At a Glance – Transhumanism

Part human, part robot & part of your future?

You’ve probably heard of cyborgs – the part human, part robot beings that usually exist in the realm of science fiction. What you might not be so familiar with is ‘transhumanism’ (abbreviated to H+), a term which came into use in the 1960s to describe a philosophical standpoint on the augmentation of humanity. Transhumanism and cyborgs go hand in hand, as cyborgs are the result of the belief that humans should add technology to their bodies to improve mental and physical function.

Enhancing the body with technology is not a new idea, but thanks to the availability of advanced hardware and software this has been taken to an entirely new level. A far cry from wearable and external products, internal implants have the ability to fundamentally change human biology. Elon Musk’s Neuralink presents a perfect example of transhumanism in action, aiming to use computers to supercharge the human brain. However, given the wide use of advanced medical technology – not to mention electronic implants and other internal devices – many would argue that we already are transhuman. Of course, at the moment, those who would fit this description are in the minority.

As technology increasingly moves inside our bodies, the transhumanist belief system is likely to become a powerful force within society. There is even a non profit organisation dedicated to transhumanism called Humanity+. Humanity’s self-evolution might seem like shameless future gazing, but it’s important to be aware that it’s already well underway. Transhumanist cyborgs like recent Disruption Summit Europe speaker, Scott Cohen are already augmenting themselves as a result of this mentality. At DSE 2017, he explained that the fusion of humans and technology was in fact logical. In a world where automation threatens to exceed human capabilities, he might just be right.