The Biggest Worry About Transhumanism | Zoltan Istvan | Rise of the Cybergods

The Biggest Worry About Transhumanism | Zoltan Istvan

Lately, many mainstream media outlets have discovered transhumanism, but we’ve seen the largest number of articles appearing at The Huffington Post. Case in point, an opinion piece published in yesterday’s US edition. Take a few minutes to read it, as its author, Zoltan Istvan, poses some very interesting questions. Here’s one:

Despite the growing global acceptance of transhumanism, one major concern is repeatedly voiced by many people everywhere. The leading transhumanist science and technology is likely to come from large companies and elite universities, many of which are mostly controlled and administered by the uber-rich. It’s therefore natural to ask: Will the uber-rich — the wealthiest 1 percent of people on the planet — freely share with the rest of the world the transhumanist technology they develop?

Want to know more? Read the entire op-ed via The Biggest Worry About Transhumanism | Zoltan Istvan.


9 Comments

  • (Edited 5/23 to modify tone — initial comment was more blunt than it needed to be.)

    The final paragraph makes Istvan’s views clear:

    [P]eople continue to worry that technology and science that make our species more transhuman will be used to create a deeper divide in society for the haves and have-nots. Those worries are unfounded. A close examination of the issues show that transhumanist technology and science liberates us, brings us better health, and has improved the living standards of all people around the world. If you value liberty, equality and progress, it makes sense to embrace the coming age of transhumanism.

    That is an idealistic perspective. Did the rapid advances of technology in the 19th century inevitably lead to liberty, equality and progress for, say, African-Americans? Recalling that black males only counted as 3/5 of a man in the early days of our nation, what will happen when we create a new class of sub-human — those who refuse to be upgraded?

    • I’d say he is in the majority of those who espouse upgrading humanity, but what I found intriguing is that he brings up questions about inequality but then dismisses them as naive. I for one find it not only likely but a sure bet that any upgrades would be expensive, elitist, and divisive. Hugo DeGaris is onto something with his claim that the age of post-humanity will lead to three classes: AI machines, enhanced humans, and the rest of us. Guess who gets to do all the work? (Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos).

      • Technically, there will be absolutely no work for “humans” to do in that case.

        By the time a human equivalent AI exists, there will be ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for a normal human to do any longer.

        Any “work” such a person COULD have done would be done by a machine that doesn’t need food, time off, sleep, insurance, etc… Or being paid.

        This is the most dangerous aspect of the advance of current technologies.

        And, admitted, it is one of my goals. I want to put EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON EARTH out of work (including the rich).

        And by “work” I am referring specifically to “laboring for a living” (earning money specifically to support one’s self).

        People should be free to pursue their passions. Having to labor for one’s “daily bread” violates the basic right to life.

        On the more numerous (but less vocal) techno progressive side of Transhumanism, we want to see humanity liberated from labor, so that “work” will mean producing things that enrich one’s life, and the lives of others. “Work” would be something you do because you want to do it, and not because you will starve, become homeless, and have no insurance if you do not work.

        Zoltan is technically in the minority. He just belongs to a more vocal faction who has rather myopic and unreflective ideologies than the rest of us.

    • You’re most welcome, Zoltan! While we may not agree on all matters, both Derek and I applaud people who think outside the box. We’re reading your Transhumanist Wager novel right now in fact. If you’d like to present your side of the debate in a fair interview (Derek is always careful never to ambush anyone!), I know he’d be delighted to have you as a guest. Just let us know, and we’ll be in touch!

  • I am friends with most of the people in the Transhumanist Community, and used to be friends with even more of them, until I finally came out as staunchly opposed to the Libertarian, and Reactionary beliefs and ideologies of the louder members of that community.

    They are the ones who are making most of the noise about it, and in every case, these people are simply sycophantic suck-ups to the wealthy and powerful people in the tech industry, thinking that they will get to become the vassals to these powerful patrons.

    The technologies they point to are very real, and there are very real dangers to inequal access.

    But the Libertarian utopia isn’t likely to materialize, EVER.

    We will either get a progressive society, or we will slide backwards into a techno-feudal reactionary civilization that will probably send humanity into extinction in its short sighted ness.

    Fortunate, most of the scientists (hello there) who are researching many of the technologies that Transhumanists slaver over happen to be fairly progressive people who understand the dangers in a world where a rigid class structure exists, and they are mostly working to prevent such a thing from happening (Science is great in that it works every time. It can just take a while, though).

  • Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for reading my book and for the nice comments. Sure, I’d welcome to be on your show and discuss the issues with Derek. I’m amicable and conversations are always interesting and entertaining. Please feel free to email me about the details at: zoltan@transhumanistwager.com

    Thanks and looking forward to it. Cheers, Zoltan Istvan

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