Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Earlier this year, transhumanity.net held a contest to update the original Transhumanist Manifesto written by Max More and others in the 1980s. I entered, but did not win (I was third place, although numbers 1 and 2 tied in the voting, which means I was really number 2). So here it is. The original is a classic and I do not mean to usurp its place in the canon. This is just my take on it.
The Transhumanist Declaration
Preamble: We, the sentient beings of the Planet Earth, in order to form a more perfect society, enhance the human condition, build toward a rational future, and plan for any eventualities, do hereby adopt and abide by this Declaration of Transhumanist Principles.
1 The Twentieth Century was a time of amazing growth and technological advancement. The Twenty-First Century will see these technologies burst forth in an unprecedented fashion. Humanity must adapt to the coming changes or become obsolete. We seek to fulfill our potential by not giving in to our biological limitations. We will use new technologies to enhance our lives, live longer, be smarter, healthier and more compassionate to all beings.
2 All progress is change, but not all change is progress. Humanity has great potential for good, but has sadly shown that it lacks the wisdom to be responsible with new technologies. The right technology in the wrong hands could lead to the loss of everything we hold valuable. We acknowledge these risks and pledge to be wise and responsible with our discoveries.
3 Research into new technologies that could enhance our lives should be carefully deliberated and transparent to all outsiders. The adoption of these new technologies should be universal and fair. We must always be aware of reducing existential risks and promoting beneficial applications of new discoveries. The continued existence of our species, in whatever form it takes, should be our top priority, and all research into these fields should be heavily funded.
4 Our greatest responsibility is not to ourselves, but to our descendants. All social policies, politics, economics, technologies, education, and other important fields must be guided by responsible persons who have shown themselves to have the wisdom to lead in the best interests of the majority of the people. No other considerations shall interfere with this most important belief.
5 We advocate the well-being of all sentient minds. Whether human, non-human, post-human, animal, or artificial, now and hereafter, the sentient mind is the most sacred thing in this vast universe. No sentient mind should ever be subject to pain, despair, prejudice or unwanted attack. Individuals must be allowed personal choice to live their lives as they see fit while not infringing upon the rights of others to do likewise. We favor the ability of a sentient being to enhance their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves in any way, including life extension therapies, reproductive choice, gender reassignment, body modification, mind-duplication, the right to choose the way in which they die, and any or all other decisions that no other being should be allowed to make for them.
6 This Declaration is not rigid. It will evolve and adapt along with us.