Can Humanism Survive the Coming Transhumanist Revolution?

Image: The Humanist/Clay Farris Naff
Image: The Humanist/Clay Farris Naff
IF YOU DON’T keep up on your fearmongering Christian commentary, you may have missed this item from the online WorldNetDaily:

By Clay Farris NaffThe Humanist

Secret experiments now underway in the U.S. and elsewhere are sparking fears of a potential extinction-level event hastening the Second Coming of Jesus … [S]cience fiction of the past could become science fact of our immediate future, with human minds connected wirelessly to computers and bionic bodies outperforming top athletes by leaps and bounds. That prospect has some sounding alarm bells about the fulfillment of End-times Bible prophecy…

Well, why not? For two millennia nothing else has done the trick. Still, the eschatology industry is not alone in worrying about the impending technological revolution. Indeed, for humanists, the urgency may be even greater. Bedrock concepts of humanism—equality, individual autonomy, education, and democracy, among others—face seismic upheavals. The very idea of what it means to be human may be overturned.

No less prominent a figure than cosmologist Stephen Hawking recently joined with three other luminaries to warn that artificial intelligence (AI), rapidly proliferating through our most intimate devices, could evolve into a catastrophe for humankind. In an article that appeared in the Independent in May, Hawking and his coauthors Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek write:

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