Technological Apartheid – How to survive it? #transhumanism

coming age of augmentations

I’m going to make a prediction here, that during the following 10 years, our life and the concept of what it means to be human will change drastically.

  • We have virtual reality technologies coming up that will transfer parts of our lives to virtual worlds.
  • We have augmented reality which will enhance our real world experience.
  • We have wearable technology that monitors you and gives you tools to make your life healthier and better.
  • We have augmentations that are used at the moment for repairing the fragile human body.

All of these technologies are enabling us to augment our world and life, but what does it all mean? This writing series will explore all of these different branches and what’s their cons and pros towards our life. Let’s first look at some crucial questions before jumping in to the actual technologies.

Equity or equility?

  • Equality means that we give everyone the same rights/benefits regardless of the background. This will work if we have same starting point for life.
    • Example: For the same work you will get 500€ pay whatever your experience,  education, skills are.
  • Equity means that we give a person what they need to be treated with equitability. Equity is the actual way to ensure we can create equality, as we need to find a way to give all people the same starting deck for life or during life.
    • Example: In equity we ensure that everyone has what it’s needed to reach the same level where others are. Education is the key here and the more it’s influenced by science the better.

It’s a big moral question to ask if all this is just an utopia –> Can we reach a situation where we would be born as equal? And even if not born, but still providing everyone the same prerequisites to live and prosper. Can our world manage a situation where we would all have the same standards?

Our world isn’t equal… I hope it would, but we are not there. Our world spins out in different cycles basing on where you are looking from.  Even when thinking of Finland where I’ve grown up and a lot of things have progressed from the 80’s, it seems we are still afraid of giving gay people equal rights(in discussion at the moment in Finnish parliament) or quoting the bible in our parliament to state your point of view. So even on an national level it’s almost impossible to give the same standards of living, well what about the whole world then? Cultures and nations evolve in different speed and there is no way to tell who is advanced or being left behind. It’s a matter of perspective and what you value in life.

To fix these problems we have political acts, organisations, etc who are working to bring us all to the same level when it comes to equality. My fear is that these acts won’t be even close to the goal when the augmented industry brings us to the next challenge and a potential Technological Apartheid.

From repairing to enhancing

How will our world be affected when augmentation business changes from repairing to enhancing healthy humans. Currently we are able to fix veterans who have lost their legs and replace the missing legs with mechanical legs. We can make blind people see. We can make the body stay alive by augmenting them with artificially created organs. You do remember still when plastic surgery was a big no no, and today it’s not a tabu anymore.

We have a big moral question on our hand that can broaden our problem of equality. If augmentation becomes a luxury item that only the middle and rich class can afford to augment themselves  –> We will have a new way of classifying humanity and to prevent us from being equal.

What makes me human?

How much can we replace from our body to be still called human? What defines my humanity when the only thing still organic would be my brains inside an artificial body? What if we create the way for our digital immortality by transferring our conscience to a server where our mind and thoughts would live as digital bits. Perhaps it’s not about if I’m human, but more about being Human 2.0 –> A transcendent being which has taken evolution into it’s own hands. No more gender, age, sex etc to make you feel different, but a being above those norms that create inequality.

Next stop virtual reality

Next stop and post will be about the cons and pros of virtual reality, but I’d love to hear your comments about what defines humanity and can there be a equal humanity at some point.

Juha

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4 thoughts on “Technological Apartheid – How to survive it? #transhumanism

  1. Gear Mentation says:

    It’s nice that you “get it.” I read a whole lot of these kinds of posts and articles, where the author just doesn’t get the whole picture. They will be talking of exponential types of growth in one part of the article, and then project how you’ll “get to work,” in 2050! Or they don’t have any idea of the real likely timelines. I think that’s the case with this article just a little bit: I think it’s not 10 years, but more like 20. We have to feed in generous amounts of time for cultural inertia and stupidity to play out, and for people simply to notice. I think all people will really notice in 10 years is that they’re out of a job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Juha Petteri Niemi says:

      Thanks for your comment and appreciate the feedback. It feels great to write about these topics and of course this is my learning path also to understand better the aspects of our future. I’m hoping my article doesn’t give you feeling that I think I know something. It’s more of the kind of thinking of knowing –> So at the moment more on the assumption level. That’s why I’ll dig in to the technologies more deeply and will try to find people who can discuss these. So that’s why I also thank you for the comment, as getting an dialogue open about these is the way for us all to understand them better.

      Technology brings it’s cons and pros and I’m hoping to find the ways to influence technological development so that it’s beneficial for us. One can only hope that I don’t become blind on the road and can keep an open mind when going through the ethics and morals of our near future.

      On the timeline if it’s 10 or 20 years –> I believe that things will roll out step by step. Somethings are already here and somethings will take a longer time. Hopefully during my studies I can make a more accurate prediction of what is there to come. I agree that humanity needs a lot of time when adjusting to new situations and especially on a global scale. So saying 10 years or 20 years won’t be the full truth for the whole earth.

      Like

  2. Gear Mentation says:

    It seems like there are two pitfalls in thinking about the technological future. Some people are still informed by ideas from the 70s, like resource depletion, overpopulation, pollution, and other problems to which we’ve already developed solutions, and will have better solutions as time goes on. The other set are too optimistic, because they don’t figure in human factors: political, social, religious, bureaucratic, and educational limits. Humans are analog, and will not become fully digital for quite some time, if ever. Thinking that technology will evolve and instantly change everything isn’t realistic. And just one institution, the FDA, is likely to kill millions in an attempt to make sure new anti-aging drugs are safe.

    Like

    • Juha Petteri Niemi says:

      You are absolutely right and I’m a firm believer of the middle ground. Meaning that the probable scenario is between the optimistic and the pessimistic view of the future. As I said in my other comment I believe things will roll out in steps and we won’t wake up someday just amazed that WOU, our world changed over night.

      I think you hit the jackpot by saying the human factors, as that’s the angle I’m trying to tackle with my approach. We can have all the awesome technology in the world, but if we general public isn’t explained of what it means —> We don’t achieve anything. Change management when it comes to peoples mindsets is very difficult as you describe: Political, social, religious etc.

      I’m on my own journey to understand what these technologies mean for us and hopefully as I learn –> Other people can also learn and understand.

      Like

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