What is Transhumanism?
Transhumanism is a type of humanism related to secular humanism. It is a philosophy of science which seeks to transform the human (Homo sapiens) condition by biological and technological means into a post-human (Homo excelsior) status. Using genetic, cybernetic and psychopharmacological enhancements, we can speciate into something more than human. (FTT)
Transhumanists are also, on the whole, humanists. As humanists, we believe that humans should be allowed to develop their full human capacities and that we should apply rational methods to improve the human condition rather than expecting that some deity will do the job for us. From humanism we also inherit, I think, the idea that divisions based on race, nationality, religion etc. are secondary and that primarily we are humans and should strive to cooperate internationally for peace and prosperity. Tolerance, freedom of thought and speech, human rights, believing in the importance of both art and science, and the ideal of "one world" are other core humanist values that transhumanists share. (Nick Bostrom)
Transhumanism is humanism without the limits imposed by a narrow definition of "human." Why must a humans die? Why must humans feel pain? Why must a human be made of flesh? These are the questions that transhumanists ask each other and themselves every day, and the questions that humanists gave up on millennia ago. (Greg Burch)
The accelerating pace of technological development and scientific understanding
of the human animal is creating the possibility of a whole new stage in
the history of the human race. In the very near future we will face
the prospect of such technologies as real artificial intelligence, new
kinds of cognitive tools that combine artificial intelligence with new
interface technology, powerful new molecular biological engineering and
non-biological molecular nanotechnology. The consequences of these
developments will include the prospect of meaningful augmentation of the
human being in fundamental ways. Realistic possibilities flowing
from these developments include significant increases in human mental and
physical power and vastly extended life spans. They also include
the possibility of great harm to human life as we know it. Even though
these are extreme possibilities, they are taken seriously by an increasing
number of scientists and scientifically literate
philosophers and social thinkers. (Greg Burch)
Post-humans could be completely synthetic or they could be the result
of extending a biological human's capacities with many partial augmentations.
In either case, a post-human would be a "higher" life form than humans,
in the same sense as a human could be said to be higher than an ape. More
specifically, this means that a post-human may have a greatly expanded
intellect and memory;
an indefinite life span; the ability to choose its own mental states and emotions. Also exosomatic ("outside-the-body") improvements count, such as rapid access to databases or networks containing huge landscapes of ideas and information; high bandwidth communication links with other post-humans (almost like a computing network); and advanced manufacturing technologies for building physical structures. (source uncertain)
Most transhumanists think it is impossible to fully imagine what post-humans would do or what it would be like be a post-human -- just as non-human primates cannot begin to fathom the complexity of human affairs. (source uncertain)
Isn't death part of the natural order of things?
Humans are part of nature broadly defined. It is our nature to modify our environment for our better survival and prosperity. All animals try to so modify their environment by storing food, building nests, burrowing holes or simply grassing food, etc. Earthquakes, tornadoes, disease, predation, starvation and death are all natural. Nature is not essentially good or bad but is morally neutral. Human reason must decide what is good and what is bad based on their survival and prosperity needs. (FTT)
Won't extended life spans cause overpopulation
Human populations will continue to grow regardless. What longer lifetimes will allow for is the longer term projects such as the populating of new lands (nova terra) for the expansion of human (and post-human) populations (FTT)
The typical pattern with new technologies is that they are expensive
in the beginning and become cheaper as time goes by. In the medical
field, for example, experimental procedures are usually only available
to research subjects and the very rich. As these procedures become routine,
the cost of the procedures decreases, and more people gain access to them.
In the field of consumer electronics, the price of advanced computers and
calculators drops as more complicated models are designed. It is
clear that everybody can benefit greatly from improved technology.
In the beginning, perhaps the greatest advantage will go to those who have
the resources, the knowledge and especially the willingness to learn to
use new tools. Each society will still face the decision of how to
address inequalities between its richer and poorer members; in that respect
the situation will be no different from today. Yet, the pie that is to
be divided will be enormously much greater. Transhumanists encourage
every society to embrace new technologies, as this will allow every human
to progress beyond their present level. Many groups have arisen to
address the problem of distributing technology to undeveloped areas, such
as the 'freenet' movement that is working to provide Internet
access to communities that presently cannot afford to install access. Many transhumanists work in the field of science policy and support. (Nick Bostrom)
What kind of society would post-humans live in?
Post-humans will likely live in a technologically advanced, democratic, capitalistic society where personal freedoms are respected. In short a society similar to that in the industrialized, information based societies typical of the United States, Europe, Japan and many other such countries around the world. (FTT)
The type of society that post-humans would develop does depend on the type of post-human that evolves from present-day humans. We can speculate as to how a post-human might interact with humans, providing that a post-human would want to interact with humans at all, but it is difficult to imagine how a society of post-humans might conduct their lives. Any construction of a post-human society would be based on our experiences and desires as humans, or as transhumans, and we cannot depend on those experiences or desires having any relevance to a post-human. As the seeds of a posthumanity develop, some of us hope to have the opportunity to observe their interactions with humans, Transhumans, and other post-humans, from which we might formulate an idea of what kind of post-human society would develop. (Kathryn Aegis)
technologies environmentally sound?
Probably, they are certainly our best hope. Transhumanist technologies have the potential to preserve existing ecosystems. Reasonable non-Transhuman extrapolations of existing human culture have little chance of reserving the current ecosystem. (Dan Clemmensen)
Isn't Transhumanism tampering with nature?
"Tampering with nature" either means modifying our environment which is natural for us and all other animals as stated earlier. As far as self modification, this process has been going on since medical men and women have tried to heal sick people. The disease of aging may be natural but so is our evolutionary instinct to counter it in favor of our own survival. (FTT)
Transhumanists reject a bright line between "man" and "nature": From
its beginnings, the development of our species has been a process of positive
feedback with our technology, broadly defined as those created tools we
use that are not part of our simple genetically endowed physical structure
behavioral repertoire. From the time of the simplest stone tools and most primitive linguistic constructs, humanity has been engaged in extending its capacities through the use of increasingly powerful "artificial" tools. Thus, "tampering with nature" is the very thing that makes us human. Transhumanists simply seek to continue that process -- wisely -- onto a new level of sophistication. (Greg Burch)
Won't Transhuman technologies make us inhuman?
Transhuman technologies in environmental and self modification will improve our condition so that we may become something better. We as humans (Homo sapiens) will become post-humans (Homo excelsior?) much as Homo habilis and Homo erectus before us. (FTT)
Do you believe in God?
Beliefs in anything should be based on evidence. As a metaphysical assumption, conventional monotheism is beyond evidence and cannot be proven or disproved. Such a deity is supposed to exist prior to and be creator of the Universe and thus is outside of the Universe. As such nothing in the Universe can provide evidence for that which exists outside of it. Since the existence of such a monotheistic deity is unknowable even in principle an agnostic position is more reasonable than either a theistic or atheistic position. Efforts at the improving and transforming of the human condition based on factual evaluation of evidence will be far more fruitful than empty debate about this historically contentious and often culturally bound metaphysical question. (FTT)
So you think technology will solve all problems?
Science and the technologies can solve material questions only based on the study of physics, chemistry, biology and related natural sciences. Cultural problems of misunderstandings among ethnic/subcultural groups within a society or the intercultural disputes between societies can be remedied or improved by empathy and the social sciences. (FTT)
Technology will not solve any problem. What technology will do is give
us increasingly powerful tools that humans can use to solve most any material
problem (including giving abundant wealth to everybody) - provided we have
the foresight to take the necessary safety measures, and provided we are
cooperative enough that we don't use the new technologies to wage war against
These are big ifs, and they indicate that the greatest difficulty we will face is not technological or scientific. Hard as the technical obstacles are, they will almost certainly be overcome sooner or
later. Technological development is pretty much going in a transhumanist direction by its own momentum. The really tricky part will be political. Can people around the world and their leaders
muster enough foresight and cooperation to pass and enforce international agreements that will prevent hostile military applications? Or at least delay them until effective defense systems have been developed? Nobody knows, but our survival might depend on it. (Nick Bostrom)
Shouldn't we concentrate on current problems like
improving the condition of the poor people or solving international conflicts
instead of putting effort into foreseeing the "far" future?
The natural sciences can best address the longer range problems of the human condition. The social sciences can help address the other problems combined with the direct efforts of relief agencies which should continue. In short both endeavors are very important for humanity's future in the short and long term. (FTT)
What evidence is there that it will happen?
Many trends and successes suggest that continued genetic and cybernetic enhancements are possible. The artificial heart, bionic or artificial limbs, organ transplantation between humans and the initial successes in trans-species xenotransplantation suggest both the technological and biological approaches are working. Gene therapy successes are very direct evidence that increased genetic enhancement of humans will also continue especially through the recently invented human artificial chromosome (HAC) which can safely deliver corrected or beneficial genes to every cell of the body. (FTT)
Many of the developments that transhumanists discuss are already happening: e.g. the Internet, imperfect mood drugs, genetic engineering and advanced medicine are part of today's reality. Some are near future developments that nobody really doubts will happen: it is obvious (barring a major cataclysm) that we will have faster computers that will support some forms of virtual reality; wearable computers; neurological prostheses; much more powerful genetic engineering tools that will make it possible to choose many traits of our offspring; improved mood drugs; advanced collaborative information filtering structures on the Internet, etc.
As for superintelligence and nanotechnology, see the questions about these. When these two technologies are developed, it will be possible to cheaply manufacture most material structures that are compatible with physical law. Thus, it should be feasible to: colonize the universe by sending out self replicating probes; upload biological brains; reanimate cryonics patients; experience full-blown virtual reality; have control over our emotions and mental states - which means that boredom and suffering could be replaced by a sense of deep meaningfulness and excitement, for example.
There is a non-physical soul and therefore some
transhumanist issues are bound to fail (uploading, conscious, AI).
Studies of neural damage in neurosurgery wards throughout the world suggest that all functions of the human "spirit" or mind are localized within the brain. Even the general mental activities of the mind have been mapped to very specific regions of the brain's neuroanatomy. Neurophysiologists have shown that thought and memory are electrochemical in nature and have detailed much about exactly how this happens. Though the brain is extremely complex, given enough time in terms of many decades or at lest centuries, enough knowledge is likely to accumulate to allow for the successful transfer of biological awareness to a similar noncarbon substrate such as silicon and the self-awareness of advanced parallel processing computers as well. Eventually though Artificially Intelligent (AI) computers may be some of us or our descendant post-humans. (FTT)
What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level. In the future molecular manufacturing by self replicating robots making houses, space ships, etc. is often cited as the goal of nanotechnology. Current research in nanotechnology though seems to focus on applications of it in quantum supercomputing with microscopic CPUs, memory chips and possibly microscopic nanomachines to make cellular repairs in medicine. Such things as the Gene Chip from Affymetrix and the Bucky Balls (C60) are often considered current discoveries credited to nanotechnological studies. (FTT)
Uploads could live in an artificial reality (i.e. constructed
computer simulated environment). An option would be to have robot bodies
and sensors so they can resume their lives in physical reality.
The subjective time of uploads would depend on how fast the computers are on which they are running. Uploads could be distributed over vast computer networks and they could make frequent backup copies of themselves. This should make it possible for uploads indefinite life spans.
Uploads could subsist on a very small amount of resources compared to a biological human, since they don't need physical food or shelter or transportation. Uploads could reproduce extremely quickly (simply by making copies of themselves). This implies that resources could quickly become scarce unless reproduction is limited. (Nick Bostrom)
Sometimes a distinction is made between weak and strong superintelligence. Weak superintelligence is what you would get if you could run a human like brain at an accelerated clock speed, perhaps by uploading a human onto a computer [see "What is uploading?"] If the upload's clock rate is a thousand times that of a biological human brain, it would perceive reality as being slowed down by a factor of thousand. This means it could think a thousand times more thoughts in a given time than its natural counterpart. (Nick Bostrom)
Strong superintelligence denotes an intellect that is not only faster
than a human brain but also qualitatively superior. Not matter how
much you would speed up a dog brain, you would not get a
human equivalent brain. Similarly, some people think that there could be strong superintelligence that no human brain could match no matter fast it runs. The distinction between weak and strong superintelligence may, however, not be at all clear-cut. (Nick Bostrom)
Many (but by no means all) transhumanists think that superintelligence will be created in the first half of the next century. This requires two things: hardware and software. When chip manufacturers plan new products, they rely on a regularity called "Moore's law". It states that processor speed doubles about every eighteen months. Moore's law has been true for all computers, even going back to the old mechanical calculators. If it continues to hold true for a few decades then human equivalent hardware will have been achieved. Moore's law is mere extrapolation, but the conclusion is supported by more direct considerations based on what is physically possible and what is being developed in the laboratories today. Increased parallelization would also be a way to achieve enough computing power even without faster processors. (Nick Bostrom)
As for the software problem, progress in computational neuroscience will teach us about the computational architecture of the human brain and what learning rules it uses. We can then implement the same algorithms on a computer. Using a neural network approach we would not have to program the superintelligence: we could make it learn from experience exactly like a human child. A possible alternative to this route is to use perhaps genetic algorithms and some methods from classical AI to create a superintelligence that may not bear a close resemblance to human brains. (Nick Bostrom)
The arrival of superintelligence will clearly deal a philosophical blow to any anthropocentric world view. Much more important, however, are the practical ramifications. Creating superintelligence is the last invention that humans will ever need to make, since superintelligences could themselves take care of further scientific and technological development more efficiently than humans could. The human species will no longer be the smartest life form in the known universe. (Nick Bostrom)
The prospect of superintelligence raises many big issues and concerns that need to be thought hard about now, before the actual developments occur. The big question is: what can be done to maximize the chances that the arrival of superintelligences will benefit humans rather than harm them? The range of expertise needed to address this question extend far beyond that of computer scientists and AI researchers. Neuroscientists, economists, cognitive scientists, philosophers, sociologists, science fiction writers, military strategists, politicians and legislators and many others will have to pool their insights in order to deal wisely with what may be the most important task the human species will ever face. Transhumanists tend to want to grow into and become superintelligences themselves. The two ways in which they hope to do this are: (1) Through gradual augmentation of their biological brains, perhaps using nootropics, cognitive techniques, IT tools (e.g. wearable computers, smart agents, information filtering systems, visualization software etc.), and, in the future, neuro-chip interfaces and bionic brain implants. (2) Through mind uploading. (Nick Bostrom)
What is the Singularity?
The Singularity is a concept borrowed from astrophysics and applied to participant evolution. The Singularity is when our current concepts and definitions of "life", "consciousness", "intelligence", etc. which we apply to our selves and our surroundings will no longer be valid. For example, a conscious computer as in Artificial Intelligence (AI) would make our standard definition of consciousness, intelligence and life difficult to explain. Especially if this aware computer can copy itself (as we do software today) and thus replicate and even modify its own programs then this is replication and "genetic" variation and thus Artificial Life (AL). Similarly, as we augment out own intelligence with psychopharmaceuticals, neurotrophic factors etc. we will likely have an experience of awareness and intelligence and even of life that is difficult and probably impossible to predict or even describe. As in the Event Horizon at the edge of a Black Hole, what we know breaks down. A Black Hole is caused by a Singularity and thus dramatic changes from a human to a post-human will be analogous to such a Singularity. (FTT)
These new technologies will be used in war and may cause our extinction.
That such nanotechnologies are and will continue to be developed is a given. That we need to monitor and direct that development to avoid malevolent uses of technology should be equally compelling. (FTT)
Some transhumanist ideas focus on the development of technology, but the development of humans themselves also represents an important area within transhumanist thought. We think that each human has the ability to choose positive change, and new technologies can provide the opportunity for many humans to live with more individual freedom and to break away from oppressive governments. If we look at history, from ancient times to the present, we can see a general trend away from brute force and towards cooperation between individuals and between societies. We can also see a trend of using technologies previously used in war to support peaceful and educational activities. The Internet itself originally developed as a part of the military infrastructure, but now its primary use is to support research and personal communication in every field of human endeavor. Although war remains a brutal reality in our world today, more humans have chosen to support increased economic trade and communication between all nations. Transhumanists support the continued use of new technology in ways that will benefit all humans, not just those who seek to gain power by means of force. (Kathryn Aegis)
How will superintelligent machines treat us humans?
We expect that such machines will behave in the same rational, ethical manner that their inventors/creators do. (FTT)
All these transhumanist issues will not happen
within a hundred years. They will take more like a thousand years. (MNT
<molecular nanotechnology>, Uploading)
The time scales of developments in science and technology are getting shorter not longer. Though the exact chronology of future events is not known, the forecasting, monitoring and directing of those events to reach the soonest and best possible outcome is the primary emphasis in Transhumanism. (FTT)
Considerations about what is permitted by physical laws can tell us what is in principle possible. Theoretical exploration of plausible design paths can be used to make a case that certain technologies, such as nanotechnology, will eventually be practically feasible. It is harder, however, to argue rigorously for when this will happen. The uncertainty in the time scale is partly due to our ignorance of exactly how hard some developments will be, and partly to the fact that the speed of progress in a specific area depends on how much resources are made available, which in turn is determined by hard-to-predict social and economic factors.
Most transhumanists think that superintelligence and nanotechnology
will both happen in less than a hundred years, and many believe that they
will happen well within the first third of the next century.
(Some reasons for believing this are outlined in the sections about these two technologies, respectively.) Once there is both nanotechnology and superintelligence, a wide range of special
applications should swiftly follow.
Many transhumanist goals can and are successfully pursued with currently available tools. There is not a sharp distinction between transhumanist prospects and other worthwhile goals. Humans have always endeavored to improve things, including themselves. Transhumanists just want to continue this process of human self augmentation, even to the point where we will redefine some of the features and boundaries that are currently seen as fundamental to human nature.
What if it doesn't work?
Transhumanist trends are already working as examples above illustrate. (FTT)
Then we would presumably back to status quo. But the issue is not whether it will work so much as what will work and how and when. With many potentially transforming technologies already available and others uncontroversial on the line, it is clear that there will be large scope for human self augmentation.
As for the more superlative Transhuman technologies, such as nanotechnology
and superintelligence, they are reachable through several independent paths.
If one path turns out to be blocked, we can
try another. This adds to the likelihood that it will be possible to reach the target.
If nevertheless for some unforeseen reason we can't develop molecular nanotechnology and superhuman artificial intelligence, and not the things that these technologies would make possible - uploading, reanimation of cryonics patients, indefinite life spans etc. - that would be disappointing. We could find some solace however in all the useful things that we would no doubt have discovered on the journey: new tools for genetic engineering, mood drugs, information technology, faster computers, new useful chemicals, new medicines and organ transplantation techniques, more compact computer memories. And in other areas of life and science the field of possibilities would still be wide open
Is Transhumanism a cult/religion?
Transhumanism is a philosophy of science NOT a religion. "Cults" (as defined by sociologists) are religious sects that show blind obedience to a single authority and eschew connections with the outside world . Religion and philosophy take different routes to satisfy the drive for meaning in life. Transhumanist philosophy (as any complete philosophy) can replace the need for religion in one's life. (FTT)
What makes Transhumanism different from other
philosophies, movements or religions?
Transhumanism weds theory with action, the abstract with the concrete. As a philosophy of science it is both speculative as philosophy and self-correcting as science. Unlike previous philosophies and religions in human history, it has a very concrete and realistic yet bold, ideal and futuristic vision for the next stage in human biological evolution on Earth in our solar system today and tomorrow. (FTT)
Isn't Transhumanism old hat? Sure, it's a new
name, but basically, hasn't the philosophy been around a long time?
Transhumanist longings and yearnings for a better existence and to improve upon what he or she finds in life are as old as the human condition. The concrete and detailed goals and plans of where to go and how to get there are rather new in human history. Accordingly, the name Transhumanism has only recently arrived in the English language. It might not yet have even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary but at lest will in time. (FTT)
What prominent thinkers are associated with Transhumanism?
(This is not the same as "Who is prominent within Transhumanism?")
John Brockman who founded the Edge Foundation and the Reality Club and authored The Third Culture is associated with Transhumanism. Many if not all of the people in his anthology also are.
Several books such as Last Flesh: Life in the Transhuman Era and Create/Recreate also give insight into this. Certainly K. Eric Drexler inventor of the idea of nanotechnology and founder of the Foresight Institute is also. (FTT) Historically, such persons as Epicurus, Hume, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, and FM-2030 are. (Geoff Smith) Some antecedents of Transhumanism include Pico Della Mirandola, Leonardo Da Vinci, Erasmus, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, John Von Neuman, and James Watson and Francis Crick. Foundations of Transhumanist thought include Aldous Huxley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, FM-2030, Richard Dawkins. Explorers with the Transhumanist spirit are Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Robert Goddard, Robert Heinlein in the past and definitely include Marvin Minsky, Hans Moravec and Frank Tipler. (Greg Burch)
The list is very long and will be added to as time passes. (FTT)
Is there Transhumanist art?
Yes. Any art that tends to express Transhumanist ideas is considered by most to be Transhumanist art. Transhumanist art tends to be particularly open to technological means of expression such as multimedia components, synthesizers, digitally enhanced photography, etc. It is sometimes appears related to Futurist art or that of science fiction but is intended to depict or express the hopes, goals and ideals of the Transhumanist artist him or her self.
How could I become a post-human?
Participation in Transhumanist activities is the best way to become posthuman. Possible actions include: joining Transhumanist mailing lists, reading related books, joining and participating in societies such as the World Transhumanist Association and the Extropy Institute, attending annual meetings of such societies such as TransVision and EXTRO. (FTT)
Because the circumstances of life are unpredictable, to increase the
likelihood that you become a post-human I also suggest the following:
Changing your life insurance policy to include coverage or at least $100,000 (which is standard), the beneficiary of the policy to a cryonics company such as Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Cryonics Institute, CryoCare or Trans Time, signing up for such a service to make the "anatomical donation" of your self available to them, setting up a trust fund possibly for your re-entry and letting any family and/or friends that you trust know of your intentions. (FTT)
The possibility of success (in cryonics) is too
The chances are constantly improving as cryobiologists continue their research as efforts such as the Prometheus Project promote the application of such research to mainstream clinical application of cryonics procedures and techniques. Certainly, the healthier you stay and the longer you live the better your chances become. However, those chances in participation in post-humanity are vastly greater than zero. Zero chances results when you simply give up, die and decompose. (FTT)
Will the people of the future be interested in
Your family, friends and descendants will be interested in reviving you. Others who might know you through stories carried down from your family and friends will also. Keeping a diary/log book or a video history of your self, your life and that of your friends would act as an external time capsule or archive of your extended memory over time. Genealogical research may also give you and your descendants a greater sense of connectedness to you. Not only will these things increase their interest in reviving you, they will give you more friends once you do re-enter the sentient state. (FTT)
What recent progress has been made towards Transhumanist
Many advances in cloning, body transplantation, organ generation, gene therapy, cryobiology, neuroscience, neurosurgical imaging, nanoscale computing, etc. show trends in the Transhumanist direction. (FTT)
What might be the future of human reproduction?
Without identifying physical characteristics, the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual would cease to exist. In fact, whom would be attracted to whom and how they would or could possibly consummate such an attraction is a huge and baffling mystery, admitting of much fanciful speculation, but no answers.
We can look at how current intentional-but-genderless entities get attracted
to each other, form unions and produce offspring. Look at corporations,
research groups, and communities. (Also, memetic evolution, genetic algorithms,
etc.) It's all there already, with all purposes - economy, exploration,
and fun. One can still find analogies with sexual reproduction here in
terms of gender, courting, intercourse, birth, and child raising, but I
believe there are certain limits beyond which such analogies shouldn't
be stretched. Interestingly enough, most of intentional reproduction is
already non-sexual, and sex is no longer necessary for even its original
purpose - to produce human offspring. It will probably be considered
reckless in the near future, to produce children by blind combinations
of genes, without first running the new DNA through at least a medical
check-up. So it looks like sex and genders have a very limited future.
(Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko)
What kinds or Transhumanist
transformations might occur? How can these be understood in relation to
our current species? (What is a possible taxonomic structure?)
[Note: much of the context of this question and its response came from Doug Bailey and Alan Grimes. The exact wording is from FTT.]
Our current species Homo sapiens is likely to be transformed first genetically by gene therapy (as has occurred a few times in clinical/experimental trials). As long as such creatures can procreate and interbreed with humans, the central criterion of speciation, these creatures remain Homo sapiens although they may qualify as a subspecies Homo sapiens excelsior. Once human artificial chromosomes (HUC) are used to introduce entire suites of genetic programming the likely effect is to make interbreeding difficult or impossible. At this point according to taxonomic rules, the organism is a new species, Homo excelsior. Cybernetic enhancements, if they do not interface directly with the organism in a essential way could be Homo cyberneticus. Those that incorporate Silicon chips into their brain as coprocessors or encyclopedic memory chips would be Homo biocyberneticus. Because both genetic (excelsior) and cybernetic (cyberneticus) improvements can co-exist, a taxonomic classification priority system would need to be implemented to distinguish between species and subspecies. Since taxonomy is done by biologists not cyberneticists excelsior would likely be given prior species status if both occurred in the same organism e.g. Homo excelsiorbiocybernetucus. As far as the genetic enhancement of other species, it seems that the same classification system would apply first sapiens to denote sentience then excelsior to denote genetic improvements and then cyberneticus or biocyberneticus if such implements were added. The genus would remain the same. If massively parallel supercomputers are deemed intelligent and sentient they would constitute a separate genus, Cyberus, and possibly a new kingdom Silica and phylum, class and order as well. Again Cyberus sapiens would be the starting point. After that, the speciation epithets become more murky because of the limits of the Singularity. It seems that a completely uploaded humanoid creature (of the genus Homo) that had an entirely nonorganic body would belong to the new genus Cyberus.
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