Re: Heresy

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 11:17:07 MDT

"" wrote:
> From: Samantha Atkins
> >
> > There are not any transhumans yet but many who aspire to be so.
> Samantha, I'm only responding because I enjoy reading your posts and
> your above-statement is not correct... a transhuman is a human in
> transition from being exclusively a biological being to merging with
> technology on our way to becoming posthuman. Herein, a person who ha
> any sort of upgrade or implant is basically a transhuman.

I agree with Samantha's usage. "Transhumanity" takes more than contact
lenses; it requires a physical or mental improvement beyond the
capabilities of even the most trained and gifted humans. Arguably someone
with an adaptive-optics super-LASIK eye improvement to 20/7 vision is
physically transhuman in a very minor way, but I can't think of anything
else offhand that would qualify. Even the super-LASIK would be excluded
if we require a qualitative rather than quantitative improvement - i.e.,
that the improvement open up new activities or possibilities relative to
the previous human experience.

I should also note that my basic viewpoint is that we should be as
conservative as possible in applying the loaded and powerful word

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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