December 26, 2014
The drive to the 2016 elections is now beginning and likely candidates are starting to come into focus. Naturally, Hillary Clinton will be running again for the Democratic nomination. I mean she is entitled to it, right? What that woman has had to go through and she’s so eminently qualified too.
Of course, we have to get another Bush in play for the Republicans in 2016. It will be eight years since the last one, so we’re right on schedule. It’s going to be utterly fascinating to watch Jeb attempt to win primaries by alienating the conservative base. Boy, that’s smart. Most candidates would wait to get elected before throwing their most active party members under the bus.
If you don’t like those choices though, take heart there may be another alternative. In a recent announcement, Zoltan Istvan has announced he is in the early stages of preparing a campaign to run for president in 2016. What party is Mr. Istvan going to represent – Libertarian, Communist, Green, Bull Moose maybe? No, no, nothing so pedestrian. Mr. Istvan will be running on the Transhumanist Party ticket. Haven’t heard of the Transhumanist Party? Well, keep reading.
The Transhumanist movement consists of futurists, life extensionists, technologists, and others who appreciate science and are willing to use technology to fundamentally change society and the individuals of which it is comprised. They have this transformation thing all over Obama.
Istvan’s platform sounds noble if a little farfetched:
- Provide science all the resources they need to overcome human death and aging.
- Create a cultural mindset that will essentially look to science to solve all our pressing issues.
- Build firewalls and safeguards that would protect society from possible technological abuses during the transition to the Transhumanist utopia.
A lot of what Istvan projects I really don’t have much of a problem with. For instance, bionic hearts will improve dramatically and eliminate the need for transplants. Tremendous progress will be made with prosthetic limbs and possibly allow for entire exoskeletons that would allow paralyzed individuals the ability to walk and move. Our smart phones will become genius phones. These kinds of developments are essentially extrapolations of the path we are on and are beneficial for all. More funding and emphasis on research and development on these kinds of solutions I believe is well served.
However, there are other aspects of the Transhumanist movement that are unsettling and present some profound ethical dilemmas. For instance, Transhumanists believe that in the near future we will be able to upload a human mind into a computer. These “mind clones” would be capable of doing what its biological source can do such as reading, watching videos, conversing, etc. What kind of rights would these clones have? What happens to it when the human source for the mind clone dies? No one knows.
Our military is investing heavily in various aspects of this kind of revolutionary technology. DARPA is working on a wide variety of applications that will enable our soldiers to maintain peak abilities and recover more quickly and fully from injuries suffered in battle. Multiple technologies are under development that will allow soldiers to more effectively interface with advanced, complex systems. This research could have dramatic implications for longevity and disease immunity for our population as a whole.
While these developments appear to hold great promise for improving the human condition, DARPA is involved in other areas of research that in my opinion can be highly problematic. DARPA has a BioDesign program that is focused on developing new life forms. Why use less than optimized humans when you can synthesize the perfect fighting organism? Theoretically, you could develop an organism with the eyesight of an eagle, the ability to run like a cheetah, the strength of a gorilla all with human intelligence. It could have rapid healing capability. It could be able to go many days without food or water. It could have no fear. You know, better soldiering through chemistry.
These organisms would be superior to us in many ways. What if they decided they want to take over and run things? Don’t worry; DARPA plans to include a kill switch with every model.
Seriously though, what rights would such an organism have? What happens to the idea of unalienable rights when such organisms exist? Nobody knows.
As a Christian, I believe the Bible when it says Jesus will return one day to judge the world. I’ve often wondered if there could be a triggering event that would have God saying, “OK, that’s enough. Time for judgment.” If you think about it, none of our technological developments since history began have threatened to alter anything God has made. Not even learning to split heavy atoms or fuse light ones to create energy has effected His material world. However, messing with the pinnacle of God’s creation, that be us, He may not allow. Start contaminating the foundation for what makes humans human, well that may be the final straw. I would urge you non-Christians to take heed.