Embodiment and mortality are the source of much of human glory
Humans are embodied beings; they are not simply an abstract mind that is imprisoned in a body, as transhumanist anthropology presupposes, but rather beings whose mind and body are holistically interdependent. Transhumanists are particularly disdainful of human embodiment, because it is imperfect, subject to limitations, and above all finite and mortal. Transhumanists are obsessed with fixing the limitations of the human body so as to improve its performance, extend its life indefinitely, and defy its impending death, but humanists who study the human experience in time, appreciate the wisdom of embodiment and mortality and the preciousness of organic life, the very life which transhumanists denigrate and wish to make obsolete.
The glory of humanity does not lie in the disembodied consciousness that will be uploaded unto super-intelligent machines where it will engage in perpetual computation, but in the complex mind-body interplay that resists reductionist to either “spiritual” mind or “physical” body. It is the interdependence of mind-body that allows us to sense, perceive, feel, desire, yearn, hope, communicate, and create sophisticated civilisations. Embodiment and mortality should not be viewed as human deficiency that should be eliminated by science and technology but rather as the source of much of human glory, since philosophy, religion, and art are all expressions of human awareness of death and the human response to the fact of mortality.
Source : in praise of human dignity: the humanities in the age of big data, oneducation.net, 2018
We are still the masters of our fate. Rational thinking, even assisted by any conceivable electronic computors, cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions are broadening this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the industrial revolution—for good or for evil.
The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.
As a kid, I read an article in the Scientific American. It measured the efficiency of locomotion of various species on the planet. Bears. Chimpanzees. Raccoons. Birds. Fish. How many kilo-calories per kilometer did they spend to move?
Humans were measured too.
And the condor won. It was the most efficient.
Humankind came in with an unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. But somebody there had the brilliance to test a human riding a bicycle. We blew away the condor. Off the charts.
This really had an impact on me. Humans are tool builders. We build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities. We ran an ad for this once that the personal computer is the bicycle of the mind. I believe that with every bone in my body.
Social media has given everyone a virtual megaphone to broadcast every thought, along with the means to filter out any contrary view [...] The result is a creeping sense of isolation and emptiness, which leads people to swipe, tap, and click all the more. Digital distraction keeps the mind occupied but does little to nurture it, much less cultivate depth of feeling, which requires the resonance of another’s voice within our very bones and psyches.