Biotechnology

Transhuman Wrap: Come for the Little-Kicks Dance, Stay for the Toe Shoes

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Futurist John Smart is wrapping up the Humanity + Summit by noting that human enhancement believers are too focused on pie-in-the sky visions. Instead of making weird flying-car predictions about the far future, transhumanoids should be pointing to contemporary advances. He may be right, but if anything, this conference was low on mind-blowing visions and outrageous body modifications. And it was entirely devoid of people in borg-style wearables.

The reason for this more plain look for the transhumanists may be strategic. Ken "R.U. Sirius" Goffman pointed out yesterday that metaverse residents are going for more vanilla personal styles generally, and there have been many references to the mainstreaming of out-there human enhancement ideas. There isn't a lot of pressure to rock a science fiction style because we're already in a science fiction age.

The downside of kinder, gentler transhumanism is that it's less conducive to bold new personal looks. To be sure, the Rasputin beard remains ascendent:

Rasputin beards on Aubrey de Gray (l) and Todd Huffman (r)

Experienced transhumanists will recognize mad monks Aubrey de Gray at left and Todd Huffman at right. By the way, Huffman has at least one magnet implanted in one of his fingertips. Three out of three women I polled found that hot.

Another much needed enhancement that went suspiciously undiscussed at the conference: Leg enhancers that will prevent people from doing the Elaine Baenaes dance:

Nerds on the dance floor.

Strangely, at this collection of bleeding age pioneers, one of the big attractions at the party was a game that looks like something for people who can't handle Ms. Pac-Man:

I am Sinistar! Run, coward!

In fact the most daring statement at the summit was the Vibram toe shoes, which were very popular:

Stop the planet of the apes, I want to get off.

I don't know enough about transhumanism to say whether the movement is at any kind of crossroads, but I was struck by how modest the claims were at this event — in addition to all the calls for empathy, which I referred to yesterday. Toe shoes seem useful and ergonomic, but don't these things just beg for a new breed of humans with opposable big toes? If there are transhumanists out there calling for human antennae, wings, pineal gland enhancers and the like, they don't seem to have been in Irvine this weekend.