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Declare Your Independence...from Evolution! Here Comes The Singularity and Transhumanism

RU Sirius and Jay Cornell have literally written the book on what's coming next in self-directed evolution.

Independence Day weekend seems like a good time to push the envelope on what is possible for human beings to achieve. Hell, if a rag-tag band of colonists could kick the mighty Brits' butts so long ago, how hard can it be for today's people to live to 150, use 3D printers to create new organs, and develop superpowers?

Earlier this year, Reason talked with RU Sirius (a.k.a. Ke Goffman) and Jay Cornell, the authors of the Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. Click above to watch Zach Weissmueller's Q&A with them or go here to watch with text and links.

I also did a lengthy interview with Cornell and Sirius too, which is online here.

From the intro:

In Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity, authors R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell don't simply map the history and future of everything from cancer-curing nanobots to 200-year lifespans to the outer reaches of the inner mind. They also bring a great deal of humor and warmth to transhumanism, or radical, self-directed human evolution, that typically conjures up images of people with giant heads wearing white jumpsuits in a sterile, passionless future. 

Sirius and Cornell worked together at H+ magazine and have long and varied histories in various countercultural and tech movements. Sirius was one of the creators of the acclaimed Mondo 2000 which, along with Wired, helped define "cyberculture" in the early 1990s and stretch the limits of magazine design and content. He also collaborated frequently with Timothy Leary, most fully on 1997's Design for Dying. Cornell is aweb developer by trade and, prior to H+, worked on Gnosis magazine. He may be the only transhumanist to openly acknowledge his debt to Eleanor Cameron's incredible 1954 book The Wonderful Trip to the Mushroom Planet, the first in a series of kids' novels that are arguably more mind-blowing than the entire Philip K. Dick oeuvre.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Reason's Nick Gillespie, they explain what "the singularity" might look like, why they're not overly concerned with robots taking all the good jobs, why having your parents live to be 150 won't necessarily be an ordeal, and why now more than ever transhumanists and singulatarians need to get "a sense of humor." 

Click here to read the full article.

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  • AlmightyJB||

    Half-man, half-woodchipper.

  • Almanian - Wood Chipper-ish||

    We can rebuild him...make him better than he was.

    "The Six Million Dollar Chipperborg"

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Carbon based life is just the normal evolutionary step in getting to silicon based life.

  • Almanian - Wood Chipper-ish||

    So fake boobs are heaven?

    I'm OK with that, but a lotta guys are NOT gonna be happy about this....

  • Lady Dalrymple||

    Most trans-human enthusiasts are socially awkward Aspies hoping to get laid or evolve into something like this.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Link did not work... Not for me, at the very least. Please take a look... Lemme try Google Chrome, maybe it is a Microsoft thing...

  • But Enough About Me||

    The link was supposed to be this:

    http://news.discovery.com/anim.....150630.htm

  • DEG||

    I am one that is not happy with fake boobs.

  • SQRLSY One||

    We aim to please, Sir... Will genetically engineered boobs be "fake" in your mind, or will they be OK? How about if we double your pleasure, whilst genetically engineering them, will that be OK with Sir?

    See … http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0310/S00003.htm ...

  • Theoretical Bi Irish||

    I'm really looking forward to all the moral panics related to transhumanism. I wonder who will be the first politician to say "But aren't we playing God?" or "THIS IS UNNATURAL."

  • ||

    As fans of sci-fi know, religion vs. advanced-science is a common theme. And for good reason: technology gives us the chance to fundamentally alter our nature/god-given bodies. Depending on your POV, this is either a miracle, or an abomination.

    Advancing pre- and early-natal medicine promises to further muddy the line between "ball of cells" and "viable human", so the abortion debate is going nowhere fast. Transhumanism will to do the same for the broader concept of self-ownership.

    Interesting times.

  • OldMexican||

    But can he bake a cake for a couple of gay fascists? Ah, now that's a feat to behold!

  • Theoretical Bi Irish||

    OT: Michael Ian Black said the following on Twitter:

    "Sure, America is an overstuffed empirical bully flapping its tumescent ding-dong at the rest of the world, but it's home. Happy 4th."

    I don't think that Michael Ian Black understands what the word 'empirical' means. Hint: It has nothing to do with empires, since the proper word related to empires is 'imperial.'

    I like when stupid people try to use esoteric words.

  • SQRLSY One||

    You didn't give me no trigger warning!!!

    I resemble your imperial remarks!

    Also please refrain from engendering obfuscation detained from the excessive utilization of superfluous and super-fluid articulations and hyperbolas!

  • Lady Dalrymple||

    Now, now, on behalf of stupid people everywhere including Black, I'm pointing out that 'tumescent' is used appropriately, so two out of three ain't bad. Although, 'overstuffed' is an odd choice. Why not obese, flabby or corpulent if he means to say fat?

  • Quincy chips in||

    America is an overstuffed empirical bully

    Well, Americans are obsessed with polls, so empirical is not so far off. I blame Milennials.

  • Tejicano||

    It's always about the patriarchy with you, isn't it?

  • Quincy chips in||

    Nah, I just think Emily Ekins is kinda cute. So, yes.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hey Y’all…
    Ah haz taken it upon mahself, to SOLVE all of the world’s troubles tonight, ESPECIALLY with regards to “transhumanism” v/s “God’s Will” or “Gaia’s Will” or “Nature’s Swill” with regards to improved humans, genetic defects, genes, DNA, and human meddling, in such matters… Read and heed…
    Ah haz taken an appropriate dose of LSD… Lest ye be a-scared of such hippie-befestered matters, let me assure ye, it was (VERY Conservative, straight-laced) LDS-Blessed LSD, LDS being Latter-Day-Saints… They, the Moron Church (lubricated by sufficient donations$$$) have Blessed my LSD; hence, LDS, LSD… Ah HAZ imbibed, and ah HAZ “channeled the Spirits”!!! So read on, ye faithful Reasonoids, about that them thar LDS-LSD fueled visions of mine…

  • SQRLSY One||

    First off, ah talked to Ooioog Thaag, from circa 60,000 years ago. He told me, in HIS day, when men were men, and sheep (and baby whooly rhinos, and just about any other warm-blooded mammal on the planet) were afraid… In HIS day, if ye ate some meat, and some it got stuck in yer teeth, some of the hipsters in his day, they were using blades of grass to pick meat out of the gaps between their toofers. The squares of his day? They said that such things violated the Will of the Sacred Jungle Ooooga Booooga!!! Ooioog Thaag, ah sez to him, whaddaya think of the hipsters of MY day, who worship nature, and hate human smarts? … He was astounded. Ah had to explain in great detail. He sez to me, “Tell yer hipsters, if they don’t like their climate-controlled houses and their soft beds, go sleep naked in yer back yards, in the grass, and let the bugs bite yer butts.” (Ah thinks he mightta been channeling P. J. O’Rourke in turn, butt who knows!!?!?).

  • SQRLSY One||

    Also, Ooioog Thaag told me that SOME of the ape-men in his day, they looked far-far into the future, and they saw the likes of ME and my fellows, as being the totally un-natural, Satan-spawned offspring of such “non-blessed-by-the-Sacred-Jungle-Ooooga-Booooga” things as blades of grass for meat-between-the-teeth-cleaning… We shall NOT speak here, of the utter horrors of tooth brushes and tooth paste… And they react in utter horror! The troglodytes of Ooioog Thaag’s day, they look to us, in their far future, and they say. “PLEASE, fer the Sake of the Sacred-Jungle-Ooooga-Booooga, will y’ll PLEASE, and PRONTO, start a crash program to back-breed yerselves with the chimpanzees, and git yerselves all properly back-bred to the Sacred State of Nature??!! When y’all were Pure and Innocent, like the Sacred Chimps?!?!? Y’all get MOVIN’, now, on that back-breeding, OK??!?!!”

  • SQRLSY One||

    Then ah turns mah tin-foil hat the other way… While taking mah LDS-blessed LSD… And ah channels Human-Cyborg Hybrid BR-549… Henceforth known fer short as HCH-BR-549… From the far future... An’ ah asks him. “What about that them thar stuff-an’-stuff? Ah means, about that them thar stuff-an’-stuff about that them thar genetic modifications? An’ HCH-BR-549, he says to me, “SQRSLY One, don’t sweat the small stuff. In our day, we are WISE, far more wise than your ways of knowing. The troglodytes and the primitives? Those who do NOT believe in genetic manipulation and cyborgs and so forth? We keep them in zoos, just like you kept the chimps. We still keep the chimps in zoos, as well. Just in case, ya know. Cover all the bases… We do not torture them, just as you tried not to torture the chimps, in your day, either. But we do not bullshit ourselves… There are NO virtues in defectiveness! Onwards and upwards, you know… You have a BLESSED future! Go and claim it, it is your birthright!”

  • Jay Dubya||

    An Agile Cyborg, by any other name, would still be as obnoxious ...

  • PapayaSF||

    Attention Bay Area H&R readers! There will be a one-day transhumanism event on July 12th in Oakland, and will include the authors of the book above. I'll be there, too.

  • Jay Dubya||

    MONDO 2000 was rad.

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