Wenn Technik Lösungen, aber keine Antworten bietet
Jörg Auf dem Hövel 20.08.2010 (telepolis)
Interview mit dem Philosophen Oliver Müller über chemo- und neurotechnologische Umbaumaßnahmen an Körper und Geist
„Der Philosoph Oliver Müller arbeitet am Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin und jetzt hat ein erhellendes Werk über den Einzug technischer Optimierungen in Lebenswelt und Körper des Menschen geschrieben. Im Interview beschreibt er, welche Auswirkungen diese Technisierungsprozesse auf Selbstsein und Selbstverständnis haben können.“ [zum Originalartikel]
Abschied von der “Nanotechnologie” (Von Niels Boeing, Technology Review, 04.11.2009)
„Vor kurzem meinte ein Journalisten-Kollege, er wundere sich, dass der ganze Diskurs über potenzielle Risiken der Nanotechnik, pardon “Nanotechnologie”, aus Politik und Wirtschaft selbst angestoßen worden sei – und nicht etwa von technikkritischen Organisationen. An diesem Diskurs haben sich die Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften insgesamt doch eher konstruktiv beteiligt. Joachim Schummer, Philosoph an der TU Darmstadt und zugleich Chemiker, geht nun gegen die versöhnliche Stimmung an: Mit seinem Buch “Nanotechnologie. Spiele mit Grenzen” hat er eine fulminante Streitschrift vorgelegt.“ [zum Originalartikel]
Oxford Today, Volume 22 Number 1, Michaelmas 2009
„Artificially engendered humans have long been a science fiction staple – from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Huxley’s Brave New World and, most recently, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island – their heroes dehumanised figures depicted amid bleak, biotechnologically devastated landscapes.
But in the year of Darwin’s bicentenary, science fact presses hard on the heels of science fiction. Three decades since Louise Brown, the first ‘test tube baby’, woke to the world, breakthroughs are now trumpeted almost every month. Chinese scientists recently announced that they had cloned the first animals from skin cells. Earlier, British scientists revealed they had manufactured artificial sperm using stem cells from a fiveday- old male embryo.
Human enhancement provokes violent controversy: the American writer Francis Fukuyama branded ‘transhumanism’ (the radical enhancement of humanity by technological means) ‘the world’s most dangerous idea’. But genetic technologies are only one, if perhaps the most controversial, sector on the enhancement front.“ [read original article]
On the Importance of Being a Cyborg Feminist (written By: Kyle Munkittrick, h+ magazin, July 21, 2009)
„Transhumanism’s relationship with postmodern philosophy and critical theory is a strange one. For example, Nick Bostrom’s influential “A History of Transhumanist Thought” spans centuries, covering the gamut from Utnapishtim to the President’s Council on Bioethics, but makes little mention of those who radically challenge the core Enlightenment narrative upon which he builds his history. Figures like Nietzsche, Marx, and Donna Haraway do all receive a nod in Bostrom’s essay, including Haraway’s cyberfeminist motto, “I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess,” but their ideas go unanalyzed. Of course, the context for these thinkers is often ignored and their works simply mined for epigraphs and potent, argument-punctuating lines such as Haraway’s. Make no mistake: Bostrom’s essay (indeed, his entire corpus of work) is essential reading for any serious transhumanist. But there are gaps in his history that are reflective of a larger dismissal of certain philosophers by transhumanist intellectuals. Among those neglected, I would list Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Jurgan Habermas. Clearly there is insufficient time and space to even begin to discuss all of these figures properly, so I would like to draw your attention to just one in particular, Donna Haraway, and her work with cyberfeminism.“ [read original article]
Singing the Singularity
Mike Treder (posted on IEET, Jul 16, 2009)
„Like many a useful concept, the Technological Singularity has become over-invested with emotion, ideological leanings, and tangential agendas. Can its value be recovered?
On October 3, 2009, the fourth annual Singularity Summit will convene, this time in New York City. Among the speakers featured in the two-day event are IEET fellows Ben Goertzel and Aubrey de Grey, along with Ray Kurzweil, Anders Sandberg, Robin Hanson, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Greg Benford, and many others.
So what’s it all about?“ [read original article]
If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution!
Athena Andreadis (Sentient Development)
„Those who know my outermost layer would consider me a science geek. I’m a proponent of genetic engineering, an advocate of space exploration, a reader and writer of science fiction. However, I found myself unable to warm to either transhumanism or its literary sidekick, cyberpunk. I ascribed this to the decrease of flexibility that comes with middle age and resumed reading Le Guin’s latest story cycle. […]
And I finally realized why I balk at cyberpunk and transhumanism like an unruly horse. Both are deeply anhedonic, hostile to physicality and the pleasures of the body, from enjoying wine to playing in an orchestra. I wondered why it had taken me so long to figure this out. After all, many transhumanists use the repulsive (and misleading) term “meat cage” to describe the human body, which they deem a stumbling block, an obstacle in the way of the mind.“ [read original article]
Singularly silly singularity (PZ Myers, Pharyngula, Feb. 09. 2009)
„Since I had the effrontery to critize futurism and especially Ray Kurzweil, here’s a repost of something I wrote on the subject a while back…and I’ll expand on it at the end.“ [read original article]
By Judith Warner (Herald Tribune), Published: December 30, 2008
„What if you could just take a pill and all of a sudden remember to pay your bills on time? What if, thanks to modern neuroscience, you could, simultaneously, make New Year’s Eve plans, pay the mortgage, call the pediatrician, consolidate credit card debt and do your job – well – without forgetting dentist appointments or neglecting to pick up your children at school?
Would you do it? Tune out the distractions of our online, on-call, too-fast ADD-ogenic world with focus and memory-enhancing medications like Ritalin or Adderall? Stay sharp as a knife – no matter how overworked and sleep-deprived – with a mental-alertness-boosting drug like the anti-narcolepsy medication Provigil?
I’ve always said no. Fantasy aside, I’ve always rejected the idea of using drugs meant for people with real neurological disorders to treat the pathologies of everyday life. [...]“
Better than human – Why is the world’s most prestigious science journal peddling the snake oil of cognition-enhancing drugs? (Michael Cook, Mercator Net)
Publication in the British journal Nature is the acme of academic achievement, a byword for quality and the touchstone of scientific opinion. So when its editor co-authors an article putting the case for a technology which has been called the world’s most dangerous idea, you’ve got to ask: what have these dudes been smoking? […]
Die Vervollkommnung des Menschen
Tod und Unsterblichkeit im Posthumanismus und Transhumanismus
Der Mensch ist unvollkommen. Neben den vielen kleinen körperlichen und geistigen Grenzen und den krankheitsbedingten Leiden haftet ihm vor allem ein Makel an: der Mensch ist sterblich. Seine Tage sind gezählt – herausragenden Exemplaren der Gattung Mensch gelingt es heutzutage immerhin, bis zu 38.000 mal das Werden und Vergehen eines Tages zu erleben, aber dann ist Schluss. Das wusste schon der mythische König Gilgamesh, der sich auf die Suche nach einem zauberhaften Unsterblichkeitskraut machte, und auch aus der Sicht des Soziologen Max Weber offenbarte sich im Faktum des Todes “die Sinnlosigkeit der rein innerweltlichen Selbstvervollkommnung zum Kulturmenschen”, die prägend sein sollte für eine sich säkular verstehende Moderne – denn trotz aller Sublimierungsversuche blieb der Tod. […]
March of the Penguicon
Last weekend I attended Penguicon, a joint Sci-Fi fandom / Open Source Software convention, for the second time. Previously I blogged about the culture-shock I experienced at Penguicon 5.0. I observed the same phenomena this year: informal panel-audience interaction, weird con-etiquette, sexualized dress. So this time I want to engage the ideas rather than the outward accoutrements of conculture. I followed two “tracks” (or thematic groups of panels) at the convention: technology-philosophy and the arts. (The convention didn’t use either of these terms for any of the “tracks” they offered, but it makes sense to group the panels I attended under these rubrics. All of the technologically oriented panels I attended centered on hypothetical technologies of the future, and were more philosophical than technical in nature. The other panels I attended all focused either on technology put to artistic use, or the implications of the form, as opposed to the function, of technology, or science fiction / fantasy literature.) The technology panels alerted me to the fact that there exists a geek religion. Because I heard no voice of disagreement or questioning of this geek Weltanschauung at the con, I offer my own response here as a critique from an outsider who wants better to understand it. The art-related panels gave me some ideas for my own critical and creative work. I thus offer my reflections on those panels as an example of the fruitful exchanges that can take place between geeks and non-geeks. [...]
(„Die Menschen von morgen, die Herausforderungen von heute (Technology Review 21.12.2007)
Neue Technologien und Technik im Allgemeinen beherrschen mehr denn je den Diskurs über die Zukunft: Einerseits werden sie als unerlässliche Voraussetzung für eine erfolgreiche Standortpolitik im globalen Wettbewerb propagiert, andererseits als Grundlage einer möglichen Dystopie von umfassender Kontrolle und Manipulation kritisiert. Gleichzeitig wird Technik meist als etwas Gegebenes, Sekundäres hingenommen, werden ihre Grundlagen und Entwicklungsspielräume selten ausreichend reflektiert. Diese wird Technology Review nun in einer neuen Essay-Reihe beleuchten. Den Anfang macht Alfred Nordmann, Wissenschaftsphilosoph an der TU Darmstadt und Leiter des Nanobüros. Er untersucht den transhumanistischen Diskurs vom technischen optimierten Individuum der Zukunft. Dieser, so Nordmanns These, baut nicht nur auf fragwürdigen Annahmen auf – er ist vor allem altmodisch und verstellt uns den Blick auf wirklich bedeutende Veränderungen. [...]“)
Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Philosophical, Religious, and Ethical Considerations
By Hava Tirosh-Samuelson
What is Transhumanism?
The term ‘transhumanism’ denotes a relatively young and still changing ideology that posits a new vision of humanity as a result of the confluence of advancements in the life sciences, neurosciences, genomics, robotics, informatics, and nanotechnology. These developments include new kinds of cognitive tools that combine artificial intelligence with interface technology, molecular nanotechnology, extension of human life span, genetic enhancing of human mental and physical capacities, combating diseases and slowing down the process of aging, and exercising control over desires, moods, and mental states. Those who enthusiastically promote these developments in biotechnology and bioengineering maintain that the accelerating pace of technological development and scientific understanding will usher in a new age in the history of the human species during which people will live longer, will possess new physical and cognitive abilities and will be liberated from suffering and pain due to aging and disease. In the transhuman age, humans will no longer be controlled by nature; instead they will be the controllers of nature. [...]«)
(»I think the following e-mail exchange will interest those of you who are following my latest engagements with partisans of various Superlative discourses (I omit names to protect innocence here).
In the discussions that have recently taken place at your blog, you’ve demonstrated a strong belief that entitative human-surpassing AI will not be possible within a meaningful timeframe
It’s true I am incomparably more skeptical of such an eventuality than Singularitarians seem to be, but, rather true to form, you are not quite grasping the reasons that fuel my skepticism, nor the intended force of my critique. [...]«)
(»It’s Officially a Blog!
So I have finally officially started my blog. After 2 months of posts, I have already refuted the Singularity. The quality of my posts has improved and with the simplicity of this blogging interface, I think I am off and running. Watch out Transhumanists! [...]«)
Transhumanism and I: some reckonings…
(»The Transhumanist movment has been a significant part of my life for the past year or so. I have considered myself a Transhumanist, read a lot of the popular Transhumanist literature, participated in Transhumanist discussions, and accepted a lot of the prominent Transhumanist themes and concepts–in fact was very enthusiastic about them. It was one of the things that filled in the gap created when I left a religion that had been a huge part of my life.
However, there were some things, even before I could exactly put my finger on them, that have bugged me about a lot of prevalent Transhumanist views and ideas, or views and ideas, whether or not they are explicitly Transhumanist, that are so common to the Transhumanist community that they seem inseparably intertwined with the movement itself. That has been the source of quite a bit of anxiety and confusion for quite a while, especially at times when I felt my own worldview was partially shaped by things that were bothering me. [...]«)
Dale Carrico: Technoprogressivism Beyond Technophilia and Technophobia
(»Technocentrism, Technophilia, and Technophobia
A technophile is a person to whom we attribute a naïve or uncritical enthusiasm for technology, while a technophobe is a person to whom we attribute a no less uncritical dread of or hostility to technology. But what does it tell us that there is no comparably familiar word simply to describe a person who is focused on the impact of technology in a critical way that is attentive both to its promises and its dangers?
Why is it that any technocentric perspective on cultural, historical, political, and social questions is always imagined to be either uncritically technophilic or technophobic? Is it really so impossible to conceive of a critical technocentrism equally alive to real promises and alert to real dangers? [...]«)
Dale Carrico:The Trouble with “Transhumanism”: Part One
The term “transhumanist” may give people an identity at the cost of achieving their goals
By Dale Carrico (Betterhumans 12/17/2004)
(»I’m not a transhumanist, but I play one on Google.
It’s been happening more and more lately. A student or colleague or friend who does an online search for my name or stumbles upon some of my online writing asks, in a somewhat perplexed tone, “Are you one of these ‘transhumanists?’” And, “What is this whole ‘transhumanist’ thing about?” The more I think about these questions, the harder it is to answer them. And this is making me incredibly nervous. [....]«)
The Trouble with “Transhumanism”: Part Two (Betterhumans 12/22/2004)
To make real progress in discussions of radical technology, the first thing we need is new language
(»As I discussed in the first part of this series, I think that some supporters of radical technological outcomes overapply the term “transhumanist” to their strategic allies in ways that might needlessly alienate them, render them more vulnerable to rhetorical attack and, in so doing, frustrate the achievement of shared strategic ends. [...]«)
Secondhand Smoke: (»This WEB log considers issues involving assisted suicide/euthanasia, bioethics, human cloning, biotechnology, and the dangers of animal rights/liberation. My views expressed here, as in my books and other writings, reflect my understanding that the philosophy of human exceptionalism is the bedrock of universal human rights. Or, to put it another way: human life matters. (The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of any organization with which I am affiliated.)«)
Give Me That New Transhumanist Religion: (»Transhumanism is, in my view, a branch of scientism, that is, a quasi religion that seeks to use science in ways for which the great method is not meant. Here’s a little proof. A transhumanist named Giulio Prisco is optimistic about the future of the great post human movement.»)
With a comment from Giulio Prisco.
Wesley J. Smith is a slasher of transhumanism. Senior Fellow Discovery Institute (Thinktank).
Auf den Webseiten des The Presidents Council of Bioethics (USA) findet sich eine Fülle an Publikationen zur Bioethik, sowie Sitzungsprotokolle. Leonard Kass und Francis Fukuyama dürften die bekanntesten Angehörigen dieses Ausschusses sein. Beide sind Gegner des Human Enhacements und des nichttherapeutischen Eingriffs in die menschliche Keimbahn. Der Transhumanismus richtet sich gegen fast alle durch diesen Ausschuss vertretenen Positionen.
Francis Fukuyama: “Bald schon wird die nachmenschliche Zeit beginnen” (“Essay von Francis Fukuyama, zehn Jahre nach dem von ihm verkündeten Ende der Geschichte.”)
Francis Fukuyama und Robert Wright: What the Law Should Say About Cloning By Francis Fukuyama and Robert Wright
(“A few weeks ago, at a conference in Avesta, Sweden, I saw a speaker pick up your new book, Our Posthuman Future, look at it with theatrical disdain, and toss it onto the floor, as if into a trash heap. The speaker was Max More, leader of the “Extropians,” a group that considers technological progress a nearly unmixed blessing and books like yours an impediment to it.”) Emaildiskussion zwischen Francis Fukuyama und Robert Write.