-Chapter One-The Transhuman Project
Transhumanism appears to be a new concept. It is the idea of improving humanity through the use of science. Transhumanismadvocates the creation of artificial intelligences, virtual realities, lifeextension therapies, genetic engineering, and much more. Thecybernetic merge of man and machine is seen as the way to transcendhuman limitations and become "better than well." The officialtranshuman PR campaign now falls under the banner of H+, whichstands for Humanity Plus. This name alludes to all of thetechnological add-ons that transhumanists want to see developed toupgrade human bodies. They hope to use the decidedly human traitsof logic and reason to become something better than human. Their philosophy is explained as a direct outgrowth of the Enlightenment period in European history. H+ was formerly known as the WorldTranshumanist Association (WTA). In 1999 they wrote a declarationof sorts, which was improved upon over the years with newer versions. Version 2.1 of The
was published in2003, and it defines their movement as,
The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility anddesirability of fundamentally improving the human condition throughapplied reason, especially by developing and making widely availabletechnologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance humanintellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
Transhumanism comes off as a completely cutting edge, hightech, and new idea to most people, and why wouldn't it? Cyborgs,implants, and AI all hold futuristic appeal. It is easy to assume thattranshuman ideas are new, but such assumptions are wrong. The ideaof transhumanism has been around for a very long time. The desire totranscend human existence is ancient. Of course the transhumanists point to this fact in their FAQ as well. The history of rational thoughtis outlined and certain mythological figures are pointed to as the philosophical champions of their ideas. Prometheus, the demigodwho brought fire to men, is one of these figures. There is amonumental story lying within the thick of all this. It involves the
, section 1.1