It seems like, finally, we have gotten to the core of Dales criticism…. Most transhumanists thinks of AI as one of the tools that may be usable for creating a better future, just like nanotechnology, ”drextech”, mind uploading, genetics, cryonics, etc. These technologies can be criticised, and who knows, maybe none of them will ever bring the results wished for by transhumanists. That would, indeed, be a hard blow in the face of the transhumanists, but it would not hit transhumanism at its core….
Honestly, what does it mean to say that AI or Drextech or cryonics are "tools… for creating a better future"? What does it mean to say "these technologies can be criticized"? There are no tools here to be used, there are no technologies to be criticized. None of this actually exists. Hyperbolic extrapolations from ill-digested results in labs do not constitute actual technologies, nor does discussing them endlessly to the exclusion of actually-existing tools and techniques constitute science, somehow, nor policy deliberation. Nor is it even philosophy, properly so-called, which isn't about "prophetic utterances" but about understanding what is happening and assigning significance to what has happened. The force of references to these non-existent hyperbolizations derives from the rhetorical strategies on which they rely, their citations and elaborations of well-worn figures, frames, narratives, topoi, and so on.
Transhumanism is a Humanism! It is a wish for the preservation of human values for as long as possible. It is a wish for mankind’s flourishing in a universe full of dangers. It is a wish for the end of all the unnecessary misery going on earth anno 2009.
I really can’t agree that this is what transhumanism amounts to at all, nor do I agree that I am saying anything like what you seem to be attributing to me, although I think you may be honestly trying to understand me on terms that are more familiar to you. Still, I am rather flabbergasted that you have managed to ignore pretty much both everything transhumanists themselves explicitly say (they endlessly pine after post-humanity, after all, the overcoming all limits, man! and so on) as well as everything I explicitly say when I oppose superlative futurology so as to advocate instead straightforward technoscientifically literate, well-regulated, well-funded equitably distributed progress in the midst of a lifeway diversity of peers engaging in actually informed, nonduressed consensual prosthetic self-determination (which is, when all is said and done, a kinda sorta boring secular democratic humanist project, which is why some have accused me here of defending stasis, presumably).
It is, as a wise man once said, simplified humanism.
I don’t happen to agree that the man who said “transhumanism is simplified humanism” was the least bit wise, in fact I think he is something of a charlatan (I daresay he thinks the same of me, and in this room he’ll find a lot of company in that assessment), but one of the reasons I think he is not at all wise is because while it may be true in a way to describe the hollowing out of human experience and then the wished-for amplification of the mutilated remains as a kind of “simplification,” there are better words on offer that the actually wise would use to describe such a devastatingly wrongheaded vision.
In the absence of gods, angels, demons, and magical aliens in UFOs, one must turn the hopes to science and technology. And that is exactly what the transhumanists have done.
Neither do I agree that in the absence of god or aliens or magical UFOs that one must turn to faith-based misconstruals and wish-fulfillment fantasies of technodevelopment. Indeed, I think that when we grow up and grow out of foolish faiths we turn to the worldly diversity of our fellows, to the extent that they are open to collaboration and contestation as peers… not as priests, not as moralizers, not as fundamentalists, not as avatars of future beings not “yet” among us, but as peers.
I would like to see Dales ”ideologiekritk” directed at this, the core of the ”ideologie” in question here. It is, after all, a little too easy to criticise not-existing technologies, one of their major faults is their lack of existence.
Indeed. That is a fault. As for the deeper critique, I have offered up a suggestion of it in this very post. It's not like I don't say this sort of thing endlessly already anyway.