Change my mind: transhumanism is a good thing

Plenty of fiction explores the ethics of modifying that template of a body that we receive when we’re born. Yep, we can mess about with it – applying tattoos, piercings, dyes and other alterations –  but ultimately we’re stuck with the genes we’re assigned.

GattacaAeon FluxSoldierDeus Ex; the list of entertainment that analyses the what if? ramifications of genetic manipulation is a long one, and much of it concludes it’s not actually a good thing after all.

Yet, despite having watched and read plenty of these real and fictional assessments of human (and food) modification, I don’t really see the problem.

Modified food

Recent years have seen the rise of a supposedly health-aware civilisation, and an ‘organic or GTFO’ society that no longer wants GM vegetables and insists upon food au naturele. Or so it would have you believe, at least.

I can understand why we wouldn’t want to use harmful pesticides, especially as all the bees are dying (we really need to think of a plan bee for that). I can also see why people wouldn’t want additives and things in their produce.

But what’s wrong with messing around with safe procedures, such as GM, to increase the yield of crops, the size of fruit and the ability for plants to grow? It won’t be long until there are 10bn humans, so using science to conjure up ways to cope with demand is essential in my book.

There are even comments from thousands of cretins that would be apprehensive about eating synthesised meat! If we can fabricate food that is like meat in every sense other than it doesn’t involve suffering, surely that’s a technology we should embrace?

I just want to get to the bottom of what drives this stubbornness and unwillingness to accept the wonders of human ingenuity at improving things.

Modified humans

I’d bloody love a robot leg so I could run faster. It’d be useful to have webbed feet to swim better. And I’ve often been told I could do with a bigger … nose?

And a bigger dick too please.

I don’t care whether it’s a robotically-augmented spine, a chemically-enhanced mind or genetically-advanced limbs, if it makes me better off, causes no suffering and is socially acceptable, then I want it – and why not?

Why do so many people have issues with this?

Is it because it’s playing God? Because everyone knows that’s not a real argument.

Is it a rich/poor thing? Because that’s a socioeconomic concern and not a core problem with the modification itself necessarily.

Is it because it ostracises some aspects as undesirable? If everyone wants to be big, black, strong, sexy and wise, then so be it. I’m not suggesting the tech should ever be anything other than opt-in.

Using naontechnology, genetic engineering, robotics and a whole suite of other emerging scientific endeavours, humans may soon become smarter, faster and stronger.

Things like disease, fatigue and even blockades to advancement that arise through ignorance (think religion, racism, sexism, homophobia etc.) may well become a thing of the past.

Modification can take us beyond the shitty fleshbags we live inside and allow us to grow and develop at a rate that we can’t even imagine.

Bring on transhumanism. I’ll be the first to sign up, and I’d like someone to tell me why I shouldn’t.