How Transhumanism Works

You look marvelous, grandma. Not a day over 20.
You look marvelous, grandma. Not a day over 20.
© Sven Hagolani/Corbis

Fast-forward 60 years. Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror.

My! You look amazing! Not a wrinkle in sight. You don't look a day over 20. And what's that? You just ran an ultramarathon? Who knew someone so old could run 50 miles (80 kilometers) that quickly? Pretty impressive, but enough about you. Let's look around at the world.

Everyone is so good-looking and vibrant! Healthy and happy! That's funny; there seems to be a lot more people on Earth, too. What's that you say? I should see how many humans we have on Mars now? Wow. We've colonized Mars.

But wait, there's something not quite right about this house. I'm touching the wall, and it feels a bit funny. Oh, really? It's not a wall? It's just virtual reality? That's amazing! It's so close to real. Wait a second ... is any of this real?

If you subscribe to the transhumanist philosophy, you may think this portrayal of the future could be real. Improvements to human well-being, longevity and intelligence are all within grasp. The human race as it is now is nothing compared to what we have in store for us.

Proponents of this philosophy say that we need to take evolution into our own hands. The current evolutionary goal is to pass on our genes to the next generation, but there needs to be a shift in paradigm where humans should want more for themselves, not just their genes. Transhumanists propose that we need to use science and technology to improve the human condition to evolve better humans -- and a better existence. Cyborgs, cryonics, cloning, gene therapy, space colonization, artificial intelligence, virtual reality ... all of this and more can contribute to turning the human race into the transhuman race.