Five guests participated in a roundtable discussion about transhumanism, a movement that looks ahead to augmentation of human capabilities. Author James Gardner, who participated in the entire conversation, argued that we are in the midst of evolution, and the current state of humanity is not a final product. Change is occurring at such an exponential rate, he said, that it is changing the nature of change itself.
Technological change is occurring faster than biological change and humans are running outdated software in their bodies, commented futurist Ray Kurzweil (who appeared during hours 2 & 3). Developments in genetics, nanotechnology and AI are coming at such a rapid rate that within forty years, humans won't be able to keep up unless they merge with the technology, he opined. A diagram of a "trans-post-human" is posted here.
Educator Barbara Marx Hubbard, who participated during the third hour, noted that we're experiencing the evolution of evolution itself, and that for the first time, humans are choosing to consciously evolve. Nanotech expert Philippe Van Nedervelde (part of the 4th hour) warned of "asymmetric destructive capabilities" that allow small groups to kill millions. To counteract this possibility, he suggested airborne nanotech surveillance systems that could constantly monitor environments using "smart dust."
All of the guests will be presenting at TransVision 2007, taking place July 23-25th in Chicago. Conference chairman Charlie Kam (appearing in the second hour) said efforts were made this year to book such guests as William Shatner and Ed Begley Jr. to widen the appeal of the gathering.
First hour guest, Alison Gianotto, the founder of Pet-Abuse.Com, spoke about animal cruelty cases. Abuse occurs for a variety of reasons including retaliation, control, and in cases of pit bull fighting, enhancing one's own aggression, she detailed.
Bumper music from Thursday July 19, 2007