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23 February 2020
According to one of the world’s current most prominent transhumanists, new and future technology can one day be used to free humans and animals from suffering by eliminating all of pain, making everything much simpler.
Stemming from the idea of self-improvement, transhumanism is an international philosophical movement that advocates for the human condition’s transformation by enhancing both human physiology and intellect via the use of available sophisticated technologies.
The World Transhumanist Association, since renamed Humanity+, is the main international body that promotes transhumanist ideas all over the world. And now, one of its founders argued that in order to do this, humans and humans must first “end suffering,” which can be achieved by making use of technology to artificially enhance human capabilities and limitations.
“The strand of transhumanism I am most interested in is this idea we can use biotechnology to phase out suffering via genetic engineering, not just in humans but also in non-human animals. Something like cultured meat, for example, twenty years ago was science fiction whereas now we’re seeing the first products,” David Pearce, philosopher and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association, said.
Politically representing the growing movement in Britain, Mr. Pearce also claimed that since founding the movement back in 1998 with Nick Bostrom, it has managed to radically change along with the times, and in a good way as well.
“Back in 1998 the human genome hadn’t been decoded, most talk of super intelligence was of people taking smart drugs and radical life extension was still firmly in the realm of crank ally.
The purely technical obstacles to transhumanism I’d say are diminishing. We are already seeing the first very controversial genome-edited babies in China,” he said. “Twenty years ago that would seem like utopian dreaming.”
However, Mr. Pearce also believes that to explore the possibilities that the movement offers, it will first have to overcome a high status quo bias.
“Even though it is now possible in principle to replace today’s genetic crack shot with designer babies there is tremendous status quo bias and most people will intend to continue having babies naturally,” he added.