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What is “Transhumanism”?“Transhumanism” is a term used to describe the idea that technology andscience may someday change our lives so much that we would no longer bethe same species that we are today. Many people believe that in the next 100years, we may be able to solve the problems of hunger, poverty, illness, andperhaps even death. In the future, people may be so different from us thatthey could be called “posthuman”.
Opening Discussion• How do you feel about the future? Will life be better or worse than it is now?• What are some important problems that you think we will be able to solve with science and technology?• Do you think it is dangerous for us to keep making new and better machines?
NanotechnologyNanotechnology is the science of buildingmachines that are so small that they canwork with individual molecules and atoms.With this technology, we could buildanything: food, clothing, houses; from verysmall pieces, and use almost anything tomake it, such as sand or garbage.Another thing we could do with nanotech isput very small robots (nanomachines) insideour bodies where they could make ushealthier by killing diseased cells orrepairing damage to our bodies.
The End of Scarcity Scarcity is the fundamental problem of having people who have wants and needs in a world of limited resources. Because we live in a world with limited resources, not everyone is able to get everything they need. However, If you could use nanotechnology to change any kind of matter into any other kind of matter, there is no reason that food and medicine would be any different from trash and dirt.If we can use technology to create more resources than everyone in the wholeworld needs, we may enter a post scarcity economy. In a post scarcity economythings such as goods, services and information would be free, or practically free.
ImmortalityIn Ancient Rome, the average humanlife expectancy was 28 years. In theearly 20th century, the average lifeexpectancy was 31 years. In 2010, theaverage life expectancy skyrocketedto 67.2 years. In other words, in the2000 years between Ancient Romeand the 1900s, the life span of theaverage person grew only 3 years, butin the last 100 years, it has grown by36 years.Many people believe that in the future, people will be living much longer than theydo today. Some people even believe that, with advances in medicine andtechnology, we will be able to live forever.
What do you think?• If there is more food, water, medicine, housing, and clothing than people need; will we still have money and jobs?• Do you think that people will be able to live forever? What will we do if we all live that long?• Would you let someone put robots inside your body? Why or why not?
A.I. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956, defines it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.“ One interesting thing about intelligent machines is that computers get faster, cheaper and smarter every year, but the human brain has stayed relatively the same.One thing that intelligent machines can do is start to make other intelligentmachines. When machines start to make themselves smarter, without the needfor people to make them, very strange things may happen.
The SingularityComputers are not only becomingsmarter and faster every year, but therate at which they are becomingsmarter is also getting faster. Thatmeans that after one year a computerbecomes 2x as smart as it was the yearbefore, but the next year it becomes 4xas smart, and the year after that 8x assmart.Some scientists think that in thefuture, computers will become sosmart that in every second they willmake themselves smarter and at thatmoment, people will not be able to tellhow smart they are or how fast theyare growing. This moment is known asthe singularity.
Mind Uploading Today, many scientists are working on ways to connect computers to the human brain. In the future, we may be able to control machines using only our thoughts, and we won’t need to use a mouse or a keyboard. If machines become much smarter than people, connecting our brains to computers may be a way for us to communicate with them. If this becomes possible, we might also be able to scan and copy our minds into a computer and create a program that thinks and acts just like us. This is called mind uploading. Some people think this might be a way to live forever, but others disagree.
CryonicsSome people just can’t wait for the future to gethere. For a very high fee, some people havebegun to have themselves frozen when they die.This is called cryonics, from Greek kryos-meaning icy cold. The reason that people want todo this is because they think that in thefuture, medicine will be so advanced that it willbe possible to cure their diseases and bring themback to life.
What do you think?• Do you think computers will become smarter than people?• If computers rule the world, do you think it will be better or worse for people?• If you make a copy of your brain that thinks and feels exactly like you do, is it really another you?• Would you ever pay to have yourself frozen so that you could wake up in the future? If you would like to review this presentation go to: www.englishslide.com