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New Book Announcement:
Download the PDF (full text is below)
Nine key tenets of the book.
Here is a comprehensive one-hour interview with Miriam Knight of NCR.
This inspiring interview with Nikola Danaylov of Singularity 1 on 1 is entitled:
“The time has come to set a higher goal!”
Nikola also writes: “In my opinion Ted’s book is absolutely profound in the way it draws upon a dazzling variety of philosophical and scientific resources in order to place humanity within a cosmic evolutionary perspective. In that sense I will go as far as claiming that it is a one-of-a-kind book within my transhumanist library and, while it is definitely not an easy or quick read, I enjoyed it very much.”
. . . . “Ted Chu has done us a great service in writing this rich but accessible book, for he invites us to examine the great questions of human existence and purpose. His imagination and confidence in human ingenuity also invites us to dream great dreams. People of faith will be challenged by Chu’s thought and insights, but also will be urged to see the cosmos through a new lens. After reading this book you might never think of yourself, or the future, the same way again.” [read entire review here]
Becoming More Than Human
“Just as it took a significant evolution for life to leave the oceans and settle dry land, it will take another evolution for human life to leave Earth and take up habitation in deep space, states New York University economist Ted Chu. He looks for ward to our species breaking free fully of its present-day physical and mental limitations and becoming “cosmic beings” that can think and function on levels that we cannot even comprehend. Many of us are accustomed to thinking of human nature as fixed and unchanging, he notes, but he ex pects the future to prove us wrong. Human nature itself will change, and with it most of our existing social systems, all of which are based on conventional notions of human nature that will no longer be relevant in the cosmic-being paradigm. The posthuman cosmic beings will be more rational, more altruistic, and free from the dominion of our base impulses and from the limitations of modern-day human speech and thought. They may even branch out into highly divergent new body types. Chu is open to the possibility of our species becoming many more species. A profusion of biodiversity, comparable to that which gave rise to thousands of new forms of animal and plant life in the prehistoric Cambrian era,could unfold within humanity itself. Our transition toward cosmic beings won’t take place all on its own, however. Chu stresses the importance of individual innovators and change makers of all kinds to mov ing humanity forward. New technologies, social systems, and social values are forms of evolution, too, and Chu urges all of us to support their creators. Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential is a very philosophical and imaginative discussion about what humanity is and what it could be. Any readers who take an interest in the very far future will find it a worthwhile read.”
“Cosmic Beings: Transhumanist Deism in Ted Chu’s Cosmic View”
By Giulio Prisco
“Ted Chu argues that post-humanity is a logical and necessary evolutionary next step for humanity, and we need a new, heroic cosmic faith for the post-human era. ‘The ultimate meaning of our lives rests not in our personal happiness but in our contribution to cosmic evolution,’ says Chu, ‘ . . . a process that transcends the human and yet is integral to who and what we are in the universe.’ Chu believes that we should create a new wave of sentient beings, artificial intelligences and synthetic life forms, and pass the baton of cosmic evolution to them. This doesn’t mean that humanity will be discarded, but only that in the future our spiritual descendants will take over. Creating our successors isn’t betraying humanity and nature but, on the contrary, a necessary continuation of our evolutionary journey and an act of deep respect, to the point of worship, of humanity, evolution, and nature” … [read more]
“Economist Ted Chu, PHD, is before his time with Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision of Our Future Evolution. The book prepares the reader for the next step in human evolution that can enable us to explore the stars. Science Fiction writers have been worried about the approaching Singularity when machines will gain consciousness and maybe take us there. The book might remind one of Arthur C. Clarke who wrote about the next stage in “human evolution” in Childhood’s End. Chu does not go into detail about how this change will occur, but there are posthumans and cyborgs in the horizon presented this philosophical book. . . [read more]
Publisher’s Brief Overview
Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential:
A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution
By Ted Chu, PhD, Foreword by John Haught, PhD
An expansive study of the distant future of human evolution that projects—as the ultimate expression of our human purpose—the unfolding of new forms of self-aware cosmic life in the “posthuman future” that transcend the biological limitations of human nature.
[Wikipedia definitions of “transhuman” and “posthuman” can be found here]
Pub Date: March 1, 2014
504 pages • 5.5×8.5 Cloth • $26.95
9 illustrations • Index • Bibliography
EPUB: ISBN 9781579830236 $14.99
Kindle: ISBN 9781579830243 $14.99
Apple ebook: $11.99
Dare we ask what humanity is for? For millennia, the great sages and philosophers have contemplated the meaning and purpose of human existence. But most have assumed that humanity was the end-point of creation, or the pinnacle of evolution. Never, until now, have we faced the imminent possibility of transcending our biological form, of becoming—or creating—entirely new life-forms that will overcome our human limitations. In Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential, Ted Chu makes the provocative claim that the human race may in fact be a means rather than an end—and that our true purpose is to give rise to our evolutionary successors.
In this wide-ranging philosophic work that reflects enormous erudition, Chu reexamines the question of human purpose in light of the extraordinary potentials that science and technology have now placed within our reach. Arguing that we need a deeper understanding of our place in the universe in order to navigate the daunting choices ahead of us, he surveys human wisdom both East and West, traces our long evolutionary trajectory, and explores the potentials gathering on the scientific frontier. Chu makes us fully aware of the many risks ahead, but offers a thoroughly original cosmic vision that provides the courage and the perspective we will need to explore the potentials of our posthuman future.
New Book Announcement
A prominent economist declares that the “posthuman era has arrived”— and reframes the transhumanism debate with an original ethical vision. Formerly the chief economist of General Motors, Ted Chu displays enormous erudition in this expansive study of the trajectory of human and cosmic evolution. Chu celebrates the prospect of new forms of cosmic life that, he shows, will be the ultimate expression of humanity’s evolutionary purpose.
Today we can radically alter biological organisms; and in the coming century, futurists say, these technologies will usher in the much-heralded “posthuman era.” But critics like Francis Fukuyama complain that transhumanism has become a narrow and dangerous idea, paying insufficient attention to ethical consequences. Ted Chu’s Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution (Origin Press, March 2014) responds to the movement’s many detractors—providing the first systemic attempt to reclaim the philosophical high ground in this increasingly timely and worldwide debate. To retake that ground, Chu establishes an interdisciplinary stance and examines the transhumanist project with philosophic questions, such as:
• Given our revolutionary new technologies (including nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering), what is the relationship of these new biological designs to cosmic evolution?
• Could it be that the human species is a means rather than an end—and that our true purpose is to give rise to evolutionary successors?
• Why should evolution stop with the advent of humans on the stage of cosmic history? Can there be a higher, nobler goal than the individual’s happiness and society’s well-being?
“Looking at the big picture of cosmic evolution since the Big Bang,” writes Chu, “I am convinced that our purpose is to transcend our limiting biology and the resulting limitations in our consciousness, thus enabling the rise of new kinds of sentient beings, freed from our genetic limitations.”
A New Goal and a “New Covenant” for Humanity
Chu goes on to articulate a goal and a purpose for humanity in the face of momentous technological breakthroughs. The pursuit of human happiness is noble, but our ultimate purpose—our “new divine covenant”—is to serve the forward march of evolution through the transcendence of our own biology. Renowned evolutionary theologian John Haught puts it this way in his Foreword: “It is now conceivable to many thoughtful people that the human period of evolution may eventually turn out to be a transitional chapter in cosmic history. How are we to address such a prospect? In the remote cosmic future, will human history appear to be anything more than an ephemeral crossing-over to more fascinating episodes in an enormously inventive cosmic narrative whose eventual playing-out is currently unimaginable? If you care about such questions, read this book.”
The upshot of Chu’s argument becomes clear: A deeper understanding of our place in the universe reveals that humanity is not the end-point of creation. We may not be the pinnacle of evolution. This new understanding emerges as he plumbs the depths of the world’s wisdom traditions and surveys the most cutting-edge evolutionary theory and scientific advances. While confronting the many risks ahead, Chu offers an original cosmic vision with enormous real-world political and economic implications.
Formerly the chief economist at General Motors, Ted Chu was also chief economist for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. He is currently professor of economics at New York University at Abu Dhabi. During his 25 years as a business economist, Dr. Chu also held positions as macroeconomist for the World Bank and Arthur D. Little. For the last 15 years, his second career has been conducting independent research on the philosophical question of humanity’s place in the universe, building on his lifelong interest in the frontiers of evolutionary progress. As part of these research efforts, he founded the nonprofit CoBe (Cosmic Being) Institute in Michigan and serves as a senior scholar at ChangCe, a Beijing-based independent think tank. Born and raised in China, Chu graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, and earned his PhD in economics at Georgetown University.