Why are (some) transhumanists such dicks?


In December on the forum biohack.me, there was a fascinating discussion entitled "Why are transhumanists such dicks?" What came out of it was this.

• The grinder community (those who actively hack themselves to augment human capability) overlaps with transhumanism (a broader category of those interested in enhancing human intellectual and physical abilities).

• Many grinders have the opinion transhumanists and grinders differ in class (transhumanists are perceived as wealthy), in geography (transhumanists often hail from the Bay Area, grinders tend to operate in working-class cities, including a prominent group in Pittsburgh), and in outlook (self-serving vs. collectively motivated).

• The impulse to circumvent existing rules of medical ethics is sometimes based on the desired to speed up progress. But this is problematic: Ethics laws are in place partly because of the real harm that has historically been visited on disenfranchised subjects involved in dangerous medical tests and procedures.

• Transhumanists are often more Ayn Randian in character, Grinders more Pinky and the Brain.

• Grinders have focused on a limited number of feasible biohacking projects and have succeeded where transhumanists are in the planning stage of grandiose but less realistic persuits in body augmentation.

• Assholes are everywhere.

The discussion was started rather flippantly by Frank Swain, the UK writer who hacked his own hearing aids to sense Wi-Fi signals late last year, but it gathered steam for a few weeks and led to some real insights.