In today’s day and age, we live within humankind’s apex of development. This moment, right now as you read these words, is the most advanced state (in general, for the developed world at least, or collectively as a whole if you will) that the human race has ever been known to exist in, both technologically and population-wise. This is unique in that it has not always been the case throughout history. Countless civilizations and peoples of the past have come and gone through their own respective times that were, relatively speaking, “behind” in comparison to civilizations that either existed before them (somewhat surprisingly I suppose), or at least at the same time in a different part of the world. An example would be the Roman Empire in its prime, which functioned at a greater level of sophistication than societies that came hundreds of years after in many other parts of the world, such as Medieval Europe, Aboriginal Australia, or Native America. Today however, the only relative disparities we see between the complexity of different societies, seems to be mainly geography based. But we are all sharing the same time right now in 2015, and the modern developed world is the most advanced paradigm of existence that humankind has ever known. And so the time that we are living in, the present moment, is unique in this way.
Given this fact, one might naturally feel inclined to try and envision what the future of the human species holds, given the unique nature of our circumstances. We do after all, seem to have the best view, given these circumstances. How does being as advanced as we have ever been, affect the way that we head into the future? One organization that boldly addresses this question, is Humanity+. This aim of Humanity+ is to support and encourage technology’s ability to enrich the human condition. This mission is referred to as the transhumanist movement. It might be the boldest concept ever conceived of by the human race, especially when you take a closer look at the implications.
Transhumanism asserts that it is within humanity’s control to fundamentally alter the conditions of its existence through technology. The examples you could provide for this assertion are countless. The levels of definition, extremely varied. Examples include using nano-technology in the form of microscopic robots to counter diseases and viruses within the human body. Augmenting people with implants that give them superior reflexes, or enhanced vision. Drastic life-extension through the use of advanced treatments, pharmaceutical drugs, cell therapies, etc. Perhaps even immortality is attainable, which I’m sure would have appeal for many or most people.
And so you can see that the implications are huge, even with these few examples off the top of my head. Technological advancement will eventually allow and encourage humanity to achieve interplanetary travel, colonization of other planets, and the creation of new worlds to live in.
It has been referred to by some as the world’s most dangerous idea, and to the contrary by others, as the epitome of human aspiration. I see truth in both views. The danger of the idea is an entirely subjective and relative definition. I am however, of the opinion that there can be no greater undertaking by our species than to have the power to define what it means to be human. To control the terms under which we experience reality. To have complete control of our destiny.
To be continued…