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The Future of the Human Species

Think Christianly: The Future of the Human Species

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Future of the Human Species

"If a number of pundits are correct, we have already taken some initial steps toward creating a posthuman future. The goal of this project is nothing less than the perfection of the human species. Specifically, human performance will be enhanced and longevity extended through anticipated advances in pharmacology, biotechnology, and bionics. Drugs, for example, can lessen the need for sleep; genetic engineering will slow the aging process; artificial limbs will enhance strength and agility; and brain implants will enhance the speed of interacting with computers. The cyborg becomes the next stage of human evolution. Some visionaries foresee a day when, with the aid of artificial intelligence and robotics, endless lives might be achieved. The underlying binary information constituting one’s personality would be uploaded into a computer and then downloaded into robotic bodies or virtual reality programs. With sufficient and reliable memory storage, the process could, in principle, be repeated indefinitely, thereby achieving virtual immortality. In the posthuman future, humans become self-perfected artifacts by blurring, if not eliminating, the line separating the natural from the artificial.

The promise of the posthuman project is the creation of beings that live healthy, productive, and happy lives, and most importantly beings that live for very long time—perhaps forever. The ultimate promise is immortality. The accompanying peril, however, is that the cost is exorbitant. The price of perfecting humankind is its destruction, for in becoming posthuman humans cease being human. The peril of the posthuman project, in short, is that its optimism disguises an underlying death-wish for the human species.

One might be tempted to object that any worry about this peril is misplaced. The peril presupposes a promise that is far from certain. Few, if any, of the requisite technological advances have yet been achieved, and the likelihood of dramatic breakthroughs any time soon is slim at best. A so-called posthuman future is based on science fiction, not science. Consequently, time should not be wasted worrying about a peril that might, but probably will never present itself.

There are two reasons why this temptation...."by Brent Waters (More)

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