Trans- and Post-humanity
If some of the techniques discussed on the other pages will work, the changes will be profound in all areas. So far most technological and cultural changes have not really changed the "Human Condition" itself. The changes in psychology, culture, social systems and science by the step from current humanity to transhumanity and eventual posthumanity will be staggering, and perhaps even impossible for us to presently understand (see the Singularity Page).
Will transhumanity remain biological, or will it gradually merge with technology into something else? There are countless possibilities: augmented biology, robot bodies housing uploaded minds, minds distributed across computer networks, nanotechnological systems, borganisms and Jupiter brains.
My personal view is that mankind will diversify, splitting off into many directions with different visions and ways of existing. It is quite likely that there will remain essentially unchanged humans, living alongside or in the shade of titanic posthuman beings.
Robots Inherit the Earth? by Marvin Minsky (Scientific American, october
We cannot say much for certain about poshuman beings, since almost by definition they will be much more intelligent and powerful than us, but one can always guess, predict and create scenarios. After all, they will still be bound by the laws of physics and economics.
No doubt these texts will be as funny to read for posthumans as Victorian visions of a future with steam-powered robots and balloon journeys to the Moon are to us.
A possible answer to the Fermi paradox. About
the problem of increasing subjective delays as brains speed up.
J.D. Bernal, The World, The Flesh, The Devil: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul (1929). An early and influential treatment of the possibility of posthumanity.
Most discussion about the far future of humanity has been done as science fiction. Some notable novels with posthumans or posthuman societies are:
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men (1930, many reprints). A classic, even if many of the ideas appear dated today.
David Zindell, Neverness (1990 HarperCollins). In the universe of this novel and the sequels (The Broken God, The Wild and War in Heaven) traditional humans exist in parallel with more or less modified humans, uploads and jupiter brains.
Greg Egan, Diaspora (1997). A detailled and modern description of a posthuman society encompassing several kinds of posthumans.
Anders Sandberg / email@example.com 2000-03-11