Transhumanists Are Afraid of the Future

By blurring the line between what we think of as biological and technological, transhumanists hope to ease our eventual, inevitable transition to life on a silicon chip.

As proponents will argue, our journey into a transhumanist state of existence has already started, with dentures, hearing aids, and artificial hearts — all synthetic extensions that change what it means to be human. Would we call contact lenses antihuman? Of course not. So why scoff at brain implants that enable us to speak new languages? Or why reject an offer to clone one’s consciousness and upload it to a server?

It’s a compelling thought: exchanging one’s humanity for immortality. Piece by piece, or maybe all at once, we become what transhumanists argue is the next stage of evolution: some hybrid of person and machine, or maybe an entirely digital species. Along the way, though, we take on an increasingly mechanistic understanding of our personhood.

In some ways, transhumanism is a reactionary response to the sorts of changes inherent in nature, a defiant assertion of the individual against its own impermanence. The cycles of life are understood not as opportunities to learn or let go, but as inconveniences to ignore or overcome. We do not have to live with the consequences of our own actions. There’s an app for that.

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