The Transhumanist Responsibility

With transhumanism under fire in Missouri, I recently discussed the issue with family members. I wrote a couple things that summarize the difference between the beliefs of transhumanists and their critics:

“[M]y only respect and support is for life, sentient or not, physically immortal or not, technologically enhanced or not. I have rarely been patriotic and if this means I need to move from the United States to another country that supports basic human rights – including the right to choose technology as I see fit to modify or enhance my body – then I will do so happily.

“The right to choose technology also includes the right not to choose technology. Therefore, the responsibility of transhumanists is far greater than critics of transhumanists can every claim: in seeking modification and enhancement, transhumanists must fully support and protect those who do not seek modification and enhancement. ”

The debate over transhumanism already rages, despite the lack of awareness in the general public. As advanced technologies of human modification and enhancement become available in the next few years and the topic begins to show up in popular discussion, the debate over their use and accessiblity will inevitably turn violent. I hope that transhumanists understand their responsibility now, and can somehow prepare for the day when so many turn against them. Any response must remain true to the tenants of transhumanism, or all transhumanist efforts will have been in vain.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), his Micro.blog (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).