(Ir)Relevance of Transhumanity in a Strong AI Future

Fri, 23 Jan 1998 18:01:15 -0500

What relevance does transhumanity have in a future where the strong AI
hypothesis turns out to be true? The intuitive answers appears to be "very
little". To the extent that we can create artificial minds that are more
intelligent that the human mind, transhumanity would appear to have the same
significance in such a world as trans-raccoonism has today.

We do not discuss trans-raccoonism that much since even a transraccoon would
still be less intelligent than a human. Put another way, in terms of future
boundaries of possibilities it makes sense only to concentrate attention on the
group that would possess the highest level of intelligence. In a weak AI
future, that group very well could be transhumans. However, in a strong AI
world it appears highly probably that some nonhuman nonbiological group would
be at the top of the intelligence "heap".

A fair amount of discourse exists concerning what such ultra-intelligent
artificial minds would "do" with humans (or transhumans for that matter). Some
scenarios have humans being discarded but allowed to exist. The scenario I
consider more probable would be the eventual eclipse of humanity. This
scenario is based on several assumptions about the nature of superintellgient
nonhuman entities which I will not go into here.

I submit that such discourse is irrelevant. Does it matter what happens to
humanity in a strong AI future? The raccoon example serves as a useful
parallel. Is there significant (or any) discourse on the fate of raccoons (or
any nonhuman biological lifeform) in a transhuman future (regardless of the
variation)? Not that I am aware of. Why? Its irrelevant. What does it
matter what happens to raccoons in the future?

Following the consequences of a strong AI future leads me to believe that
transhumanity and the very fate of humanity (and transhumanity) will become
irrelevant. After a cursory review of this conclusion I do not see any way to
avoid this conclusion. We have moved from a geocentric to heliocentric to
baryonic to anthropic view of the universe. Our own universe may not even be
that big of a deal, one of a virtual infinity of universes. Now it seems, that
in a future where the strong AI hypothesis holds true, that humanity is
irrelevant. Though I would rather not sound melodramatic (maybe its too late
for that) it appears rueful that we would have the ability to fathom our own

I invite others views on such a future and ways in which humanity
(transhumanity) can maintain relevance. Then again, is "relevance" such a
noble goal in the first place?

Doug Bailey