Our humanity is ultimately something that we take for granted. We just operate under the assumption that we are defined by the singular qualities that define us in larger terms as conscious beings of free will. This is the default belief, and it is impossible for most of us to imagine any other potential scenario.
However, there are indeed those who do think about such things. These are writers, scientists, engineers, and other thinkers who consider the increasingly complex relationship we share with technology. Some even go so far as to argue that as time goes on, the cost of our relationship and dependency to technology is going to become more and more significant. In fact, some say that it will become so significant, we will actually lose pieces of our humanity in the process.
Is there any truth to such a notion? Perhaps. It requires
considering and juggling a number of challenging, even frightening thoughts.
Transhumanism is defined as the concept of humanity eventually getting to a point in which they are no longer bound to physical or mental limitations. These are the physical and mental limitations that all of us face every day, including cancer, aging, and dementia. Transhumanism imagines getting to a point in which we no longer have to worry these things. It essentially refers to creating a situation in which we do not age, die, or succumb to mental conditions.
Obviously, technology is something that is going to play a significant role in all of this. While transhumanism is naturally a much more complex concept than the above definition, it does allow us to understand what technology currently endeavors to do. You can already find innumerable examples of technology making up for the built-in defects of flesh and mind. The French company Carmat is already making some major breakthroughs with artificial hearts. You can also find examples of artificial eyes through digital cornea transplants. The technology behind artificial arms and legs has already progressed at a stunning rate, over the course of the past few decades. You can expect that technology to only continue evolving and developing, as time goes on.
All of this is pretty exciting, but will it comes with a price? Even if you don’t believe in souls, you at least understand that humanity is defined by certain traits. As we get closer and closer to realizing transhumanism, are we going to lose those elements that define our humanity?