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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Transhumanism: Capitalizing Human Capabilities

    On Nov. 28, students from the Information and Technology Studies (ITS) undergraduate college gathered to listen to the excited discussion about transhumanism, an ideology that vows to give limitless possibilities to humans. This event was required to attend by students in ITS undergraduate college as a part of their ITS 101 freshman seminar.

    Students listened in upon discussions by Professor Eduardo Mendieta, of the latin american studies center and author of upcoming book on biophilosophy (including bio-piracy), and Dr. Michael Hadjiargyrou, associate vice president for research and faculty in biomedical engineering. Topics discussed included genetic engineering, role of artificial intelligence, and the future technologies under development that will be used to increase human horizons.

    According to the lecturers, transhumanism is the ideology that gives humans limitless abilities. An ideology that promises the future would bring a great hope for the survival, cures for diseases that are undiscovered will be discovered, and humans would be able to live by overcoming natural death.

    The lecturers mentioned, transhuman technologies would promise a great deal of intelligence that would enable humans to pursue and accomplish anything they want. Ultimately, humans would be able to live longer without any worry of involuntary death.

    Presenters also discussed the counter arguments to transhuman philosophy. Some of the widely discussed counterarguments were that if human life has no limit, how the available resources on Earth would be able to meet the requirements of such a population. Moral aspects of this argument were that overcoming an involuntary death is against God’s will, and therefore cannot be achieved and should not be pursued.

    Not surprisingly, the other most discussed counterargument was how immortal transhumanism is if it threatens human values and liberties. This is because transhumanism involves the implementation of advanced technology in the human body through genetic engineering. Many people worry about how authorities who would have control over these technologies might abuse their power.

    Fersoe Babu, a freshman computer science major, was overjoyed by the discussion. “Transhumanism in unbelievably great,” Babu said. “There are really several great opportunities available in this area; I might consider it as my research interest. I always wanted to do something different in my life, and I think transhumanism is the most different area of research I have heard thus far.”

    Another student, who decided to attend the event because of the intriguing title of the talk, John Connor, a computer engineering and philosophy double major, said he was disappointed by the discussion. “I cannot believe a human can violate the natural rights of other humans. It is so terrible to hear that there is actually a group of scientists working in this field. Fine, this technology would allow humans develop cure for diseases, but how can you trust anybody? Authorities who have control can always misuse their power by any means!”

    Overall, those who attended enjoyed the two hour long show. Some of the attendees were intrigued to follow the story. On the other hand, some were disgusted by the topic, and regarded it as a future plan to violate natural human rights, as they put it: a completely immoral act.

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