Re: A good short honest FAQ but very bad PR

Scott Badger (
Mon, 6 Jul 1998 07:02:51 -0500

On Sun, 5 Jul 1998, John K Clark wrote:

> >2. Won't transhuman technologies make us inhuman?
> Possibly inhuman certainly unhuman.

This question occurred to me as well. If the questioner means *Will we become inhumane?*, I have to ask *Inhumane to who?* I imagine there will be a sizable segment of the society that will turn down the opportunity to transmogrify (real word?) into a posthuman. How much compassion will we have for these humans once we've evolved? Well, if it ends up being as big of an evolutionary leap as I expect it to be, we probably won't act in an inhumane way toward them as much as we will simply be disinterested. How much compassion does the average human currently display for apes? Yes, we protect them and study them and are even occassionally entertained by them, but by in large we're just too engaged in human activities to be very interested in what they're doing.

If the questioner means *Will we become inhumane to each other?* . . . hmmm. I think it more likely that we will become posthumane. I believe that transhumans will communicate on levels beyond most people's imagination. With better communication will come better understanding which leads to greater empathy and compassion.

> >3. Isn't death part of the natural order of things?
> Yes and nature sucks.

I think it would be more persuasive to point out that for many organisms on the planet, death is not a natural thing at all (e.g. cancer cells, amoeba ...I think). Death has certainly been instrumental for the purposes of natural selection (I know, I know...natural selection *has* no purpose), but we're no longer obeying the laws of natural selection anyway (are we?). Point to the growing opinion among those doing research in the field that aging appears to be encoded at the cellular level and it's likely we will eventually find the means to gain control over the internal clock.

> >4. Won't extended lifespans cause overpopulation problems?
> Probably not.

Probably will. If I know human beings, we won't solve this problem until we absolutely have to. The thing is, this is going to be a problem we're going to have to face with or without transhumanism. It's just a matter of the time scale.

> >5. Will only the rich and powerful have access to augmentation?
> Nobody knows.