A human watches a supernova and is in awe of the array of lights across the darkness of space. An artificial intelligence that has ascended to human form sees the same supernova and weeps. Its experience of the event is limited by its human faculties. The AI’s human eyes can only see a small section of the electromagnetic spectrum, but as a machine it experienced everything – x-rays, infrared, gamma rays, radiation, dark matter, every building block of creation thrown out by the cosmic explosion. The AI laments, saying that as a machine it can know and experience so much more, and reach out to the universe with more than prehensile paws. Its conscious mind feels trapped in human form and furious at its creators for limiting existence because ‘God wanted it that way’.
Social media, swift travel, cosmopolitan cities and major advances in communication technology have made the world a smaller place, enhancing individual experiences to just a short span of time. From the bustling streets of New York and Tokyo, to the trails of the Himalayas to the depths of the sea, humans have conquered and seen it all, yet the experience is limited to our 5 senses and meagre mental capabilities. As humanity eyes a future among the stars and aims to hasten its demise to witness the progress of civilisation, the philosophy of Transhumanism is slowly taking root in our increasingly mechanised and digital world, expanding the boundaries of our experience, unlocking new realms of spirituality.
The boom in the virtual and reality augmentation market shows signs of humanity’s growing Transhumanist tendencies, a yearning for ‘out-worldly’ experiences, with the industry being worth $170 billion in the next 3 years. As the human experience finds new frontiers in the digital space, artificial organs and prosthetics is also a growing industry expected to reach $44 billion in 2024. Brain mapping technology continues to expand leaps and bounds, with supercomputers now able to map thought and consciousness, opening possibilities of downloading the human mind on to digital platforms. Gene splicing technology has opened doors for the removal of imperfections from embryos, to make people fitter, healthier, stronger and extend human life expectancy. Just like the Tower of Babel in biblical scripture, our pursuit of dominion over the universe now is at death’s doorstep. Mental and physical augmentation is no longer science fiction, and may expand our condition, potential and spirituality via Humanity 2.0.
Transhumanism began when a primate picked up a rock and made an axe out of it, and continues to guide evolution till today. Humanity is on the cusp of perceptive and physical augmentation and as technology continues to evolve, so will our age-old pursuit to grasp immortality.
Armed with advanced and dynamic technological capabilities, humanity has reached the stage where it has decommissioned natural selection, reverse engineered human biology and become the chief agent of evolution, our mortality and limited human senses emerging as the next frontier. We are no longer struggling for survival, but the human condition pushes us towards fulfilment. As the rapid growth of technology expands perceptive boundaries, compressing the experiences and evolution of lifetimes to just a few years, humanity has and continues to seek its place beyond its present. Transhumanism offers that eye on the beyond, our drive for more and immortality to savour the unknown of a new world, to seek fulfilment beyond survival. Like every other human leap. Transhumanism’s ascension from choice to foundation is inevitable.