high energy-density fullerene machinery, capable of performing actuation (defense) and simulation (mind-implementing) functions simultaneously if necessary. Put the creation of such a thing centuries into the future if you like: I’m talking about the long-term future in this specific case. The point is that such a state (computronium cities defended as well as they need to be) would hold for the majority of the universe’s future timeline.

    Arbitrarily assigning attention and physical resources to virtual and physical worlds simultaneously should eventually become possible, as well. In any case, Nick Bostrom goes into one of these problems (that of optimization for self-replication rather than positive experiences) in a bit of detail in his “Future of Humanity” paper.

  8. “Tom, this post is about transhumanism, not singularitarianism.”

    Okay, then:

    If our goal were simply to convince as many people as possible of the merits of transhumanism, it would be good to use religion to spread the message. But transhumanism must have a purpose besides spreading transhumanism, or it collapses into an infinite recursion.

  9. Michael, the material I shared with you via email will assist in answering some of these questions.

    It is too much material to post in a comment, but for others, here’s a small taste:
    A Global Democratic Movement Is About to Pop
    By Paul Hawken, Orion Magazine.
    Posted May 1, 2007.

    Based on several other considerations and evidences, I think that we may be approaching a social and cultural “singularity,” aside from, and in addition to, a technological singularity. Although Paul Hawkens’ material often approaches the subject from a liberal pov, he quite succinctly catches the essence of what is becoming a world-wide “movement.”

    This “movement” crosses ideological, religious, nationalist, social and cultural lines.

    It is a spontaneous and leaderless ‘movement’ towards rationality, accountability and transparency with an underlying theme, which asks itself, “What can I do to make the world a better place to live?”

  10. You can imagine the reactions you get if you tell someone they will inevitably upload.

    Probably about the same as you get from h+-ers if you tell them they will eventually die! ;p

    It’s important to emphasize in those cases that our intent is that any such uploading should only be offered on terms of informed, non-duressed consent. Saying they will “inevitably” upload without making this clear can give them the idea that the won’t have a choice.

    In a less than ideal future, they might not have that choice. But that’s not the one H+-ers are trying to sell.


  11. Sound great, Mike, nice to hear someone put his money where his mouth is. Can you add a few years to hear when you expect each technology to fully mature?

  12. strange i ve been having dreams of #7 lol looks very alike and thats not the only dreams ive been havinf deja vu …ya interesting tho XD

  13. The great news is that none of this is intractable. Challenging? Yes. But if it’s one thing that humans enjoy it’s a challenge.

    Maybe when people get tired of pretending to be an orc-slaying dwarves they’ll chip in to make this a reality :P

  14. wow, i liked reading this, thanks =)

  15. Michael: Great Post! One of the simplest introductions to transhumanist tech I have seen.

    A few quibbles with your comments. It’s not clear yet how much exactly we need to understand about the brain to upload. There are trade-offs between the demands of understanding of the brain and the power of our scanning and computer technology. I can’t imagine being able to upload without being able to do perfect VR though.

    A perfect rationalist might cease to be one under sufficient credible threats. Rationality is not just aligning beliefs with reality, but also aligning the expected results of actions with preferences.

  16. Welcome Diggers… again.

    Dagon, I’d like to avoid timeframes outside of private conversation because people tend to use them as ammo against you if they disagree with them. To me, the most important thing is not precisely when these technologies are invented, but that they are invented eventually. And for that to happen – humanity must continue to exist, i.e., not destroy itself, which requires action against existential risk, which, ultimately, involves donations and volunteering to organizations devoted to that.

    Michael, it is relatively challenging to secure your praise/approval so thanks. :)

  17. Such a beautiful piece of writing … unfortunately you can only do so much to highlight the fact that the real issue here is developing Friendly AGI, pretty much immediately. If not to save us from our own self-destruction, then from a more Unfriendly recursively self-improving intelligence that one of us creates or becomes.

  18. Lots of sites are saying people are WEIRDED OUT by certain items on this list. Aside from #10 and #2, can someone tell me what your problem is?

    PS. Anyone weirded out by anything on this list is weird.

  19. […] engineering. Mind uploading. Artificial General Intelligence. X Men the last stand trailersread more | digg story RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Cartoons Fans Lounge […]

  20. “PS. Anyone weirded out by anything on this list is weird.”

    Certainly not “weird” as in “abnormal”. I would bet you that 90% of the human population would be “weirded out” by these technologies.

  21. Worth reading…thanks..

  22. Maybe in America 90% would be weirded out, not here in Europe. Most of this stuff is old hat. Anyone who read sci-fi during the 70/80’s is fully aware of all this. The tech to do it may be new and upcoming but the ideas aren’t.

  23. Transhumanist: what a scary stupidity ! or maybe a New World Order idea…

  24. Hector – it’s neither scary nor a new world order idea. It’s simply progress and advancement of the human race. It’s far from stupid either but rather reflects the genius and potential of humanity.

  25. Point 11. Ability to kill.
    Ability to kill microorganisms. Probably milliards of people around the world has at least one species of parasite microorganism. Most of them are misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all. If we are able to destroy such species and leave “friendly” species (there are more bacteria cells in human, than human cells), people would be able to think more efficient, and do much more. You would say “we’ve got antibiotics”, or “so, we would upload our minds, and print them into the new body.” Wrong way. It’s almost impossible to kill bacterias like spirochaeta, or protista microorganisms like toxoplasma in human body(they could hide in human cells and wait for the good moment to atack). These microorganisms usually destroy organs like liver, heart, lungs, brain (e.g. maybe Alzheimer is because of such infection). It would happen even to new body (cloned, or build)… We develop technology to replace organs, but it’s also possible to prevent it.
    I don’t know what is the solution. If I knew that, I would be given “Nobel” ;p I suppose, that it could be biotechnology (not only gene therapy), in connection to bioinformatics, and structural biology. We also couldn’t model brain without basic information about single cell, and ability to simulate that cell in uncommon conditions (that’s why Blue Gene/P project is not the excellent idea). At the moment we couldn’t model even structure, and folding of small protein, without experiments…
    Another problem is, that some things could be solved in other way than cyborgization. For example: do You know, that when backbone is broken in the neck, most of destruction happens within hours after accident? That’s because immune system destroy neural cells “to prevent sth.”. If we could stop that process, there wouldn’t be so much paralyzed people…
    I think that this ideas should also be included as an important point in “transhumanism today”, and don’t believe so much in RNAi…

  26. Hi, Michael, in case you didn’t know, self-replicating robots have already been developed:

  27. came here from digg. fine effort. i live for science fiction, and you make it sound lame. what kept coming up for me, and it does a lot generally in my observations of the world anyway, is where our morals/ethics/subjectivity comes into all of this. basically these advances give us a hell of a lot of power, to be like god more than ever before.

    we will need to become a whole lot more objective than we are now before these sorts of advances won’t be our undoing.

    what do you think? i’m no religionist (i’m a member of australian atheists) – i actually think that we are still emerging from the moral vacuum of religion where we took no personal responsibility for morality, relying on a fear of god instead.

    i think the sorts of powers that these advances will give us is actually enough of a source of fear to act more objectively than ever before, as they do create truly god-like powers!

    i loved the ‘noetic renaissance’ concept in your conclusion. may this be so! the spread of intelligence throughout the universe is dear to my heart. oh i really loved this article. another thing i believe so passionately in is us moving beyond this original planet, and you covered how that might happen… was really nice, thank you.

  28. Wil, indeed:

    “As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.”


    “The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.”

    Both quotes from Arthur C. Clarke

  29. Michael, how many hours do you sleep each night? Amazing post.

    That woman in your top ten cybernetic upgrades list is not really attractive to me. In China, fairness is valued. In the West, brown skin (tanned look) is generally considered attractive. In Africa, medium/somewhat heavy build women are favored over skinny ones (perhaps due to the men having larger organs?!).

    So I don’t agree that attractiveness has little variation on a worldwide basis.

  30. I like to present my unbiased views so I will read this fantastic (most probably yes) site after posting this.

    It is a long way we (human) have come and a long long way to go. I do not like anybody inluding me, hazarding a guess as to how soon we shall arrive at the desired destination (contextual), but accept the FACTS as they unfold before us. Lucky we are if the facts have mass acceptance, else we become a club.
    There have been situations in history, of which I know little only, where things have gone astray and wary; but there may be less but certinly a few things have emerged directly or as by products of “futuristic thinking”. I like to subscribe to school of “accelerating” the future, the arrival of it to the extent in our life time. Remember Carl Segan in Chaos.

  31. I’m disappointed in this list because it dwells on the usual hypothetical subjects rather than pointing out how far we’ve already gone. I’d only consider three subjects on this list genuine transhumanist technologies (virtual reality, genetic manipulation, and cybernetics) merely because the rest either don’t exist or aren’t useful at this time.

    What would have been cool is *existing* transhumanist technologies. Things like selective breeding; writing and literature, science, philosophy, and math; computers (not just VR); terraforming; bureaucracy and the modern office; tool use; a lot of transportation and communication technologies; etc. A huge portion of the modern world is an adaptation of existing transhumanist technologies to human ends.

  32. One reason why we’re not yet optimally utilizing and deploying what “transhumanist” tech we already have is stupid regulation, as distinguished from intelligent regulation. but even that’s over-simplified, if not, indeed, not-quite correct. Per the “capture” theory of regulation, the regulatORS have been captured by the regulatEES, and so we have oligopolistic exorbitant-profit-maximization/protection, as distinguished from open-market, but properly regulated, progress. Stem-cells, as well as theraputic genetics, are cases-in-point. Plus the public has been dumbed-down, and so are not (YET) clamoring for optimal deployment of these goodies…

    But, yes, Michael, you’ve done a very good job of introducing Transhumanist Themes here…but, I must concur with Tom and others: People who are “weirded-out” by some or all of this stuff are not (at least not necessarily) themselves “weird”: They’re scared about the nefarious uses to which this stuff might be put, plus they’re dumbed-down, and so don’t really understand the full implications of this stuff (both for good & ill), and, precisely *because* they don’t understand some (much) of it very well, they’re scared of it. Lamentable, but understandable. Which, again, is why we need articulate luminaries like Ben & Aubrey & Ray to calmly, rationally, reasonably present this stuff (the pros & the cons, but with emphasis on the pros), and ease the public into getting used to these ideas…


  33. To push my point a little further, people aren’t weirded out by a number of transhumanist technologies because they’ve been using them for a few thousand years. Familiarity will follow weirded out.

  34. I think that we will achieve a state very soon whereby we can plug into a virtual reality and accomplish in that reality pretty much anything that we want to. The energy requirements of this are so far below the requirements to do the same in the real world that once the technology is available it is inevitable that this will surpass other endeavors. Coincidentally, it may also explains the lack of real evidence of non-terrestrial intelligent cultures. Any technologically developed civilisation will inevitably reach a point where there is more opportunity in computer simulations than they can achieve in the physical world. This is already visible on this planet to a limited extent. In terms of energy expenditure it’s the next logical step if you consider evolution and life as an efficient and self sustaining second case exception to entropy. It also closes the circle of the thermodynamic violations of life.

  35. Flemminglord: I think you’d be congenial toward John Smart’s ideas. I too am sympathetic to much of what he has to say. See his site, (aka If we can “hold it together” for another decade or two (or perhaps 3), then we shall soon see an almost unimaginable intelligence explosion both inward (inner-space, IA, etc.) and outward (outer space) either at light-speed or, if we can develop systematic hyperspatial engineering, then even beyond light-speed (which, admittedly, is a bit hard to conceptually completely grasp at this time). The development of systematic hyperspatial engineering shall indeed make us (whatever “us” is, in terms of subjective intentional states, at that point!) truly “godlike”, as we shall be able to systematically engineer space, time, and matter, essentially, in effect, transcending them. And, despite pessimistic/skeptical dogma spouted here recently by a commentator on another post, hyperspatial (and thus “FTL”—faster-than-light) tech may indeed be in the offing soon (see the work of Saul-Paul Sirag and Jack Sarfatti in particular). So-called “femtotech” will probably naturally segue into full-blown hyperspatial engineering (especially, imo, if some of Lee Smolin’s stuff pans-out—but then I’m sure as hell no physicist!).

  36. “If we can “hold it together” for another decade or two (or perhaps 3), then we shall soon see an almost unimaginable intelligence explosion both inward (inner-space, IA, etc.) and outward (outer space) either at light-speed or, if we can develop systematic hyperspatial engineering, then even beyond light-speed (which, admittedly, is a bit hard to conceptually completely grasp at this time). The development of systematic hyperspatial engineering shall indeed make us (whatever “us” is, in terms of subjective intentional states, at that point!) truly “godlike”, as we shall be able to systematically engineer space, time, and matter, essentially, in effect, transcending them.”


  37. I love good waffles. Although, admittedly, they’re rather hard to come-by. But a really well-done waffle is better than a garden-variety pancake anyday… ;)

  38. Great list.

    Some of these are much closer than others. I could argue that fab-labs are on the horizon as is AI (google:

    The mega-engineering and brain uploading kinda solve the same problem: too many people. I think both would be cool though.

  39. Technology number 12
    New way of thinking. We cannot say, that higher inteligence means only faster process, more complicated brain calculation, and more complicated ideas. It demands completely new way…

    Technology number 13
    Fast space movement. We know, that the human organism could stand about 9 G for a few seconds in special suit. It means that we cannot go to the stars in classical way. Of course there is also limitation of the C speed, but scientists know that we could evade it using gravity manipulation (we only need 6-7 things 100000 times more masive than sun I suppose). Remember, that people say that flying is impossible, and nobody wanted bulb, before it was invented.

    Technology number 14
    Ansibl. Faster than light comunication. I’m not very good at quantum mechanic, but maybe quantum teleportation could be used for that (they don’t write simple enough, about preparation of photons, to understand that process without the knowledge).

    Technology number 15
    Levitation (no comments)

    Technology number 16
    Something not yet discovered. Einstein theory changed much the way we are thinking about the world. According to the probability curve – something like that has to happen in the future more times…

  40. Glad to see you are back up and running after the bandwidth issues. ;)

  41. “We cannot say, that higher inteligence means only faster process, more complicated brain calculation, and more complicated ideas. It demands completely new way…”

    Or maybe not…

  42. MCP –

    I like waffles with blueberry syrup and whipping cream on them but I don’t have a waffle maker and they seem really messy anyway. I stopped making onion rings because it was such a hassle to scrape the batter off my counter.

  43. ““We cannot say, that higher inteligence means only faster process, more complicated brain calculation, and more complicated ideas. It demands completely new way…”

    Or maybe not…”

    animal brain work in a way action – reaction -> learn
    human brain work in that way + analyze hypotetical, and real situations + abstract ideas (based on modeling, and generalizing of some situations) + effective copy-paste mechanizm…
    posthuman brain should also have some more +. Maybe posthuman brain could avoid copy -paste mechanism, and wouldn’t need simply models to understand.

  44. I sympathize, Michael. And, yes, blueberries themselves are very good: Anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic.

  45. Rience wrote:

    we only need 6-7 things 100000 times more masive than sun I suppose)

    Most energy forms that occur naturally can be converted through machinery from another energy form. If the graviton can ever be artificially manufactured, the ability to distort space-time might be sufficient to permit the traversing of significant distances at significantly less-than-C speeds. Although, to be fair, even without spatial distortion simple gravitic control would likely result in inertial manipulation, which would permit extremely high (relativistic) velocities in real-space as well.

    Of course, it would take a few “Black Swans” to get there.

  46. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

  47. “//but the pie itself will become so much larger than even the poorest humans of tomorrow will be better off than the wealthiest of today.//”

    This seems to me an unlikely supposition, since even in the midst of unbounded resources human beings demonstrate an unending capacity for greed, domination and subjugation. Improvements in technology will not put an end to man’s defects in character. These behaviors are certainly encouraged in every level of American society even when they are unwarranted. You can surely cite numerous examples of this among your own aquaintances in the academic and scientific communities, I’m sure, as they scramble for positions in funding, perks, prestige and recognition.

  48. David Zent Wrote:

    “//but the pie itself will become so much larger than even the poorest humans of tomorrow will be better off than the wealthiest of today.//”

    This seems to me an unlikely supposition, since even in the midst of unbounded resources human beings demonstrate an unending capacity for greed, domination and subjugation.

    Personally, I don’t see why — considering that, barring access to gold and silks, exactly that same statement can be made about the working poor of today and the wealthiest peoples of Medieval Europe. And even the absolutely destitute today lead lives that our hunter-gatherer ancestors could only dream of as the vision of heaven.

    Note that what was originally suggested was simply that, when wealth becomes sufficiently vast, even the miniscule portion of it permitted to the subjugated would make today’s wealthy look destitute in comparison. This is not so radical a statement to make, and actually pre-assumes no changes in the “Condition of Man.”

  49. I found your article most interesting and it has brought to my mind a number of questions just waiting to be formed… lets see if I can form some now without sounding like a total idiot, it regards philosophical views on uploading.

    My question is, what motivations would an uploaded “human”/or transformed entity would have in regards to “living”?

    Lets hypothesize that an uploaded mind has full control over all its virtual environment and all its variables; any experience it will have is loaded on command, and even “random” scenarios will be simulated easily into predictability (Randomness then is preset and cannot truely exist). Lets also imagine that the mind is uploaded into an infintely sustainable component, hence, the mind is free from worry about demise.

    This mind is then free from the need to adapt to its external environment. It becomes an intelligence in which it is infinitively powerful introspectively. Why would then the mind need to interact with the outside world? Will this mind “feel” lonliness, love or curiosity? If it does, will it be satisfied by simulating in its own environment, or will it just toggle emotions by flipping a variable? Is this mind going to be any different than a hermit who imagines himself as god in isolation? Why live in society when you can “create” society in your thoughts?

    Lets say that you may be uploaded into a sensory device that allows your upload to touch the cosmos, why would this uploaded clone find that nessassary in the first place? To report back its discoveries to you? For status, or recognition? Why would it need that?
    What would it mean for that mind if phenomenon X did this and Y did that if existance is no longer a gamble and survival is forever? What context will it attach observations to? What difference does it then make if the mind outputs knowledge or not if it is going to survive until the end of the universe anyway?

    Deviating from that point, the entity uploaded, although is a clone of “you”, does not share its experiences directly with you. Furthermore, if you are killed at the every instance of cloning, while your clone retains memory and lives as if nothing happened, would you not fear your own demise and miss what experiences your clone will achieve? Why then, would you want to upload yourself only to render yourself obselete?

    Lets put forward a fantastical scenario here: Lets imagine that a tribe in ancient Britian discovers how to harness the energies of the universe to make a god-awesome computer. They construct this computer to be enduring and powered for as long as the planet remains in motion. This computer comes to be recognized as Stone-Hedge and the tribe uploads themselves into it, melding their human minds into this device. Their bodies perish eventually as all meat does, but their minds remain in the device. The minds are completely content in being how they are and although they have simulated the events on Earth and the solar system and beyond a trillion^trillion times over, they have no need for such data in their virtual environment, which unlike ours, is purely arithmetic intellignece. In the span of a day, they might have computed the results for living a million different lives on a million different worlds, but are they truly living? Surely they have different needs than us, or perhaps needs are obselete to them. If such is the case, would they be resultingly any diffrent “emotionally” from this laptop I’m typing out of now? Would they care if they “lived” or “died”; would such matters become trivial against the scope of eternity?
    Sorry for the vomit of questions, but I cannot help but wonder if uploading is at all progressive for the species. Or would that even matter?

    I think I need more time to clarify what exactly I want to ask about this subject, and I’d be interested any text on the issue you might recommend.

  50. That sounds very much like a combination of “wireheading” and Cartesian dualism.

    Of course, I’m not a major proponent of uploading into virtual spaces, but one very real refutation of the virtual space dilemma you provide here is the shared experience; multiple minds in one shared environment preserves the chaotic patterns of human interaction.

    There are other issues, but that’s another story.

  51. I’m searching up those terms in wikipedia now, since my actual knowledge upon these subjects is quite shallow. Hence, if any explination could be given in layman’s terms, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    On your second point regarding human interaction in a shared environment; I wonder if the uploaded entities would resemble humans at all. Since humans are more or less animals, it is our primitive desires that compel our subconscions to act. A human displays agression, cruelty etc as means to achieve domination over other humans to better his/her chance of breeding.

    An upload on the other hand, divorced from it’s animal body and given a super-intelligent mind, would have no distinguishment over its sub and super-conscious. It acts, reports, produces and behaves all within different and perhaps even illuminated (as in clear, understood, not ambigious unlike our own ways of thinking) variables.

    Hence, if multiple entities were to share an environment, would they not as easily meld together as it was for one to upload his/her mind? Would they, because without human behaviour, stagnate in its usefullness towards things outside of it’s virtual environment? I cannot help but imagine that uploads being any different from a comma patient (assuming that a comma patient has full use of his/her mind/imagination). Unless it has aparatuses that allow it to interact with the world, the question would be, why would it want to do so instead of just stagnate?

  52. Come on, you can`t use World of Warcraft as an example of virtual reality.

  53. I have, admittedly, just skimmed this, so if this has already been addressed, please forgive me. I love the article. I love its ideas. My problem is that we don’t (not can’t but don’t) feed the people of our planet. This NEEDS to be the first major project; albeit this is more often a political issue rather than our ability to do so. However for projects such as these we will need not only the natural resources of the entire planet (and more), but also the skills and abilities of a skilled and educated planetary workforce. A good place to start developing such a workforce is to make sure they are well fed. We are wasting to much potential when there are so many people on this planet who are starving to death. When we have a world where everyone is fed and educated, perhaps then projects on this scale will be feasible.

  54. Very good post Michael, I really enjoyed it! :)

  55. As much as I am a transhumanist, mind uploading is never going to happen. Brains are not computers.

    For more information, refer to Developing Intelligence.

  56. Brains may not be von Neumann computers, that doesn’t mean they aren’t finite state machines.

  57. michael you seem like a brilliant fellow.

    just a question and nothing i propose here is intended as spiteful or dismissive (merely my independent POV),

    but are you Rationalists inherently agnostic or atheist by nature because their is no “empirical evidence” that a god exists? it is a bit ironic to reach for “god-like” powers and not at least allow for the possibility of a supreme creator / divine being, or at least that we are all one consciousness or that the universe may be all part of a singular vibration which arose from nothing and returns to nothing in an infinite cycle.

    many people that dismiss god are detached from love. but in my opinion this is OK because there must also be those who do not think there is a god in order to allow for infinite variation of consciouness and existence to occur.

    and feel free to reply to any of these remarks, but please consider this:

    there are 4 general types of “debunkers” in my opinion: scientific, philosophical, psychological, religious. any notion you set forth, no matter how “rational” or “weird” it may be, will undoubtedly be attacked from one of these angles by someone somewhere.

    also it seems to me some of you are underestimating the intelligence and intuitions of the people of the world, are you into kissinger’s “useless eaters” idea?

    are you folks educated at oxford or arcane school or something? many transhumanist ideals epitomize what the anti-christ is prophecized to offer, paradise engineering and such. and i am merely citing a christian reference, i do not classify myself as anything because i like emerson’s idea that conformity is like a sin. i like a lot of ‘self-reliance’ actually, however outdated it may be.

    i realize that many a transhumanist and brilliant scientist of every field already accept in his mind that this ‘evolution’ of mankind is all inevitable so…why not work towards these goals, right? which is an eerie justification/rationalition to someone like me, a poor uneducated man like myself.

    and just out of curiosity, what do you folks think about the LHC super-collider? Will proving a Higgs Boson be a monumental achievement? Will it prove/disprove the existence of a divine architecture? what is the true purpose of those experiments? why recreate the “big bang”? it seems as though it may open a portal to a higher dimension…

    i will leave by hypothesizing that there are is no such thing as a new discovery or new knowledge, not transhumanist technologies or otherwise. this knowledge already exists from the infinite source of wisdom and you are merely “proving” it to yourself on the temporal plane of the 3rd dimension, whether it be for benefit or harm.

    i must say that every single new technological discovery is almost always turned immediately into a weapon, if for no other purpose than to test it’s power. this is why the 90% of “dumbed-down” people have a rational fear of your transhumanist tech.

    i hope some of you can find faith in something other than science someday. empirical evidence is not the end-all be-all of rationality, there is more to life my friends, like love for example. i hope you’ll find that for yourself.

    good luck with your education and research, you folks have brilliant minds, please use them for good and not for evil is all that we commoners can ask.

  58. ah plus i forgot to add that a lot of the fear of misuse of tech is that (as you said, in America at least) we are being absolutely peppered by the media that there is an impending apocalypse approaching, which if that is true i hope it means the revelation of hidden truth rather than a doomsday extinction scenario.

    please remember what i said about the militaries taking a technology and inveritably turning it into a weapon because it is an inevitable truth also…even einstein must have had regret about the nuclear discoveries

    “The path to Hell is paved with good intentions”

    take “Hell” however you like, doesn’t have to be in the metaphysical or religious sense. it can simply mean ‘our demise’

  59. i hope i will experience most of this. at least i hope someobody will uplaod my mind before idie

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  75. A very enlightening article!
    However (based off my own cautious point of view) shouldn’t humans and the wonderful scientists working on these projects SLOW DOWN and consider why they are doing these things?
    This is all cool and wonderful, pushing our limitations to see how far we can go as a species and breaking down our own limitations but could our feverish pursuit to become more than what we are be based off our own fears of death or inadequacy?
    I’m all for advancements in technology but when they are founded on escapism or a tunnel-vision approach I grow wary.

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  79. Awesome post. I think Mind uploading will help us solve these problems way faster. If all the smart scientists could remain “Alive” in a virtual world and exponentially add to their knowledge seeing as the physical limits of the human brain are no longer an issue, then we can solve most of our problems much faster. The theoretical problems out of the way, A mind on a computer system could perform experiments without tiring, needing a break or maybe even crack multitasking.

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