Transvision 2001, June 22-24, Berlin

From: Frank Prengel (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 07:32:06 MDT


Berlin, June 22 to 24, 2001
Novotel Berlin Airport, Kurt Schumacher Damm 202, Berlin

Dear fellow transhumanists,

the German Transhumanist Association (De:Trans) is proud to announce
TransVision 2001, the fourth European conference on Transhumanism.

The program will consist of talks about various topics related to
Transhumanism. A list of speakers and abstracts may be found below.
There will also be time for the informal get-togethers that have made
the previous TransVisions so enjoyable, allowing Transhumanists from
over Europe to exchange ideas, views and far-flung speculations. The
conference will begin with a dinner on Friday evening. The talks and
presentations will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Wrap-up and
departure will be on Sunday afternoon. Full board and lodging are


The standard conference fee, including accommodation and food, is 320
Euros. Early registrants whose applications are received by April 30,
2001, only pay the reduced fee of 300 Euros. Please note that in order
to be able to grant the reduced fee, we except your payment by May 5.
have booked a limited number of rooms at the hotel; please register
early to secure accommodation. The rooms are on hold until the 1st of
June; after this date, it becomes likely that we will not be able to
accommodate you at the conference hotel.

There is also the possibility of staying at a youth hostel at a
fee. Please see the web site for details. Further options, for example
for staying an additional night from Sunday to Monday, are also


The following speakers have been confirmed for the conference:

* Anders Sandberg: Morphological Freedom: why we not just want it, but
  need it
* Ozan Cakmakci: Towards truly wearable computing: fiber computing
* Joao Pedro de Magalhaes: On Aging
* Klaus Sames: Aging by organ structure?
* Nick Bostrom: On Extinction Probability of Humanity
* Torsten Nahm: Why Memetics must fail
* R. Maxwell Borders: Harvesting Online Societies for Political
* Rolf Sommer: A German Cryonics Project
* Brian Manning Delaney: Beyond Humanism And Transhumanism: Prelude
  to a Philosophy of the Future.

There will also be a plenary session with reports of Transhumanist
activities from participating European countries as well as a report
from Extro 5.

Abstracts for the talks may be found at the end of this message.


Further information as well as a form for registering for the
can be found at the conference web-site at Inquiries can be

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Berlin,

the members of De:Trans


Short abstracts for the talks follow. For the talks marked by an
asterisk, an extended version of the abstract is available at the
conference web site at

Anders Sandberg
Morphological Freedom: why we not just want it, but need it

Surprisingly often, personal freedoms are circumscribed when it comes
the freedom of modifying or owning one's body. I take a look at the
current views on morphological freedom, where technology and culture
leading us and discuss whether democracies can afford not to support
far-reaching morphological freedom.

Ozan Cakmakci
Towards truly wearable computing: fiber computing

A wide variety of everyday objects consist of textile fibers (clothes,
wall paper, chairs). Their primary purpose is structural and
Fibers can have added functions by the integration of computing power
into the material that forms them. The purpose of the FiCom project is
to integrate this new dimension of functionality into fibers, thus
everyday objects into artefacts. Initial step is selection of
and development of fibers. Into the microstructure of selected fibers,
the basic unit of computation, the transistor will be implemented.
is done by doping of individual grains within the microstructure which
results in junctions necessary for making a transistor. Central
processing units as well as sensors and memory could be integrated
within one fiber by the interconnection of transistors. Computing
can be interwoven into everyday objects to create artefacts which
be interconnected with each other.

Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
On Ageing *

Ageing is the greatest obstacle to transhumanists. The talk will
several topics concerning ageing, from non-ageing species to the most
important theories attempting to explain human ageing -- e.g. the
telomeres and oxidative stress. Finally, I will give an overview of
presently available anti-ageing therapies and of what to expect in the
next decades.

Klaus Sames
Aging by organ structure?

While some simple organisms are able to live without age related
changes, differentiated multicellular organs form complicated
and maintain high specific performance on the cost of regenerative
processes. The study of organ structure is able to reveal such
limitations of regenerative processes. We hypothesize that an
mortal state of high developed multicellular organisms has multiple
organ specific causes. This implies that the realization of the
program of organ development at the same time produces organ specific
causes limiting the life span. Such causes hamper cell metabolism and
cell replacement and lead to steadily increasing cell losses producing
further adverse changes modulated by the exogenous and endogenous
influences suggested by a number of “theories of aging” like radicals,
high temperature, toxic substances, metabolic errors or expression of
adverse genes etc.

Nick Bostrom
How Things Could Go Horribly Wrong

Because of the accelerating pace of technological progress, humankind
may be rapidly approaching a critical phase in its career. The
of nanotech systems and machine intelligence contain unprecedented
opportunities and risks. The nature of humanity's future, and whether
will have a future at all, may well be determined by how these
transforming technologies are managed. A better understanding of the
transition dynamics from a human to a posthuman society is necessary
we are to develop strategies that maximize the probability of a
favorable outcome. It is of particular importance to know where the
pitfalls are: the ways in which things could go disastrously wrong.
paper attempts a classification of existential risks and threats that
could adversely affect the course of human civilization for all time
come. Some of these existential threats are well known among people
study the consequences of radically transforming technologies. Others
have hitherto gone unrecognized and it is argued that some of the
gravest threats are in this category. Being clearer about the threat
picture will enable us to formulate better strategies, and a final
section discusses some policy implications.

Torsten Nahm
Why Memetics must fail

Darwinism has established itself as a powerful method for
biological phenomena. Since the properties of systems required for
Darwinistic evolution to occur are simple, there have been several
efforts to apply Darwinism in other areas; one of these areas is
Memetics, and the concept of memes is widely known and appreciated by
Transhumanists. There have also been international conferences with
goal of establishing a scientific foundation for Memetics. In this
I will try to show why Memetics as a science must fail, that is, why
Memetics cannot be successful for explaining what ideas are retained
a human mind and how these ideas spread in human populations.

R. Maxwell Borders
Harvesting Online Societies for Political Economy *

I think that Massively Multi-user Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)
will soon evolve into Online Societies of political and economic
interest. Studying Online Societies will require a methodology that
balances observation, theory, and application. This talk outlines
a methodology. First I examine the nature of theory itself
(meta-theory), including holism (a meta-theory about systematic
interconnections between beliefs) and reflective equilibrium (a
meta-theory on the recursive nature of theory and information). Next
determine starting points for our studies. We appeal to the
of "spontaneous orders," orders that are not designed but rather
from the behavior of agents in a simulation, and which proceed from
simple, normative, non-teleological rules. Lastly I examine the
character of those rules. I look to where morality and rational
converge (Minimax Relative Concession (MRC) due to Gauthier) and
guidelines for designing rules. Time permitting, I will further
the basic nature of the Online Society, as well as a conception of the
player-characters who will comprise them.

Rolf A. Sommer
A German Cryonics Project

In our talk we will outline the technical and legal aspects involved
building a German cryonics facility. Our refrigeration technology
company, Sommer & Gölbert, is currently building the technical
infrastructure for such a project. We will soon be able to offer
suspension units and necessary technical service. Having acquired a
mortician's company recently, it is also guaranteed that the critical
time immediately after deanimation is covered legally and that we have
access to the patient from death on. We will also discuss problems of
area-wide logistics und temporary storage of patients abroad.

Our talk will show that is is possible today to build a cryonics
institution in Germany or Europe which is profitable. The latter fact,
as often, is a strong driver of progress also in the case of cryonics.

Brian Manning Delaney
Beyond Humanism And Transhumanism *

Beyond Humanism And Transhumanism: Prelude to a Philosophy of the

What is called "humanism" today is but a thin, reactionary shell of
was once a bold, innovative tradition in Western thought. In this
I shall 1) try to bring to light the forgotten history of humanism; 2)
show that an examination of the category itself of the "human"
presupposed in Renaissance humanism is broad enough that it may
have included the goal of what we call the "trans-" or "post-" human;
and, finally 3) argue that when we see the continuities between
Renaissance humanism and transhumanism, we might be able to move
the opposition itself, and that this might constitute the most
critique of the contemporary, Luddite form of humanism manifest in
recent technophobic writings.

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