In reviewing my site, you’ll see that I have a lot of rants about transhumanism. This is a subject that has been percolating among the big thinkers for many decades (Depending on how you define it, it’s actually been speculated about for millennia–at least since the beginning of recorded history.) but in this new century science and technology has advanced to a point where these are no longer idle questions, nightmares and daydreams.
Is it possible to modify the brain so as to enhance human wisdom, assuming we can define it, or at least parts of it, adequately and formally? Is it possible to create superhuman wisdom?
And if we do and can, does that really get us out of the woods? I don’t think so. Because, assuming it’s possible to become superhumanly intelligent and wise, it suggests to me that we’ll only jump outside the current realm and be able to apprehend and comprehend even bigger questions and problems that we can currently understand. There might be some really tough stuff just outside our ken. We think it’s tough being human but, we really don’t have any idea what’s in store for us as we continue to evolve–do we?
Again I have to reach for metaphors because that’s all I’ve got, but think about ants for a moment. It’s probably really tough being an ant. But obviously, from our perspective as large brained mammals with an astoundingly complex culture and society, there are whole realms of problems and issues that are entirely outside the powers of ants to deal with. Ants have no neural hardware to apprehend something like opera for example.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? I’m saying that we will exchange the agony of the human condition for the agony of the posthuman condition. The posthuman agony is an agony we, as humans, have no way of ever understanding. What will superhuman intelligences gripe about? We have no way of knowing. Will they gripe at all? Well, we don’t really know, but biology suggests to me that, yes, they will.