The Future Of Humanity
by Tom Olago
Imagine being able to run at speeds of 60 mph (97 km/h), see with perfect vision and zoom in on distant objects without powerful video or camera lenses, experience perfect night vision due to infrared viewing capabilities, and limbs as strong as bulldozer-powered ones, letting you jump several stories high. And have all of these abilities while looking perfectly human, normal and healthy, rather than resembling a robotic freak saddled with contraptions and devices.
Such is the stuff of science fiction books and Hollywood movies featuring cyborgs or “cybernetic organisms” or simply humans who have certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices. But perhaps not for long: Faye Barton, writing for guardian liberty voice , says: “Science fiction writers have long paid homage to the idea of cyborgs, the drive to consistently improve by using technology rather than to comply with the natural decline of age.
It feeds the human desire to reach a state of superiority. Humans of the future will undergo a new transition when they finally merge with technology to become transhumans, elegant machines that are both organic and inorganic. The transition is beginning even now with three incredible inventions. The cultural movement of transhumanism opens up a world of possibilities for a future of replaceable organs and simple, internal health maintenance. “
Barton goes on to list the three “incredible inventions”:
1. The first device to open the door to a future of transhumans is worn by artist, Neil Harbisson, who offers a glaring contrast to the aforementioned fictional media trend in being the first cyborg to be recognized by a governmental entity. Harbisson wears a device that he affectionately calls his “Eyeborg.” The Eyeborg works by using a head-mounted antenna to sense the colors in front of the wearer and translating them into sound waves that the wearer can perceive through bone conduction. In his Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) talk, Harbisson references his ability to perceive human skin color as sound by saying that, “I thought that humans were black and white, which is completely false. There is no white skins and there is no black skins. Human skins range from very light shades of orange and very, very dark shades of orange. We are never black or white.”
2. Brain implants to assist the mental faculties of impaired combat veterans are being developed by Boston researchers as a part of President Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative. The project, which was announced last year, is set to take five years with a hefty price tag of $30 million. An additional team of developers at the University of California, San Francisco will be receiving another $26 million to work on the transhumanist project of their own. The technology being used in the brain implants is already being used widely in a more simplistic sense. Deep brain stimulators are being used in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease to ease the sometimes crippling tremors associated with the condition.
3.Google, the household brand that revolutionized the way people search the internet, recently unveiled a high tech contact lens. The lens features an integrated camera off to the side of the lens to prevent the device from obstructing the wearer’s vision. As the wearer’s eye moves, the camera also follows suit. Google’s tech lenses are the next step up from Google Glass. The technology has the possibility to aid the visually impaired in experiencing their world with more detail while granting superhuman-like abilities to the users in possession of working sight. Telescopic vision and infrared/night vision are just two of the possible benefits of wearing the Google lenses.
In addition, Barton references microscopic “nanobots” that have been in development by various research teams throughout the world for years. Nanobots will be capable of reaching areas all throughout the human body, including the brain. They could have the ability to aid in or perform surgeries from inside the body. Other nanobots in development are being given various objectives such as gathering information about the patient’s health and storing it in a cloud database to be analyzed by a healthcare professional.
Barton concludes that “the future of humanity looks far more mechanical than ever before. Futurist and Google’s chief of engineering, Ray Kurzweil estimates that man will meld with machines completely to usher in the technological singularity and an age of partially robotic transhumans in 2045. The early stages of the singularity are unfolding today in 2014 with these three incredible devices from around the world.”
All these developments do not seem threatening when presented as medically or technologically beneficial, enhancing the quality of life for individuals, and improving on the existing deficiencies in human effort and technological process across a wide spectrum of applications. However, to what limits will these endeavors be stretched? In the effort to improve mankind’s abilities and to fast-track the process to “finally merge with technology to become transhumans, elegant machines that are both organic and inorganic”, is man trying to play God? Man has so far even attempted to improve on creation by experimenting with DNA manipulations such as cloning, and is now attempting to create a superior race using technology – always in the good names of human and scientific development, and always for the greater good of all – of course.
Could part of the intent include desensitizing the populace over time regarding taking micro chipped implants amongst other implants in Big brother’s transhuman toolbox? After all, what’s a small little chip in your hand or forehead amidst all the other larger metallic parts and gadgets all over your body?
Another disturbing aspect is that the lines between transhumanists and religious groups appear to be getting blurred. An instance of this is the Transhuman Visions conference on religion and Transhumanism held earlier this year, where fourteen speakers from different faiths and positions (Islam, Raelism, Lutheran, Mormon, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Buddhist, Wicca, Urantia, Terasem, Atheism, and Agnosticism) discussed the similarities and differences between religion and Transhumanism. In addition, the mix of invitees was distinctly ecumenical in nature, and included atheists and even occultic groups such as Wicca.
Spiritualists have found that they can bypass the often slow and unpredictable transhumanist route of scientific/technological implants or devices. They instead use powerful occultic techniques to achieve what transhumanists are still just dreaming of, such as: astral projection, levitation, mind control, and transcendental meditation.
All are examples of techniques that harness the power of the human spirit, in partnership with demon spirits who encourage man to engage in these practices strictly forbidden by God in the scriptures (Deuteronomy 18: 9-14). The warnings given by God were meant to prevent His people from falling into the trap of Satanic possession and control, while in their quest to achieve power and blessings in sinful ways despite the willingness and ability of God to provide for them in righteous and safe ways. The demoniac of Gadara for example, had superhuman strength that could not even be restricted with chains (Mark 5:1-20), until Jesus set him free.
It appears that the time is coming when it will not be possible to naturally determine who is human, cyborg, robot, Nephilim, or incarnate spirit: perfect conditions for the darkness, deceptions and treacheries that will be visited upon the earth by the coming anti-Christ in these last days before the return of Jesus Christ.
The Quest For Immortality
by Ross Thompson
Transhumanism has some spotlight at present with the release of Johnny Depps new film, Transcendence. Critics are not giving it the thumbs up though and the spotlight may be short lived.
Transhumanism is the movement whose goal it is to beat death by transferring or uploading the human personality into a robotic brain and body. One of their authors, James Barrat, has gone so far as to say that transhumanism is inevitable and when the breakthrough comes it will be the end of the human era.
In the movie Transcendence Johnny Depp plays Dr Will Caster, a leading experimenter in the field of artificial intelligence. He is also the target of anti-technology terrorists. The terrorists do him a favor by mortally wounding him and giving him the chance to be the subject of his own experiments with the help of his assistants and his wife. Will Casters body dies but he lives on as an artificial intelligence, a virtual personality.
In the real world, Google has shown a big interest in the subject, spending not millions, but billions over recent years, acquiring any company that has shown promise in the artificial intelligence or related fields. In January of this year they spent $400 million to acquire the British firm, Deep Mind. The company has not released any products as yet and because of secrecy it is not really known what they are working on except that it is to do with artificial intelligence.
High profile Transhumanism theorist, Ray Kurzweil, joined Google in 2013 as Director of Engineering. Kurzweil who apparently takes 150 pills a day and has weekly injections of an array of body boosting substances in the hope of keeping himself alive and well until the future transhumanism breakthrough, says that his present role at Google is, ‘ultimately to base search on really understanding what language means.
When you write an article you are not just creating an interesting collection of words. The message in your article is information and the computers are not picking up on that. So we would like to have the computers read. We want them to be able to read everything on the Web and then engage in intelligent dialogue with the user and also be able to answer their questions’. The name tag given to this endeavour is natural language processing.
Here is a definition of the aims of transhumanism from a document put out by scientists working on the Blue Brain project, a continuing work attempting to put a simulated brain into a super computer:
“Today scientists are in research to create an artificial brain that can think, respond, take decisions and keep anything in memory. The main aim is to upload the human brain into a machine so that the man can think and make decisions without any effort. After the death of the body the artificial brain will act as the man. So even after death we will not lose the knowledge, intelligence, feelings, personality and memories of that man and they will still be available for the further development of human society”.
Barney Pell, an associate of Ray Kurzweil, who has worked in Robotics and is at present involved in artificial intelligence games development, viewed the movie, Transcendence, and in an interview afterwards was asked if he thought the technology in the movie was possible and how far off are we from it?
His reply: “For the core AI technology in the movie which is intelligence vastly superior to humans, I believe it is possible that we will have such intelligences. However the technology approach in the movie in the form of uploading a personality based on scanning a living brain is more of a concept than a specific technology. I don’t see anything close at present in the way of computational architecture in the scientific community today, much less an uploading approach compatible with such an architecture”.
How To Create A Mind, is Ray Kurzweils most recent book. In it he also admits that the reality is that these theorys are all leaps of faith, We don’t really know what consciousness is, what personal identity is, and thinking of the brain as a computer is a long way from understanding its function as a part of the human self.
Don’t hold your breath, is probably the best advice we could give to someone who is thinking of putting their hope in Transhumanism.