Transhumanism is the idea that technology should be used to fundamentally alter the natural physical, cognitive and psychological limitations of human beings and human Being. DVICE recently published a short list of technologies on the verge of being released that could contribute towards greater integration between the digital and natural worlds.
1. Social Media (extending individual consciousness and communication)
2. Super Wi-Fi (increasing connectivity)
3. Augmented Reality (merging digital and natural worlds)
4. Transparent Displays (improving privacy)
5. Nanocomputing (see below)
6. Retinal Displays (augmented vision)
7. Bionic Limbs (mobility & nervous system)
The potential uses of nanocomputing are very interesting…
In the future we may never need to have surgery again, and biological functions can be monitored in vivid detail and sent to you or your doctor. This will be possible because tiny robots will be living inside of us.
Kidney stones can be obliterated, arteries can be cleaned and wrinkles can be smoothed from the inside thanks to our little robotic friends. Theoretically, these computers could also be used to connect us on an even more intimate scale by being able to broadcast private audio messages directly to our eardrums.
The educational implications of transhumanist technologies like these are profound. Why bother assimilating information if it can be recalled instantly via an augmented reality display on your retina? Why bother having physical institutions if you can take part in learning activities from anywhere?
More generally, the whole nature of human existence might be seen to be changing, and there seems an inevitability to the whole thing. I’m not trying to suggest that this is necessarily bad: more that human beings will inevitably strive to discover new things through the exercise of their reason. But there’s definitely ethical work to be done here so it would be good to know more.