April 12, 2024

Are we evolving beyond “meat-based” intelligence?

Latest developments in transhumanist project

Transhumanists having a partyWhat happens when we take the reins in evolution and start to engineer ourselves? This question is being raised more and more frequently as genetics and neuroscience show the physical basis of what used to be considered uniquely human traits. Less disease? More broken sporting records? More altruism? More intelligence?

Right out on the fringe of dreams of human engineering are the transhumanists. One of the latest forecasts on the leading transhumanist website, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is that we will be able to convert humans into computer programs. Amongst transhumanists this is called “mind uploading”.

Michael Anissimov predicts that “With a complete readout of the data contents and algorithms of the human mind, combined with molecular rod logics, or even molecular nanocomputing, it seems feasible that million, billion, or trillionfold speedups [of experience] could become possible.”

This will put all of humanity’s previous achievements in the shade: “The utter power that uploading will confer to our civilization is mind-boggling. From the new perspective of a world with such power, all the old human achievements will seem inconsequential. Plato, Socrates, Einstein, Mozart, all mediocre.”

Even though this may sound absurd, as Anissimov points out, the conviction that we can redesign homo sapiens ultimately leads in this direction. “Thoughts about reprogramming the body using biotechnology alone, are a ‘gateway drug’ to thoughts about superintelligence and uploading,” he writes. “Meat-based general intelligence is a short-lived phenomenon.” ~ IEET, Jan 15