Perfect humans are not the goalWednesday, 20 January, 2010
Just a brief post to clear up a misconception. Proponents of human enhancement sometimes are portrayed as if we want to create a race of perfect human beings, or bring everyone closer to an ideal. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth of it is summed up nicely by Kyle Munterick of IEET (See original article by Kyle Munkittrick, titled ‘No concept of “Perfect” in transhumanism’ ):
“Transhumanists and technoprogressives don’t imagine or want a perfect world, they imagine, want, and work towards a world with fewer problems and more choices.”
Enhancement is very much a personal choice – what one person may see as an enhancement, another person may see as detrimental. Proponents of human enhancement simply seek to let every person decide for themselves what they should be.
Furthermore, as I’ve argued previously, it’s actually the opponents of human enhancement that seek to ensure a race of perfect humans. They have a certain idea of what constitutes a perfect human (and it usually is very close to what we already are, with the possible exception perhaps of better health), and seek to ensure that even those who don’t agree with them can never access enhancements. They use loaded phrases like ‘humans are meant to have X’ or ‘without Y, we would no longer be human‘ to construct their perfect human. And the fact they support therapies (reducing disabilities), but not enhancements (adding abilities), proves conclusively that they have a concept of a perfect human being.
In their mind, a perfect human has a genome based on the random reassignment of two (no more or no fewer) other genomes. A perfect human is entirely biological, with no bionics or cybernetics of any kind (except if such are needed for ‘therapeutic use’). A perfect human has two arms and two legs but no wings, no tail, no gills and no scales. A perfect human can only be either male or female, and reproduces only with the opposite sex (and doesn’t reproduce too young or too old). A perfect human has to slip into a state of semi-consciousness every day for approximately eight hours (no more, no less). A perfect human takes a long time to learn new things and eventually forgets. With each passing year, a perfect human gets older (not too quickly, not too slowly) and no later than a century after birth (but not too much earlier), a perfect human dies.
Most proponents of human enhancement don’t just replace this pathetic and outdated idea of perfection with another. We do away with the concept entirely. It’s your body, don’t let anyone else tell you what you can’t do to it. Become what you want to become so that you can be what you want to be. That is human enhancement.