[T]his is what transhumanism is all about: we refuse to accept unwanted features of the bodies we were born with, and want to take control and do something about it. What? When? This is still very much on the drawing board, but we want to do our fucking best.
Now Dale, you will probably logorrhoically scream that it is not the same thing, but the fact remains that it IS the same thing.
As usual, you mingle the vacuous with the impossible -- as the transhumanists and the rest of the Robot Cultists and corporate-militarist futurologies more generally always do -- and you rely on the vacuous to enable or to sell your delusive desire for the impossible.
That technique can remedy disease and ameliorate toil and facilitate imagined ends is true but vacuous, inasmuch as there is nobody denying it. Nobody in the world needs to join a Robot Cult to find their way to that insight.
That human beings take up the world in which they are born and interrupt the streams of that world's efforts and attainments and invest them with their own measure of aspiration and in so doing re-make themselves is just culture, it's just agency, it's just history. The Robot Cultists and corporate-militarist futurologists haven't "discovered" or "invented" this, everybody knows this already. They might describe it differently than I have just now, everybody has different words for these basic experiences and connections, but it is another vacuity.
But culture isn't deification -- technoscience will never purchase omni-predication, omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence -- and never will some robotic deployment of superlative technique deliver the secularized analogues to the already endlessly incomparably damaging daydream of a deity the Robot Cultists are indulging in, superintelligence, superlongevity, and the circumvention via superabundance of the impasse of stakeholder politics in a world shared with a diversity of peers.
Prostheses are just culture. Technology is just the prosthetic elaboration of agency. Agency is our effort to achieve and maintain social legibility, accomplish ends, and make sense of our lives in a diverse abiding material world that both enables and frustrates us in this. Freedom is our word for that experience.
Freedom cannot be reduced to instrumentality, what we want of our technique and what we make of it is conditioned fundamentally by its play in an absolutely unpredictable interminable diversity of peers and their works.
There is no "overcoming" of these limits, these limits are literally constitutive conditions of the very experience of freedom we cherish. The futurologists would idiotically obliterate freedom in their clumsy wrongheaded infantile wish-fulfillment fantasy of a toypile so high it reaches Heaven, of an endlessly amplified instrumental power that transcends freedom and delivers superlative variations on an omnipredicated godhead.
"Refuse to accept" it all you want, Giulio, indulge in pathological denialism all you want, pout and stamp all you want, but nevertheless:
You will never be immortal or even achieve a longevity sufficiently prolonged that you no longer have to face your present panic at the prospect of death.
You will never be invulnerable and perfectly and effortlessly efficacious or anything near enough to afford the pretense.
You will never overcome through an amplification of instrumental power the basic human condition of a world of dangerous, unpredictable, and promising contingency.
You will never return to the infantile automatism of imagined plentitude via robot slaves or nanobotic genies in a bottle or virtual treasure caves or a Friendly Robot God parental-super-substitute.
You will never overcome the ineradicable limits, frustrations, and redemptive promise of living in a world you share with a diversity of peers with whom you differ, and must contest, collaborate, communicate to acquire and achieve your aspirations.
There is indeed all the difference in the world between the substance of freedom and the deranging fantasies of technoscientific superlativity. There is all the difference in the world between agency and instrumentality. There is all the difference in the world between flourishing lifeway multiculture and eugenic "optimality." There is all the difference in the world between culture and Robot Cultism.
Without superlativity, transhumanism, extropianism, singularitarianism, techno-immortalism, nano-cornucopiasm, digital-utopianism and all the rest have nothing but vacuities to show for themselves, to offer up as their "reasonable face" to a world wary of cults that are too obvious about what they are doing. Nobody needs Robot Cultists to re-invent the wheel of consensus science, democratic freedom, rights culture, or planetary multiculture.
Debates about developmental "timelines" with futurologists are irrelevent, they are a distraction from the key problem at hand. There are few who doubt that technoscientific marvels await a humanity that does not destroy itself through its insensitivity, denialism, or greed, certainly I do not doubt these things, certainly I welcome many of them.
One doesn't need to join a Robot Cult to welcome these marvels, and, obviously enough, those who would struggle to ensure that the risks, costs, and benefits of these marvels are distributed in a way that reflects the stakes of the diversity of peers with whom we share this world would do better not to join a Robot Cult at all.
Discussion of timelines with Robot Cultists function to enable their definitive denialism. It doesn't matter how long or how surprising or how spectacular the developmental pathway, it will never eventuate in the "accomplishment" of superintelligence, superlongevity, or the circumvention via superabundance of the impasse of stakeholder politics among a diversity of peers who share the world.
It is a conceptual confusion to pretend that these are terms belonging to the category "accomplishments" in the first place, rather in the same way that it is a confusion to attribute natural personality traits to a presumably supernatural deity in order to pretend to understand what cannot be understood.
So long as all this is true, there is simply nothing to say for the Robot Cultists, for superlativity is the substance of their faith, of their scam, of their derangement of public technodevelopmental discourse. For actual consensus science and progressive politics one would obviously do better to turn to widely available widely affirmed ongoing efforts elsewhere.
Transhumanism is just an exaggerated crystallization of fairly conventional infantile wish-fulfillment fantasies inspired by a false instrumental understanding of freedom, history, and value. You dream of robots because your view of humanity is already robotic.
You're all palpably and rather obviously wrong and rather dumb, but in a way that accords very well with contemporary prejudices in corporate-militarist societies that share your greed for quick cheap sensational "results," share your anxiety about the demands of real political freedom, and share your loathing of the vulnerability and messy profusion of bodies and their limits, their proneness to illegibility as bearers of social status, their fraught incarnation of intelligence, their compatibility with a profusion of flourishing lifeways.
You say transhumanists are "doing something" about "taking control" of the constitutive limits of the human condition. But you're obviously really just a few hundred privileged fanboys who cannot distinguish science fiction from science policy, indulging in a collective wish-fulfillment fantasy who think a circle jerk is tantamount to a world-historical movement sweeping the planet and transforming everything you touch.
There are few words to describe the scale and scope of the deluded deranged embarrassing spectacle you are making of yourselves. You are so wrong about so many things it beggars description, it offends sense at the most basic level, it cries forth for some understanding from the critical temper of those who encounter the likes of you.
I will freely admit it. As a technoscientifically literate advocate of an emancipatory progress that is both political and instrumental, and as a champion of consensual prosthetic self-determination in a lifeway multiculture, I find transhumanism, singularitarianism, techno-immortalism literally terrifying in their thoughtlessness, ignorance, confusions, insensitivity, and infantilism.
No good at all, as far as I can see, can ever come of their rising profile, their impact on the framing of public technodevelopmental deliberation, their attraction of attention and diversion of energy and imagination into wish-fulfillment fantasies, denialism, and elitist reductionist moralism.
By way of conclusion, I notice that like James Hughes in a recent comment on Michael Anissimov's blog, you deride my words as "logorrhea," the verbal equivalent of spewing shit. That such prominent "transhumanists" like Prisco and Hughes, who like to declare themselves paragons of superior intellect and as leaders in an avant-garde with the Keys to Human History uniquely in their hands are incapable of distinguishing my words from shit is an indictment that should be so shattering to your reputation that really I shouldn't have to say anything at all.
But the world is full of dumb scared shits selling scams, so I daresay I won't stop railing against this sort of thing any time soon.