Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Stepping into a new skin, Transhuman style.

A few thoughts on #transhumanism / #cyberhumanism / #posthumanism / #hplus 

[Transhumanism / Cyberhumanism / Posthumanism / H+] WIP

So, I've been thinking this over for a while, and I've come up with some thoughts on what it'd require to become a true trans/posthuman or cyberhuman-being. Ignoring the cost side of it, since I don't have any kind of estimates or information on that side of the proverbial coin. I can say that I suspect the cost would not be insignificant.

Ok, so on with the show, as it were:

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to wake up as something beyond Human? Are you one of those people who are interested in knowing where Humanity might go next in terms of our evolution? Have you ever sat and tried to figure out what a being like that would look like and how it would work? I don't know the answers to those questions, but here is my viewpoint on several aspects of what it would take to create a true Transhuman being. Enjoy, and don't be afraid to comment below. All I ask is that commentary be kept civil, as I reserve the right to delete offensive comments without warning.

First, we'd need a good strong skeleton to build on.
My suggestion would be, as anyone keeping up on materials science would guess, carbon nanotube construction. They're very light and extremely strong, especially considering that once we figure them out and how to work with them, we can use them to build our first functional space elevator. Carbon nanotubes would allow us to be stronger than we could ever hope to be with our current bone-based skeletal structure. CNT construction would also make ‘bone’ breakage a rare thing. Although if ‘bone’ breakage does happen, since we’ve upgraded, we would only need to repair or replace the affected part, or parts.

On top of this CNT skeletal structure, we'd need an optical nervous system. 
Since nothing travels faster than light, we can enhance our reflexes and control by a considerable margin.

Alongside the optical nervous system, we'd need to have an advanced musculoskeletal system.
Our muscles (including the heart and other types of muscle) would perhaps be activated by pulses of light energy. This, along with our super-fast nervous system, would allow us to move and react hundreds or thousands of times faster than we can now. How would we seal off the nerves from outside light sources? I would suspect a thin coating of a flexible, durable and opaque material would suffice. Any suggestions as to that material would be welcome.

Now you’re probably (and justfiably) wondering about things like our internal organs.
Well, our human body needs separate and distinct organs to provide separate and distinct functions. If it didn’t, we would probably have one ‘super-organ’ in our torso that handled perhaps everything but thinking, breathing, heartbeat/blood circulation and waste elimination. Since a transhuman / posthuman / cyberhuman (henceforth referred to collectively as “H+”) may not have need of certain types of human organs, they probably wouldn’t have them. For example, the kidneys, liver and spleen would be unnecessary in a creature built of technology (unless that creature were intended to be able to process food and drink like a flesh-based human.) Something like a heart might be needed in order to emulate a heartbeat, and to circulate some sort of fluid through ‘blood vessels’ in order to accurately simulate a human body temperature. Something like lungs might be needed in order to mimic breathing and to help with modulating speech, and to also act as a resonance chamber, in order to help to make the voice more human-like. The pseudo-lungs might also have a thermoregulation function as well, which may also be shared with the skin.

What about the brain?
My thinking, so to speak, is that we could take advantage of a kind of advanced neural-net whose structure is based on the same type of three-dimensional grid layout as our brain, and whose ‘operating system’ is the same overall one that our human brains may have. Research hasn’t yet gotten far enough to tell us if our brain has an operating system upon which all of its functions run. If not, then I suspect that emulating the structure, and finding where every bit of data (and other functions) are stored in our human brain is then transferring all of that over to the neural-net, might just be enough to ‘awaken’ that neural-net, and thus, perhaps another ‘us’ or to be somewhat more emphatic about it, another ‘me’. This is all very much hypothetical and 'what-if' at this stage, but it's interesting to me to think about and mull over in my head.

How about that which separates us from the rest of our world? Our skin.
Our skin provides us with a massive amount of data every day. So, we want to keep that source of input, and we want to emulate that as closely as possible, right down to temperature sensitivity, texture, elasticity and deep sensation (that feeling you get whenever you move a limb or press lightly into your arm or some other spot, the fact that you can feel pressure and other sensory data not just at the surface of your skin, but inside the physical structure of, say, your arm, your torso, your more private areas, etc.)



Well, so far, this is just a rough draft of where I want to take this line of thinking. Any constructive comments are welcome. I would also welcome my fellow HPlussers to help me to ‘formalize’ this document into an overall picture of what it might be like to be ‘upgraded’ into an H+.

Thank you for reading. :)
Brian E Turner MKI ;)

Waiting patiently for an upgrade

Here is my Google Docs version.


  1. Fortunately, there is technology being built by what we would consider to be mad scientists that wish to extend life into immortality by transferring their mind from their brain as a download to a computer system that would be able to allow the person to have concious thought and continue "living" as a cybernetic being.

    The whole breathing aspect would most likely to be keep the H+ being cooled down from it's mechanical components so that it doesn't over heat, additionally will allow it to vent should it need. The "blood" system would be correct in the sence that it could very likely need lubing and greases which would be able to keep a steady supply of replinishable oils and greases so that it's joints and moving parts remain in good working order.

    The brain is the trickiest part I believe in a sense that we still don't know exactly how to do this seeing as how the brain is capable of housing terabytes of information. Though the scientist idea of this model would be to essentially recreate a synthetic brain based on how that particular individuals brain is developed on the cellular level and simply recreate that complete structure before uploading the mind into it.

    Sounds like a spiffy idea. My best thought, however, is mostly based on Professor Kevin Warwick, a currently living, breathing cyborg. I would implant the device into the brain itself giving it wireless capabilities and storage with the intent of wirelessly controlling mechanical devices as well as being able to browse the internet, download information for mental abosrption and increase overall mental capacity. Additionally if one is capable of accessing cloud based computing and storage alongside the local storage inplanted in the brain itself, one could potentially be able to solve astronomical mathematics in their head and have near limitless capabilities of knowledge creating super intelligent beings.

    This could potentially create a sort of hive mind intelligence in which if someone figures out some new and really awesome stuff that the rest of the world will be able to instantly share this same knowledge with them and be able to build upon it in a sort of super intelligent, high speed, cloud based hive mind intellects.

    This could also leave potential for solving things such as being able to crack immortality, transferring the human mind into a machine (also storable in the cloud) etc.

    With this addition making a human 2.0 as I'd like to call it, if one were to die, their mind can be downloaded to the cloud and then later implanted into a cybernetic being such as your H+.

    Just a thoughtful addition I thought you'd be interested in.

  2. Overall I'd have to give your ideas a definite nod. The one thing that I'm not overly comfortable with is the shared mind thing. That begs the question of where individual and hive mind blur together. How do you know that you're 'you' so to speak. How do you know that your thoughts are really yours, instead of having originated in some other mental corner of the hive mind? More interestingly; does that matter? Is it time for humanity to give up most of their individuality for the sake of the greater good; the creation of a super-mind? Can we let go of out petty differences so as to create the greatest thing that humanity is ever likely to create? Also, just to be silly, will it scale if we decide to leave this world to explore the rest of our galaxy? Perhaps others? Can we literally take it with us?

    Interesting ideas Glenn. Can't wait to hear from you on anything else :)

    1. It can potentially be a whole hive mind rather than being allowed individuality I would suppose, however the best method for this would be to allow each individual to be able to access this information at will, much like an overall archive that each person contributes to when they themselves want to. It can go both ways.

      I'm honestly comfortable with the idea of having a whole hive mind as it is for the greater good of humanity overall. However, should we start exploring the cosmos itself, it's possible to take the hive mind with us and stay connected over great distances theoretically, but this starts delving into the realm of quantum mechanics I would think.

      This technology could potentially go multiple ways to be brutally honest. Complete hive mind or hive mind at will. I'm personally for the latter of having hive minds at will.

    2. I can see the HMAW option being useful. It'd almost be something along the lines of Asimov's vision of Gaia, which he outlined in a couple of his Foundation books (Foundation's Edge and I think a later one, can't recall the name.)

      Regarding the Quantum Mechanics side of things. If the hive mind can take advantage of Quantum Entanglement and find a way to use that to transmit data/information, then that's the starting point for a truly 'universal' mind.

      I know that so far we can currently 'teleport' things like light, and I seem to recall small amounts of matter as well. If we can use that to translate the light or matter into a 1 or 0 state, then there's the underpinning for instant communications. I don't know if that's possible now, or if it ever will be. But again, if so, then that's a starting point. Otherwise, if transferring information by that means turns out to be impossible, I don't know of any alternatives that could fill that job. Thus making a 'universal consciousness' all but impossible.


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