Transhumanism – Its Pros And Cons
Transhumanism is the idea that human life can be prolonged using technological advancements. These technologies are to improve our thinking capacity, speed, logical reasoning, mood etc. Studies have proven that the response time, learning speed and reflex of an individual can be increased through electrical stimulation. Ray Kurzweil predicts that the human mind will be able to be uploaded to a computer by the end of the year 2040. By then, artificial intelligence will reach a point called singularity where AI will be smart enough to learn at an exponential speed. Transhumanism has proved to save lives as it is a part of medical advancements.
Advantages of transhumanism
Artificial legs or arms mimic the movement of a human leg or arm. These devices can receive and understand nerve impulses or muscle movements that the wearer makes. Design for intelligent prosthetic limbs is a key factor as they are lightweight therefore improving comfort as well as being precise. People who have benefited from prosthetic attachments are from war casualties, people born without limbs and amputees. As prosthetic limbs are smart devices, a user can live and work on his own without having to rely on welfare or support from family members.
As transhumanism is a technological advancement in the medical field, vaccines can be considered a part of it. Machines have been used to engineer weaker versions of deadly viruses, introduced it in small quantities that the immune system can fight. The person becomes immune because the body will remember how to fight the virus. Newer vaccines tell the body how to fight the infection rather than introducing the infection. Vaccinations shield the whole community as immune people cannot spread the infection. Without technological advancement, diseases like smallpox would not have been eradicated by vaccines.
People who suffer from tinnitus, a condition where you hear a persistent noise, have used aids to improve their hearing. The aids work by playing a white noise to cancel the ringing or by boosting received audio. Hearing aids have improved the lives of children born partially deaf, aging population. Bone conduction hearing aids make people born with conductive hearing problems to hear as these devices bypass the outer and the middle ear. These implants are machines which are possible only through advancement in medical research. Scientists have proved that the brain hears, not the ear, meaning that with the right medical advancement anyone can hear without using the ear.
Disadvantages of transhumanism
A world where robots will have been augmented with people will be unfair mainly to the poor. Bionic attachments will be costly to buy and maintain meaning that only the rich will have access to this technology. First world countries may place policies to ensure that they are affordable but developing countries will have to prioritize improving their economy. This unequal wealth distribution will be more pronounced as the rich will be richer because of the added advantage of bionics while the poor will be poorer.
Stagnation of human evolution
Human beings have evolved to adapt to their environment or to gain an advantage over a predator or a prey. Early humans who once walked on four limbs started walking on two feet to free the other limbs for grasping and carrying. Modern man has a larger brain than its predecessors since he uses his brain capacity more. Transhumanism is directing human evolution to depend on external attachments like robotic arms. The human body will not have a need to evolve as there is no underlying need to do so. If uploading the human brain to a computer will be possible, humans will no longer exist as everyone will be a series of ones and zeros.
Science is trusted because it has a consistent outcome, be it sending man to the moon or introducing industrial revolution to increase production efficiency. When smart devices were introduced to the market, they were praised as making life easier. This is true, but it has also brought its dark side. Hackers use smart devices to break into homes, record unsuspecting individuals and even stealing of key less entry cars. If these are the issues being dealt with by having a smart device, the effects of having super humans, can only be worse. It means that if super humans were to exist, security would be preferred over privacy.