August 23, 2004

BH: Transhumanism Evolves in Silence

My latest Transitory Human column has been published in Betterhumans:

Transhumanism Evolves in Silence
TransVision 2004 highlighted both the transhumanist movement's progress and the difficulty of getting people to notice

Sitting in the back row, I couldn't decide if I should focus my attention on the man on stage or the smiles of people in the audience. "We fear what we have always been and what we are becoming," proclaimed the speaker in a lush Australian accent. "We are both cyborgs and zombies."

Speaking while silhouetted ahead of a gigantic screen stood world-renowned performance artist Stelarc. The audience sat completely absorbed, offering their rapt attention. Projected onto the screen was a massive computer-generated prosthetic head—Stelarc's head, given smarts by the ALICE AI software. Audience members eagerly asked the head a number of questions to which it responded in a loud and booming voice—something like Stephen Hawking's speech generator on steroids.

It all seemed larger than life, and after a year of preparations, I could scarcely believe that it was finally happening. The dramatic image of Stelarc standing in front of his prosthetic head while it answered questions on his behalf is one indelibly etched into my mind.
Entire article

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