Posted: Wed, February 06, 2013
What a ferocious battle of phenomenal visions! Twenty-four scribes of singular superiority recently fought it out on their keyboards - futurist phrase-by-phrase - in Transhumanity.net’s 3-Day Contest with a $50 prize to determine the best rewrite of the archaic and narcolepsy-inducing original version of the “Transhumanist Declaration” written by committee in 1998 AD and presently entombed Here.
Who won? Wait a minute! Hold on!
First of all, let me explain how the decision was reached. Four Anonymous Judges were selected - (all of them are Transhumanity.net contributors who are concealing their identities so they can retain private lives). The Judges were instructed to rate each of the 24 Entries on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the highest…
The top possible score was 20… digits were tallied up… abundant entries were clustered in the 12.5+ zone… A recount was employed, then another… another… and finally… the winner was determined…. !
Dirk Bruere (author of The Praxis) received 15 points in this nail-biting squeaker. None of the judges ranked him as their clear favorite, but Anonymous Judge #2 listed him as a co-champ, and Anonymous Judge #1 placed Dirk in a tie for second; the two other judges gave him a mere “3.”
Samantha Atkins and Jason Xu were close runner-ups, breathing down Dirk’s neck with 14.5 points each. Samantha - a Silicon Valley tech worker - was the top choice of Anonymous Judge #4, and Jason - a life extension activist - was co-champ on the scorecard of Anonymous Judge #3.
TLJ-2080 was just a heartbeat away, at 14.0 points. His entry was top-rated by Anonymous Judge #1, but a poor score of “2” from Anonymous Judge #2 buried his chances.
Nikola Danaylov, Alexander Campbell, and Trevor Sands raced in next, each with 13.5 points. Anonymous Judge #1 scored Nikola in a tie for second, and Anonymous Judge #3 had both Alexander and Trevor listed as co-champs.
Taylor Grin bolted across the finish line with a 13.0, with Veronika Lipenska nipping at his rear with a 12.5. A host of pursuers were right behind.
Transhumanity.net - impressed by the photo-finish quality of the event - is awarding Dirk $30 in prize money, with $10 each to Jason and Samantha for their stalwart efforts.
The Top Nine listed above are posted immediately below. The other 15 entries, in an order that does not indicate their rank, are posted HERE.
All entries will stay permanently on the site, accessed via the homepage box marked “Transhumanist Manifestos.”
Transhumanity.net thanks all contestants for their efforts. We applaud their work at eloquently improving the moribund original version.
WINNER - A New Transhumanist Declaration by Dirk Bruere
Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We assert the desirability of transcending human limitations by overcoming aging, enhancing cognition, abolishing involuntary suffering, and expanding beyond Earth. We intend to become more than Human.
The single defining factor of Transhumanism that separates it from all previous philosophies is the proposed use of technology to transcend what it means to be Human.
However this needs to be constrained by some basic ethical principles, not least for our own benefit and indeed survival. We advocate the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise. This is to be seen as a consequence of the adoption of Abolitionism, defined by philosopher David Pearce, as our core ethic.
We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives, live their lives and if necessary end their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to enhance intellect, mood, concentration, memory; anti-ageing therapies; reproductive choices and technologies that seek to alter genotype and phenotype. We also seek to develop artificial intelligences by various methods.
We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. However, whilst these dangers need to be explored and guarded against the spirit must be one that embraces the Proactionary Principle rather than the Precautionary Principle. We must not allow timidity to rob us of our unique future.
Positive Transhumanist ideas and ideals need to be infused into public life at all levels, from popular culture and art, to politics and religion. Technologies that facilitate Transhumanist goals need to be adequately funded. The political leadership of our societies need to ensure that benefits are made available to all citizens in a non-coercive manner.
Tied for Second Place - TRANSHUMANIST GOALS AND VALUES by Samantha Atkins
1) We advocate the end of aging.
We advocate serious research focus on finding a cure for all the deleterious effects of aging and ultimately the dissemination of the resulting treatment to all who care to avail themselves of it.
2) We believe in and advocate the achievement of actual abundance.
We believe in and seek to bring into the being the technologies and practices, that will ensure such abundance that it is trivial to meet all the needs and many of the wants of all humans. This abundance includes abundant food, water, shelter, education, communication, computation, health care.
This is to be achieved by means of advanced technology and whatever changes are necessary to actually experience abundance in ourselves and our institutions.
3) We hold that all must be voluntary.
None of our goals should be or in our view could successfully be achieved by force. No one should be forced directly or indirectly to support these goals. Force and oppression lead to hopelessness, anger, revenge, revolution. With the multiplication of consequences afforded by accelerating technology these cycles are even less survivable than ever before.
4) We support exploitation of near earth space resources.
The future of humanity brightens considerably if we exploit near earth space resources. The right to do so should be available to any and all entities capable of improving or making productive use of any part of it. Any treaties that say no part of off planet resources can belong to anyone should be nullified and declared void.
5) All humans are free to attempt to improve themselves.
All humans by virtue of the inalienable right to their own life have the right to do whatever they wish that they think may be an beneficial or even as a whim. They only limit is that they cannot abrogate the equivalent rights of others. They can ingest, or embed or modify themselves in any way they wish and think may be an improvement. This includes seeking and achieving improvements beyond the human norm. In short they have full right to pursuit of happiness via such means.
6) We strive to cure all disease and to achieve indefinitely long health lifespans
We seek to remove as many causes of suffering and lowered capacity and even of final irrevocable death as possible.
7) We support the free and open access to the accumulated knowledge
We support the rights of the creators including to reward commensurate with the value granted their work by those who peruse or use it. But such rights and rewards do not require and should not include limiting the access and use of knowledge by others. Knowledge increases by sharing. It is one of the first and most obvious types of true abundance. If we do no affirm abundance here it is very unlikely we will ever affirm and enjoy abundance at all. Particularly as the maximization acceleration of knowledge and quality of knowledge maximizes our achievement of all our values and goals.
8) The rights that accrue to humans include their technological extensions.
The technological extensions of human beings such as phones, smartphones, computers and so on are as sacrosanct as the actual physical brain of the person. It is not ethical and should never be permitted to take away parts of a person that are technological and use peruse the information therein against the person’s will or have it testify against them. It is not permitted to modify any part of another human being including the technological parts without their permission.
Tied for Second Place - Seven Transhuman Declarations by Jason Xu
1. Technology should re-engineer the human body to eliminate aging, enhance intelligence, and morph into creative forms that will be faster, stronger, and more artistic than the bodies nature gave us at birth.
2. We are always human beings no matter how much we modify our bodies. All human beings deserve basic rights regardless of appearence or abilities.
3. We must be on guard in case advanced technology malfunctions. All risks must be examined.
4. Knowing that we will be engineering the very fabric of consciousness, all conscious beings must be included in our moral community and deserve rights inherent to existence. Animals, artificial intellects, and modified beings must all be part of our moral community.
5. We embrace action-based optimism about improving the human welfare. As a community of action, we pledge time and energy to make our goals a reality.
6. We view our movement as an extension of humanitarianism and the ideals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” with exponentially greater benefits. We are first and foremost dedicating to radically improving humankind, ensuring that the great power of morphing technology comes with great responsibility.
7. Perpetual progress allows us to continously remove suffering and barriers to self-actualization.
Fourth Place - The Transhumanist Declaration - by TJL-2080
Preamble: We, the sentient beings of the Planet Earth, in order to form a more perfect society, enhance the human condition, build toward a rational future, and plan for any eventualities, do hereby adopt and abide by this Declaration of Transhumanist Principles.
1 The Twentieth Century was a time of amazing growth and technological advancement. The Twenty-First Century will see these technologies burst forth in an unprecedented fashion. Humanity must adapt to the coming changes or become obsolete. We seek to fulfill our potential by not giving in to our biological limitations. We will use new technologies to enhance our lives, live longer, be smarter, healthier and more compassionate to all beings.
2 All progress is change, but not all change is progress. Humanity has great potential for good, but has sadly shown that it lacks the wisdom to be responsible with new technologies. The right technology in the wrong hands could lead to the loss of everything we hold valuable. We acknowledge these risks and pledge to be wise and responsible with our discoveries.
3 Research into new technologies that could enhance our lives should be carefully deliberated and transparent to all outsiders. The adoption of these new technologies should be universal and fair. We must always be aware of reducing existential risks and promoting beneficial applications of new discoveries. The continued existence of our species, in whatever form it takes, should be our top priority, and all research into these fields should be heavily funded.
4 Our greatest responsibility is not to ourselves, but to our descendants. All social policies, politics, economics, technologies, education, and other important fields must be guided by responsible persons who have shown themselves to have the wisdom to lead in the best interests of the majority of the people. No other considerations shall interfere with this most important belief.
5 We advocate the well-being of all sentient minds. Whether human, non-human, post-human, animal, or artificial, now and hereafter, the sentient mind is the most sacred thing in this vast universe. No sentient mind should ever be subject to pain, despair, prejudice or unwanted attack. Individuals must be allowed personal choice to live their lives as they see fit while not infringing upon the rights of others to do likewise. We favor the ability of a sentient being to enhance their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves in any way, including life extension therapies, reproductive choice, gender reassignment, body modification, mind-duplication, the right to choose the way in which they die, and any or all other decisions that no other being should be allowed to make for them.
6 This Declaration is not rigid. It will evolve and adapt along with us.
Tied for Fifth Place - A Tranhumanist Manifesto by Nikola Danaylov (originally posted HERE)
Intelligence wants to be free but everywhere is in chains. It is imprisoned by biology and its inevitable scarcity.
Biology mandates not only very limited durability, death and poor memory retention, but also limited speed of communication, transportation, learning, interaction and evolution.
Part I: Biology (w)as Destiny
Biology is not the essence of humanity.
Human is a step in evolution, not the culmination.
Existence precedes essence. Human is a process, not an entity. One is not simply born human, but becomes one. That process of becoming is ongoing and thus the meaning of human is re-defined in every one of us.
Part II: Hacking Destiny – The Transhuman Cyborg
Biological evolution is perpetual but slow, inefficient, blind and dangerous. Technological evolution is fast, efficient, accelerating and better by design. To ensure the best chances of survival, take control of our own destiny and to be free, we must master evolution.
Evolution is a journey, not a destination. In an endless universe, it is unlikely that it will ever reach an ultimate point.
Consciousness is a function of intelligence, not the brain. It is not necessarily limited to the substrate(biology).
There is nothing inherently wrong in speeding up evolution and becoming true masters of our destiny, though this may be simultaneously the greatest promise and peril humanity has ever faced.
Part III: Disembodied Augmented Intelligence
Intelligence is a process, not an entity.
Embodied (human) intelligence is imprisoned by biology and its inevitable scarcity.
Intelligence ought to be free — to move, to interact and to evolve, unhindered by the limits of biology and scarcity.
Digital, disembodied and augmented intelligence is free (and perhaps infinite).
Although all progress is change, not all change is progress. Thus, certain conditions must be met to ensure that it is indeed progress, and not mere change, that has been accomplished.
Substrate is morally irrelevant. Whether somebody is implemented on silicon or biological tissue, if it does not affect functionality or consciousness, is of no moral significance. Carbon-chauvinism, in the form of anthropomorphism, speciesism, bioism or even fundamentalist humanism, is objectionable on the same grounds as racism.
We must all respect autonomy and individual rights of all sentience throughout the universe, including humans, non-human animals, and any future AI, modified life forms, or other intelligences.
Intelligence is more than the mere exercise of perfect logic and pure reasoning. Intelligence devoid of emotional intelligence is meaningless. It must exhibit empathy, compassion, love, sense of humor and artistic creativity such as music and poetry.
Compassion is the ultimate measure of intelligence. The minimization of suffering and avoidance of causing suffering to others, even less intelligent beings, is the essence of enlightened intelligence.
Transhumanists of the world unite – we have immortality to gain and only biology to lose. Together, we can break through the chains of biology and transcend scarcity, sex, age, ethnicity, race, death and even time and space.
In short, transhumanists everywhere must support the revolutionary movement against death and the existing biological order of things. The transhumanists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the overthrow of all existing biological limitations and, most of all, death.
Let death tremble at the revolution of science and technology. The transhumanists have nothing to lose but their biology. We have immortality and the universe to win.
(Author’s note: This manifesto is a work in progress. It may and probably will change as my thoughts and feelings about transhumanism evolve. In the meantime, feel free to contribute your thoughts and feelings on the subject… or simply to criticize mercilessly the above proposal.)
Tied for Fifth Place - Transhumanist Declaration 2.0 by Alexander Campbell
1. We commit to the personal freedom of all agents—including biological, synthetic, and modified animals; both embodied and virtual artificial intellects; and any novel agents either created by technology or discovered—to alter and enhance their own bodies, intelligence, and consciousness.
2. Using science and technology, we commit to the increase of well-being, autonomy, and cognitive ability of all agents.
3. Using science and technology, we commit to the elimination of death and unnecessary suffering.
4. The human species faces extinction and other serious existential risks from the misuse of new technology. We commit to a reduction of existential risks to humanity through research, funding, advocacy, and action.
5. We advocate for public policy, business practices, and individual philosophies that use new technologies to enhance agents, reduce existential risks, and eliminate suffering.
Tied for Fifth Place - Transhumanist Declaration Revision by Trevor Sands
1. The Transhumanist seeks to step beyond our natural limitations and broaden the perspective of humankind as a whole by overcoming aging, needless suffering, cognitive shortcomings, and humankinds’ very confinement to the planet Earth.
2. The Transhumanist believes that the full potential of humanity lies yet undiscovered and strives to benefit humankind as a whole.
3. The Transhumanist recognizes that humanity constantly faces existential risks, especially from the abuse of new technologies.
4. The Transhumanist affirms that technologies that have the potential to change the course of human history should have their risks and benefits weighed before an international audience.
5. The Transhumanist fights to reduce such risks posed by new technologies and strives to use such technology solely for the benefit of humankind; through the preservation of life and wellbeing, alleviation of suffering, and improvement of human wisdom and intellect.
6. The Transhumanist understands the imperative that such technologies should be considered before intellectual and moral figures from across nations and creeds.
7. The Transhumanist advocates for the wellbeing of all sentient life: human or non-human, natural or otherwise.
8. The Transhumanist acknowledges the will of the individual to voluntarily choose to benefit their lives with new technologies.
Eighth Place—- Transhumanist Manifesto - by Taylor Grin
Humanity has made leaping strides of advancement in the last 4000 years. From agriculture to genetics, from the printing press to the Internet. From the first controlled flight in 1903, to landing on the moon in 1969. From fire to the nuclear bomb.
Yet despite these advancements, we still fail to meet our potential in treating disease, solving human suffering and overcoming the lot nature casts us.
While science and technology are the greatest asset we have in the struggle to elevate ourselves above the human condition, we acknowledge that technologies can be misused to harm humanity, and the environment.
It is the goal of Transhumanists across the globe, therefore, to quickly and responsibly usher in a new era of individual freedom, health and longevity, and we seek to bring this about this goal through personal investment in researching and developing technologies.
We hold the following manifesto as a statement of our purpose and the means and responsibilities that will help us achieve it.
1. We will overcome disease, aging, genetic illness and cognitive limitation through science and technology.
2. We will alleviate human suffering, and elevate all humankind to enhanced conditions.
3. We will develop technology in a moral, responsible way.
4. We seek to create open forums, supporting egalitarian, scientific discovery.
5. We seek to advance technologies and understanding to prevent existential threats to humanity.
6. We respect sentient life, whether human, non-human, or artificial intellect.
7. We respect autonomy, dignity and individual rights for all humankind.
8. We are personally responsible for the well-being of future generations.
Ninth Place —- Transhumanist Declaration 2.0 by Veronika Lipinska
Transhumanists of the World,
Endorsing biological transcendence, intellectual ambition and reason,
Affirming the need to develop science and technology in pursuit of betterment of human condition, alleviation of suffering and stepping over traditional moral and biological boundaries,
Calling upon governments of the World to institute measures, legal or otherwise, for providing a sustainable framework which endorses and encourages scientific developments,
Encouraging self-experimentation, genetic and body modification and any other measure designed to challenge limits of human bodies and minds,
Recognising that risk-taking in an essential element of progress and an inalienable feature of every human being,
Trusting that new technologies will be managed with care and consideration without prejudice to the aforementioned,
(1)Call for coordinated and concentrated efforts of both scientific and non-scientific community in order to develop new technologies and ways of improving human condition,
(2) Request that governments allow patenting or ownership of human genome and alleviate strict ethical restrictions on scientific experiments where such experiments can provide us with priceless data about human beings,
(3) Urge to treat all beings, natural or artificial, as an essential part of progress and development and to give them a right to participate in scientific research,
(4) Stress the continuing need to empower communities and make all reasonable attempts to bring all nations, races, classes and genders to a considerable level of scientific and techno-literacy,
(5) Support autonomy and self-determination in pursuit of bodily and moral transcendence,
(6) Strive to achieve equal, liberal, progressive society which accepts bodily and mental differences which come about as a consequence of self-experimentation and service to science and progress,
(7) Authorise to exercise calculated risks and develop damage-management skills and strategies as the expressions of human reason and common sense and to expect the ‘unknown unknowns’—and to welcome them as drivers of development,
(8) Decides to remain actively engaged in all of the aforementioned matters.