Although physical enhancement is what most people associate with transhumanism, it’s not particularly interesting. A man with tentacles and wings who can fly and breathe underwater is still just some dude. Humans are primitive beings, with conspicuously primitive minds — we just recently evolved from un-intelligent apes that used the same stone tools for millions of years.
Everything truly exciting about the transhumanist project lies in the mental realm. Only through opening up and intervening in the brain can we really change ourselves and the way the world works. Anything else is just the surface.
What approaches can we take to cognitive enhancement?
First, take brain surgery. It is extremely unlikely that cognitive enhancement will be conducted through conventional brain surgery as is practiced today. These procedures are inherently risky and only conducted under necessary circumstances, when the challenges of surgery outweigh the huge cost, substantial risk, and long recovery time of the procedures.
More subtle than brain surgery is optogenetics, regarded by some as the scientific breakthrough of the last decade. Optogenetics allows researchers …