January 25, 2006

Bostrom's letter from utopia

Transhumanist Nick Bostrom has penned a Letter From Utopia. The letter is written from the perspective of a potential future self who hopes that they will be realized in actuality. "I am one of your possible futures," writes the posthuman self, "If all goes well, you will one day become me. If that does happen, then I am not only a possible future of yours but your actual future. In that case, I am a coming phase of you."

He writes that there are three fundamental transformations that describes the journey from humanity to posthumanity:

- Transformation one: Extend your healthy lifespan
- Transformation two: Boost your cognitive capacities
- Transformation three: Elevate your emotional well-being

Bostrom argues that nothing in the laws of nature indicate that posthuman forms and utopian society are impossible. The trick, he says, is to get from here to there without "burning our wings."
I am concerned that the pursuit of utopia could bring out the worst in you. Please take my message in the right spirit. Many a moth has been incinerated in pursuit of a brighter future. Seek the light! But approach with care, and change course if you smell your wingtips burning. Light is for seeing, not dying.
Ultimately, the letter from the future conveys a future that we cannot begin to fathom:
You could say I am happy, that I feel good. You could say that I feel surpassing bliss. But these words are used to describe human experience. What I feel is as far beyond ordinary human feelings as my thoughts are beyond human thoughts. I wish I could show you what I have in mind. If only I could share one second of my conscious life with you! But that is impossible. Your container could not hold even a small splash of my joy, it is that great.
Tags: , , , .

No comments: