Transhumanism – Medical Technology and Slippery slopes

Being ‘the world’s most dangerous idea’ by Francis Fukuyama, the label of transhumanism has put the entire transhumanism issue to the limelight. The fact that the focal point of transhumanism is biomedical technology puts even more pressure on the need to clearly elaborate its concepts.

There is really no one single ideology that transhumanism subscribes to since it’s a set of different ideas. However, some of the ideas are controversial while others are pretty mundane. But the first bone of contention is the definition of transhumanism. Although there is a vague global definition, different authors and subscribers to the theory seem to define the concept differently.

An author like Max More, who can be said to be one of the founders of this utopic belief, defines transhumanism using words that can be described more as characteristics of transhuman rather than a single definition. He says transhumanists are futuristic beings, interested only in topics like cryonic suspension, mind uploading and space migration. Therefore, they can break down humanistic barriers to a posthuman feature by virtue of biological frailties, diseases or death.

Transhumanists seek to integrate technology with the human being using technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnologies. The result, they say, is a super-intelligent human being that is physically stronger and is biologically and emotionally in better control of themselves. A Transhuman can make independent decisions about their lives, and even about their progenies.

But the use of medical technology freely without any restrictions presents a huge slippery slope for the posthuman believers. If everyone is left to decide, for example their exit, won’t there be humans who will be selfish enough to not want to exit? Will everyone have an equal chance of using the biomedical technology or will there still exist a social class for the rich and the poor? These and more concepts bring about an interesting topic of discussion both for transhuman believers and non-believers.

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Rajat Chakraborty Written by: