[ExI] SIAI Interview Series: Aubrey de Grey

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Jun 20 19:06:40 UTC 2007

On Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 11:53:10AM -0700, Thomas wrote:

>    Aubrey de Grey questions the meaning of the term transhuman.  Does it
>    mean transition toward a posthuman state that regards the human in a
>    way similar to the way we humans now regard Neanderthals as subhuman?

It's going to be a pretty short transition time, though. (It may be
zero, if we go extinct). In general, once you have a few kilotons
of molecular circuitry (and superintelligence), you can design 
nearly optimal hardware without having to iteratively build interim 
stages there. It goes from zero to hero almost overnight, but for
those projects which might require large-scale constructions (devices
the size of the solar system, or the size of a galactic cluster).
Some such (purely hypothetical) stages can take centuries, megayears 
or even gigayears.

>    -- Or does de Grey's  preferred meaning, ascribed to Huxley, suit us
>    better, to wit:  trancending of previous humanity while remaining

You can no longer remain human, than a cyanobacteria can become a human,
and remain a cyanobacteria. The notion makes no sense.

>    human?  I haven't chosen a position on this question and I'd like the
>    see what others here think.  Do humans possess a certain defining
>    attribute that deserves to be retained by all our descendants?  Can we
>    name it?  -- Thomas

I wouldn't bother with semantics too much. Reality has a tendency to make
such things obsolete.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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