March 1, 2024

Transhumanist dreams

I don’t know whether it is due to reading too much science fiction or not reading enough, but I find it impossible to take the transhumanist movement seriously. Some of its ideas about self-definition have seeped into mainstream culture, like transgenderism. However, its vision of a future in which homo sapiens has evolved into Morlocks and Eloi (as H.G. Wells foresaw in The Time Machine) seems almost preposterous, at least to me.

Perhaps to allay fears that scepticism from people like me will eventually lead to injustice against the more advanced sort of people, American transhumanists have drafted a transhumanist Bill of Rights (see below). This guarantees “sentient entities” everything from universal health care and internet coverage to “self-consciousness in perpetuity”.

One thing that I can never quite grasp about the earnest predictions of transhumanists is whether they actually care whether their schemes are practical. Uploading one’s consciousness to the internet sounds super but the obstacles in its path are more like the Himalayas than parking lot speedbumps – apart from all the ethical issues. Anyhow, good luck to them!

Michael Cook
Are they practical?