Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Slate's Transhumanist Communion

Politics, Misc: Slate is running a bizarre article by William Saletan called Among the Transhumanists. Here's a snippet:

On a projection screen at Stanford Law School, an auditorium full of nerds stared at a picture of a guy who'd done himself up like a cat—not with makeup, but with tattoos and surgery. The guy's whiskers were implanted. His nose had been converted to a cat nose. His teeth had been filed into the shape of cat teeth. His head has been flattened, and he was looking for a doctor to implant a tail. And that's just the tip of the freakberg.

Not sure what to make of this article, or for that matter, this collection of nut burgers. A colleague of mine was going on a few days ago about how humans will ultimately achieve immortality by being able to digitize their life experience, modelling their thought processes, and dumping it into a gigantic hard drive in, I guess, a hosted server farm in Renton with, I presume, a good emergency preparedness plan. Anyway, perhaps that conversation's why this article is showing up here on CB. Here's another snippet from Saletan's joyous communion with the transhumanists:

The sessions were ... interesting. A panel on religious views consisted of a transhumanist Zen Buddhist priest, an advocate of human enhancement as divine healing, and a pro-cryonics "Christian immortalist." Another panel addressed "the self-demand amputation community." You've heard of a woman trapped in a man's body? Imagine being a one-legged person trapped in a two-legged body, said the speakers. A third panel brought up the "cyborg dialectic": thesis, antithesis, synthesis, prothesis. I have no idea what a prothesis is. I assumed the cyborg dialectic would culminate in a prosthesis.

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