To speak of transhumanism, we must first understand it. If the Metaverse is already complicated to understand with a definition that is continually evolving and inconclusive, transhumanism offers us a clearer but at the same time, I would say, a more unknown meaning.
Thus, we understand transhumanism as a philosophical and scientific movement that defends the modification of human beings with the aim of improving them physically, psychologically, and intellectually, using the scientific and technological advances available.
In addition to knowing its meaning, we need to know what its objectives are. Among them, the most important is:
🔸 Increasing human longevity and health
🔸 To enhance human intelligence and cognitive abilities
🔸 Eliminate or reduce physical and mental disability
🔸 Create new forms of human experience
We know that the primary instinct of humans is to flee when faced with the unknown or fear. The same thing sometimes happens when we talk about the metaverse or transhumanism. It causes us a lot of doubts and discomfort, which is why I have decided to divide this article into three parts: first, the risks; second, the philosophy; and third and last, the use cases that we know or could learn about. And no, Elon Musk is not missing in this story.
RISK OF TRANSHUMANISM
One of the main risks of transhumanism is that it could create a new class of privileged people who have access to human enhancement technologies. This could lead to greater economic and social inequality.
Human enhancement technologies are expensive and will therefore only be available to people who can afford them. This could create a new class of people who are physically, mentally and intellectually superior to those who do not have access to these technologies.
This divide could lead to a number of social problems, such as increased crime, violence and political instability.
Human enhancement technologies could also be used to manipulate people. Governments or corporations could use these technologies to spread propaganda or to sell products and services.
This manipulation could be more effective than traditional manipulation because people exposed to these technologies are more likely to believe what they see. If we consider the case of the installation of a brain chip, we find the following definition:
Although their initial purpose is to restore sight and mobility to people with disabilities, to name but a few examples, we are completely unaware of their future usefulness, or even of the emergence of new competitors on the market who, having researched and developed similar devices, are using them inappropriately for various purposes.
Of course, this movement, also known as “biohacking”, started in Sweden with the installation of intradermal devices. Some experts call it the 4th industrial revolution and claim that it could lead to a merging of our physical, digital and biological identities.
Does that statement above ring a bell 👆
Similar to the merger from another perspective when we talk about the Metaverse? Perhaps the Metaverse is the prelude to transhumanism, as we do not yet see ourselves capable or the technology to make it happen has not yet arrived, but why wear external devices when we could have them installed in ourselves.
This could undermine democracy and individual freedom. And not only that. The companies that make these devices don’t sell you the chips or the transplants. They usually rent them or charge a membership fee. Can’t afford it? We extract it for you.
And depending on what kind of device you’re fitted with, it could mean you go blind again, you might not be able to walk again, or even if it’s a life-supporting device like a smart device that restarts your heart because you’ve had a minor cardiac arrest, if you don’t pay, you die.
Unbelievable, isn’t it?
One of the main concerns about transhumanism is that it could lead to a loss of human identity. Human enhancement technologies could change the way we see ourselves and the world around us.
For example, cognitive enhancement technologies could improve our intellect, but they could also change the way we think and feel. Physical enhancement technologies could improve our bodies, but they could also change the way we move and interact with the world.
These changes could lead to a loss of identity and a sense of alienation.
THE CASE OF ROBOCOP
In the 1987 film, Robocop’s emotions were manipulated by a chip implanted in his brain. This chip was connected to a remote control system that allowed Robocop’s creators to control his emotions and actions.
The chip had two main functions:
🔋 Pain control: The chip could be used to block Robocop’s pain, allowing him to withstand serious injury without flinching.
🔋 Control emotions: The chip could be used to alter Robocop’s emotions, allowing him to remain calm in dangerous situations or act violently when necessary.
The chip was a powerful tool that could be used to manipulate Robocop into an effective weapon. But it was also a threat to his humanity, preventing him from experiencing emotions naturally.
In the film, the chip is eventually removed from Robocop, allowing him to regain his humanity. However, this process is traumatic for Robocop, as he must confront the memories of his past life and the reality of his present situation.
Examples of how Robocop’s emotions have been manipulated:
📚 In one scene, Robocop is attacked by a group of criminals. The chip blocks Robocop’s pain, allowing him to continue fighting despite his injuries.
📚 In another scene, Robocop is sent to stop a gang of criminals. The chip alters Robocop’s emotions, causing him to act violently and lethally.
📚 In the final scene of the film, Robocop undergoes surgery to remove the chip. The procedure is traumatic for Robocop, forcing him to confront his memories and the reality of his situation.
Implications of the manipulation of emotions in Robocop:
The manipulation of emotions in Robocop raises a number of philosophical and ethical questions. For example, is it ethical to manipulate a person’s emotions, where is the line between manipulation and control, and how does the manipulation of emotions affect a person’s humanity?
These are complex questions with no easy answers. However, the film Robocop invites us to reflect on these issues and to consider the possible consequences of manipulating emotions and whether it is such a good idea to install devices that control another person, delegating your will completely to them.
When we talk about external investment in brain chip companies, we could be out of our minds, and there is no better way to put it. Because in 2023 the top companies receiving investment were:
💰Neuralink ($1 billion)
💰Kernel ($100 million)
💰Paradromics ($50 million)
💰Blackrock Neurotech ($25m)
💰Synchron ($20 million)
💰Mindmaze ($15 million)
💰NeuroLife ($10 million)
💰Neuron23 ($5 million)
💰BrainCo ($5 million)
TRANSHUMANISM AND THE METAVERSE AS A FUSION
While today humans need external virtual reality goggles to observe other worlds, this may not be necessary in the near future.
One of the most talked about failed projects in recent years was that of the company Mojovision. They had managed to develop contact lenses that could be implanted in the eye, providing users with information and entertainment without obstructing their vision.
The company hoped the lenses would be used in a variety of applications, including navigation, productivity and gaming.
The lenses allowed you to get highly relevant information and identify other people and their position in the company, i.e. facial recognition and a subsequent diagnosis that was shown to you through the lens. Terminator received the same kind of information. After its closure, several companies saw a gold mine in the development of such lenses:
- Google is working on a smart contact lens project called Iris. Iris lenses use microLED technology similar to that used by Mojovision.
2. Apple is also working on a smart contact lens project. The company has filed several patents related to this technology.
GHOST IN THE SHELL, THE TRANSHUMAN OF THE FUTURE
Without being as intrusive as an implant, this seems like a clear advance on the transhuman path where sight is one of our greatest tasks. In films such as Ghost in the Shell, which we will be analysing in detail in future issues, Batou, one of the main characters, wore eye implants called “cyber-eyes”. These allowed him to see in the dark, see through objects and get a lot of information from them. For example, he could see through walls to detect enemies.
Imagine soldiers in the army having the same ability. It would allow them to minimise casualties by knowing the enemy’s position inside a building at all times. At the same time, the same technology in the hands of the enemy would do exactly the opposite, and this is where these tools become a double-edged sword.
These devices would also allow us to instantly access alternative worlds recreated through augmented reality, without the need to wear external glasses, and to simultaneously connect and disconnect from one world to another, navigating in all of them, if these lenses had a wireless connection to our brain.
Imagine focusing your vision on the Google browser, writing what you are thinking, accessing websites, opening applications, performing instant searches, opening Google Maps and following it through augmented reality signals in your physical world…
Elon Musk is also showing us his technological advances in the implementation of brain chips. Many people are very afraid of this, others believe that it can serve to improve the quality of life of countless people, but… At what cost? At what cost? Is that the only goal? Are there instruments of control behind the implementation? Like the title of the film: “What the truth hides”?
Specifically, the company is developing chips that, for the time being, allow you to move the cursor of a mouse with your mind. Neuralink has conducted tests on animals that have shown that neural chips can help paralysed people regain movement in their limbs.
In a study published in 2022, Neuralink researchers implanted neural chips into two paralysed monkeys. The monkeys were able to control robotic prostheses with their thoughts and walk short distances. Adapted to any other need, this could allow us to work like home automation, turning appliances on and off, giving commands to Alexa with your thoughts, turning on or off the lights in your house, unlocking or locking your car, or anything else you can think of. The possibilities are endless.
How does the chip work? Well, something like this:
1. The neural chip is implanted in the brain, close to the neurons that control leg movement.
2. Sensors on the chip record the electrical activity of the neurons.
3. This information is sent to a computer.
4. The computer uses the information to control a prosthetic limb or wheelchair.
The prosthesis or wheelchair moves according to the electrical activity of the nerve cells. This allows the paralysed person to walk or move autonomously.
Of course, as you have seen, there are two sides to transhumanism. We must remember that the big corporations only tell us what they want to tell us, and I have tried to open up the melon of transhumanism by showing a little more of its bitter side. Thanks to your support, we will continue in future issues of Transhumanism.
Specifically, and to give you a little preview, the next article dedicated to transhumanism will focus on the military sector. I am quite familiar with this sector, I have always liked it and I am intimately familiar with many of its advances. Here are 3 little headlines in case you get the itch, and of course :
See you in the next article!
📌 Short preview of the next Transhumanism article 📌
💥United States💥 The US military is funding the development of brain chips to improve the performance of soldiers.
💥China💥 The Chinese military is funding the development of brain chips to improve soldier performance.
💥Israel💥 The Israeli army is researching the use of brain chips to protect soldiers from brain damage.