[extropy-chat] IFTF's Future Now: Michael Chorost on Cochlear Implants and Transhumanism

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Wed Sep 7 13:47:12 UTC 2005

It is true that technology cannot match biology yet for whole bodies, but 
give time to time - someday bionics may do better than "naturally" evolved 
biology. I think restoration is considered feasible already and enhancement 
is not, so "ordinary people" do not think of enhancement yet. However, this 
article is interesting:
IFTF Future Now blog <http://future.iftf.org/2005/09/michael_chorost.html>: On 
August 31st, Michael Chorost <http://www.michaelchorost.com/>, author
of Rebuilt
: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More
spoke at the Institute... [He] talked a bit about the transhumanist 
literature. He describes himself as trying to stake out a middle ground 
between enthusiasts like Kevin Warwick and critics like Francis Fukuyama; he 
sees his work emphasizing the complexity of the human body, and the 
necessity of soft approaches such as training and social infrastructure to 
gain maximum benefit from whatever technology is developed. (I thought he 
was the first transhumanist author to really emphasize the "human" over the 
He's also more skeptical of claims that new technologies will transform 
humans. Almost all current technologies are used to restore senses or 
sensory capabilities, rather than extend or enhance. Restoration is the goal 
of most ordinary people, and is difficult enough: "I am skeptical of 
potential for enhancement via bionics," on the grounds that our natural 
sensory organs are fantastically sophisticated, and reproducing them-- or 
completely new things-- will be very hard to create. Further, in the 
pre-nanotech state of the art, "bionics is big and clunky: it works on the 
scale of millimeters. The body works at the level of nanometers. We're not 
even close" to matching the body's capabilities and scale.
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