[extropy-chat] newsvine: "Sure, make me a cyborg"

kevin.osborne kevin.osborne at gmail.com
Tue Jan 30 04:17:11 UTC 2007

> > How do you see the distinction between cyborg and transhuman?  Do you
> > think the terms are interchangeable?
for me, I think any future cyborgs will simply be a classifiable
subset of 'human', much how the 'transhumans' of today are very much
just normal humans with a fetish for futurism & self-improvement.

a little clearer: future posthumans will consider themselves 'human'.
from their perspective it will be us today who will be considered
subhuman, much as -we- now look at neanderthals, early
hunter-gatherers and modern day cannibals. terms like 'inhumane' and
'oh, the humanity!' speak to a greater internal concept of human than
just unmodified sapien.

back to the point: cyborgs are humans. if it starts human, you can do
whatever you want to it; it's still human. maybe if you mess with the
development process, much like the ukrainian(?) girl raised by dogs,
you might end up with something sub(super)human. but if we restrict
cybernetic changes to therapeutic use only until the age of majority
then that person can be considered human, no matter what they end up
modifying themselves into later. humanity is a self-referencing set of
memories and shared memes developed within a social environmental
framework; it doesn't matter worth a damn what substrate the
self-referential engine is running on, as long as it's grounded in
that initial embryonic stage of personal development that we all
share: it's called childhood. you can grow up and wire yourself
backwards as much as you like but if you ever soiled yourself, sucked
on a teat and went batshit at the sight of icecream then you're a done
deal as a human.

> They are not intechageable.  One is about whether the body has all
> organic parts or not.
this is the 'vanilla sapien' interpretation of humanity; see above. In
short, I think this is hogwash. 'Human' means one thing, 'Homo Sapien'
another, and 'Cyborg' is a term that negates ones' membership in

> The other is about the goals, views and ideals of
> the brain/mind realized in that body.  Conceivably a person could even
> be tranferred fully into an artificial body or uploaded without being in
> the least interested in or a proponent of transhumanism.
i think we're on the same page here, with my proviso that you have to
be a 'person' first, and that there's some formative experiences (that
I've no doubt defined poorly) required to gain membership into the
'personhood' club.

I think It'd be fair to say that if you're a cyborg you're a
transhumanist, even if you don't associate with that term yourself; if
enough people call you a fairy, you're a fairy. Yes, it smacks of
racism, but until you can prove that cyborgs-as-a-group find
transhumanist-as-a-label offensive/derogatory you're going to have to
live with it. I'm not particularly fond of the term 'transhumanist',
but I'm a futurist and a singulatarian, so in the interim I'm just
going to have to deal with it :-)

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