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Behold! I have arrived!
In case there's a deadline on the homework here are some answers to the questions Smile

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: In your words, what is transhumanism, and what does it mean to you?

Transhumanism doesn't really mean much to me to be honest and I wouldn't describe myself as one. In literature transhumanism is the exploration of the human condition by assuming technology can be used to alter mind and body at a population level (this makes it distinct from something like Superhero fiction, where the transhumans are explicitly rare).

As a political or philosophical movement I see little need for it. The default for human society has always been to use technology to improve the human condition, including our bodies. I expect the term will die out if we ever get the kind of quick, reliable, and significant body modification technologies transhumanist fiction writes about.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: Are there any misconceptions that the public has about transhumanists?[/qute]

I very much doubt that if you ran a public poll most people would even recognise the word. Transhumanists are not a large political movement and transhumanist fiction isn't as popular as it once was. I would say there aren't any misconceptions due to there not being any general conceptions.

[quote="TerranGames" pid="67931" dateline="1652933626"]What drew you into transhumanism, and sci-fi in general?

I always liked science fiction as a kid, what got me hooked into the transhumanist genre was Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. It was so different to the science fiction I was used to. Often science fiction is just history with a paint job (Star Wars is great, but the original films were basically western/WW2 films in space) but the book introduced so many ideas of technologies that could make society radically different. Thinking about questions like "what does money look like if work is automated" and "if your mind can be copied what does that say about identity" really drew me in.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: How has being a transhumanist affected you, as a person?

I wouldn't call myself a transhumanist as I don't see the need to define myself as one. It's a genre I quite enjoy, but as a philosophy/political movement I find it rather basic and unnecessary.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: Some people believe that transhumanism is "unnatural," and that we shouldn't mess with the way we were created, how do you respond to that?

Is a hut natural? What about a wooden hand tool? A suit of armour?

Animals make and use all of these. I have a background in biology and it saddens me somewhat how widespread the view is that humans are divorced from nature. This linguistic separation costs us something I think. We fail to see that many of our tool using traits are found in many animal species. None may have the language or tool using skills to build industrial civilisation, but that's a question of scale.

The argument of "X is unnatural" is rarely coherent. Is a house natural? How about surgery to install a pacemaker? Is this method of socialisation using computers natural? The fact is humans mess with the way we were "created" all the time, it's a natural thing about being human.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: How did transhumanism begin, as a movement, and are there any important works or authors I should read about?

I'd say these are two different questions. Transhumanism doesn't really exist as a movement, at least not in any significant sense. Back in the 90s and 00s there were lots of online groups that clustered around it as an identity (like the Extropians) but less so now.

In terms of important works I would say Vernor Vinge. His works solidified a lot of the tropes of transhumanism, which allowed it to become a distinct subgenre. I would also recommend Blindsight by Peter Watts as it's often held up as a fantastic modern work of transhumanist fiction.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: Why do you think people become transhumanists?

I don't, I expect the word will die out as most niche genre terms do. If you're asking if I believe humans will pursue elective modifications on themselves if the technology is safe and reliable then yes I definitely do.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: Why do you think many people are strongly opposed to it?

Are they? I don't think they are. Obviously you get local issues. In the United States research can be heavily curtailed according to religious pressure for example, but I don't think people are strongly opposed to the idea of technologies that change/enhance their bodies. Gym memberships and laser eye surgery wouldn't be so common if they were.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: If you could get one piece of technology from OA tomorrow, any technology, what would it be and why?

Hmm hard question. I'd probably be boring and say fusion, or self replicating solar panels.

(05-19-2022, 02:13 PM)TerranGames Wrote: How well do you think OA predicts the future, and are there any specific things you disagree with?

We've never intended it to predict the future, and science fiction generally shouldn't be thought of as future prediction. If only because it's never right! I doubt the future will be anything like OA. Whatever it turns out to be I have no idea.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!

Messages In This Thread
Behold! I have arrived! - by TerranGames - 05-19-2022, 02:13 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Worldtree - 05-19-2022, 08:11 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Worldtree - 05-19-2022, 11:50 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Rynn - 05-19-2022, 09:54 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Drashner1 - 05-19-2022, 11:55 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Worldtree - 05-20-2022, 09:32 AM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by Rynn - 05-20-2022, 06:55 PM
RE: Behold! I have arrived! - by MacGregor - 05-27-2022, 03:43 AM

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