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  • The A to Z of -isms...

  • transhumanism.

  • Most of us would consider the end of the human race as a catastrophe.

  • There are some however who would not only rejoice at it

  • but want to hasten the day it arrives.

  • Transhumanists look forward to a future in which Homo sapiens

  • is superseded by a better, smarter, fitter model -

  • humanity 2.0.

  • Humans are in dire need of improvement.

  • Any species that causes huge damage to our environment,

  • can't feed itself even though it has enough food

  • and fights countless wars costing millions of lives

  • must surely benefit from an intelligence upgrade.

  • Our lifespans are short,

  • our final years usually characterised by diminishing health and vitality,

  • often accompanied by a drop off in cognitive capacity.

  • One in three people born in 2015 are expected to get dementia.

  • Is this really the best we can hope for?

  • Transhumanists think not.

  • Ageing could be stopped and even reversed.

  • Enhancements could dramatically raise our IQs

  • and make us stronger and fitter.

  • We might even be able to leave our fragile bodies behind

  • and upload ourselves to computers, living forever in virtual worlds.

  • Improving humanity through science and technology

  • could radically change us.

  • Such a new beginning would in effect be the end of humanity as we know it.

  • Many transhumanists see this as not only desirable but inevitable.

  • The scientist and futurist, Ray Kurzweil,

  • believes we are approaching what he calls "the singularity" -

  • the point at which computers become smart enough to learn for themselves,

  • after which they will rapidly become smarter and smarter.

  • The future belongs to artificial intelligence.

  • The only way for humanity to survive is to embrace it

  • and become wholly or partially artificial ourselves.

  • The thought of being replaced by a new form of humanity

  • is bound to be unsettling.

  • But transhumanists think

  • we would be wrong to lament the end of humanity as we know it

  • when what replaces us would be so much better.

  • It would be like wishing children never grew up

  • or that Homo erectus never evolved into Homo sapiens.

  • If the transhumanists are right,

  • we could be one of the last generations of humans to roam the planet.

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The A to Z of -isms...

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B1 humanity smarter homo homo sapiens artificial intelligence

Transhumanism: Will humans evolve to something smarter? | A-Z of ISMs Episode 20 - BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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