Saturday, March 08, 2008

Diving in the singularity well of transhumanism...

...or some similiar or somesuch thing with transhumanist themes. :)

Mood on this topic: Intrigued and excited

Music for this topic: Theme from Ghost In The Shell PS1 Game Intro (Check here to watch and listen to get the reference)

Weeks ago, technically before mid-Feb as I recall, I recently read two books by a Scottish writer Charles Stross which Accelerando and Glasshouse. These two books pretty much brought myself to full realization about the ideas, setting and concept of this thing called Transhumanism.

It was at my first impression that its a buzzword of sorts when I noticed the term with a particular RPG called Transhuman Space by Steve Jackson Games of GURPS fame. It was on a forum board I frequent that there's a lot of talk about setting ideas, scenarios and commentary regarding that strange shiny new world I got drawn and intrigued about. After acquiring said book and Stross' works which was pointed at to begin with, I have begun to realize that the world I have gradually or abruptly steered into what became the Twilight Empires is basically a Transhumanist setting many magnitudes over given the diversity of ideas and concepts that are amalgamated into its creation from my high school years which later evolved around late college to post college years.

Simply put, the concept of Transhumanism involves going beyond the limits presented by current trends and ideas about humanity and his use of technology. Transhumanism is very much the kind of stuff which some sci-fi themes or varieties have steered itself to be about. Its all about the technology which has a significant impact with the mankind, the society he's in and its consequences. Cyberpunk is in a manner of a transhuman setting given the role of cybernetic prosthesis, computer networks, neural interfaces have changed a lot in the coming years as technology advances. The other element which goes with Transhumanism and that can apply with sci-fi is the idea of a Technological Singularity . A Technological Singularity is like when Moore's Law has gone off the tracks as the pace of computer breakthroughs have outpaced and ultimately break the performance barriers which truly astounding technological feats can happen, which are basically the stuff of sci-fi.

A lot of sci-fi has dealings with transhumanist themes or concepts in one form or other, specifically those that involves the enhancement of humanity in an individual or as an entire society. Some of these radical leaps in technology would also have an impact with traditional ideas and concepts like the idea of Economy 1.0 (The current economy system now based on the perceived value of material goods or items.) as described in the first few chapters of Accelerando. Glasshouse has illustrated in some measure about the folly of how the matters of data format encryption has made things difficult to access old format data, like how the current generation BLU-RAY and HD DVD tech renders standard DVD and Video CD tech obsolete or mediocre. It is also like the jump from Betamax to VHS to DVD as to that progression of technology.

All these influx of ideas and concepts I have discovered have made me think again about how much Transhumanism has affected my formation of ideas in some cases as well as the kind of input I have provided for my friend's Twilight Empires joint project. Quite a heady brew of stuff one realizes after reading a lot of things and discovering what that taste is. :)

Its very much a shiny new world as the transhumanist wave goes around the singularity well.