After posting my earlier blogments on Radical Evolution, I came across this interesting article (titled The Age of Batshit Crazy Machines) questioning the mad rush towards the technological ubermensch (the transhumanist directive). I've quoted a few lines below. Ran Prieur, discussing those who would want to quickly step beyond man to a greater technologically-enhanced overman, chides them, claiming that . . .
. . . they imagine that it is somehow built into history, or even metaphysics . . . . A question they never answer is: why? They seem to believe it's self-justifying, that density/speed of information processing is valuable as density/speed of information processing.
A great point. As the existentialists pointed out so well, "why" is always the difficult question, a question whose answer can never come from an equation or a syllogism but has to come from the gut.
They always claim to represent "evolution," or a "new evolutionary level." But evolution doesn't have levels. Video games have levels.
What does it mean to evolve? Will homo supersapiens look back at us as some silly missing link having all the value of a deformed cockroach. Ran questions the very notion of "progress."
"Progress" has not only been bad for the biosphere -- it's been bad for the human condition . . . We declare our lives better than theirs in terms of our own cultural values. If medieval people could visit us, I think they would be impressed by our advances in alcohol, pornography, and sweet foods, and appalled at our biophobia, our fences, the lifelessness of our physical spaces, the meaninglessness and stress of our existence, our lack of practical skills, and the extent to which we let our lords regulate our every activity.
So what does it mean to progress and evolve? Is it possible to kickstart human evolution, to somehow use our current state as a bridge to something better--and not just better in terms of memory bytes or some arbitrary quantitative measure but better in a deeper spiritual sense?