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Technology and the rise in Transhumanism

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A comprehensive definition of technology is that it is anything that humans use through their ingenuity to enhance their capabilities and live life more efficiently. It is undeniable that we largely depend on the use of technology for our daily life activities. This has been the scenario since the time that humans first inhabited the Earth.

In the primitive times, when a human first picked up a stick in order to get a fruit from a tall tree, he did more than just merely get the fruit. He transcended and upgraded himself as a human being by extending beyond his biological capability by using a technology, in this case a simple stick, in the form of a tool.

Since then we’ve evolved greatly to become what we are today and simultaneously, technology has improved too. But what we fail to realize is that our evolution, in fact, has been facilitated and directed by the technology we developed. There is a ‘positive feedback loop’ relationship between technological advancements and human evolution, which meaning that when humans design a particular technology, the technology designs humans back by shaping the way we evolve. A very good example to clarify this is the change in the jaw size in humans in the past. Earlier, we used to have bigger jaws, but after inventing stone tools, knives and tools to make and control fire, the food we ate and the way we ate them changed causing our jaw size to decrease over time. In this way, the tools that we invented, eventually shaped our biology. So we need to understand that there is an inseparable and an intimate relationship between technological growth and human development.

We were the creatures designed to walk on land, but with the introduction of technologies such as ships and aircrafts, we have upgraded our transportation abilities utilizing the water and air medium. With the development of telephones and satellite technology, we have transcended our communication abilities to a global scale by being able to talk to people who are miles apart through the audio-visual medium.

It is very important to discuss about this relationship in the present because we live in an age when technology, as scientists call it, is growing exponentially. Keeping this in mind and referring back to the earlier mentioned relationship, humans are also evolving swiftly, and more intricate than before. In the past few centuries, we have achieved a lot of feats as a species which were previously thought to be impossible. We were the creatures designed to walk on land, but with the introduction of technologies such as ships and aircrafts, we have upgraded our transportation abilities utilizing the water and air medium. With the development of telephones and satellite technology, we have transcended our communication abilities to a global scale by being able to talk to people who are miles apart through the audio-visual medium.

Let us focus on some more technological areas whose prospects and future potentials seem pretty unbelievable and are really hard to comprehend. I’m referring to the advancements in the fields of Gene technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology that have been evolving for the past five decades. These technologies have helped us better understand, explore and even manipulate things like DNA, biochemicals in our body and various matters in the atomic level. This in turn has opened up potentials to achieve the fascinating concept of Transhumanism: an idea that human beings can be enhanced to a much higher level, both physically and mentally and drastically beyond their ‘human’ limitations by making the use of the aforementioned scientific technologies.

By making the combined use of gene technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, research works are being done in various scientific communities to increase human lifespan by as much as three to four times. There are prospects of creating super drugs and biochemical medicines that could be used for personality alteration, creative transcendence, increased intelligence, and cure for depression and so on. Bizarre ideas involving brain implants in the form of Nano-technological chips, offering benefits such as hyper focus, enhanced memory and prospects of storing and downloading the memories are now discussed. There are prospects of improving physical attributes such as pain resistance, muscle strength, and reflexes that are way past human limits. The concepts of manipulating genes to stop or even reverse ageing are being circulated among the scientific communities.

All the aforementioned prospects fall under the concept of transhumanism, which is likely possible with the unbelievable growth and effective use of complex scientific techniques and technologies. Such transhumanism is different from ‘conventional’ evolution that we have been going through, in a way that it makes an intensive use of scientific and technological advancements and in transhumanism, human beings can actually choose what they want to evolve as and in a much faster way than in evolution.  

Though humanity until this point has been a story of evolution, we are entering a new phase where the human beings are the masters of their destiny and power has been transferred from nature to science.

As the Australian philosopher Mr. Julian Savulescu says, though humanity until this point has been a story of evolution, we are entering a new phase where the human beings are the masters of their destiny and power has been transferred from nature to science. With the development of such amazing technologies, we have the power and potential to become ‘Superhumans’ with limitless capabilities, and as the blissful futurist Jason Silva says, life itself has become the canvas for the modern artists and we are now on the verge of becoming Gods.

By Gaurav Jung Pande

The writer is an A-Level graduate from Trinity International College.