Ted’s Nine Tenets or Talking Points
1. We all know that the world faces anemic growth, an aging population, concerns over sustainability, and the same old geopolitics. But less noticed are exciting technological developments on the frontier that offer radical solutions. Linking these two aspects together leads us to what I call the “posthuman era.” The advent of this new era of transhumanism will be a dominant story for at least the next twenty years.
2. Sci-fi movies about super-intelligent machines and cyborgs are a clear sign that transhumanism is entering the mainstream. But most of us are confused about what to expect, because many of these stories depict dark scenarios, while others present images of a technological utopia. The future described by today’s transhumanist thinkers is what I call “hell-ven”—a term I coined that refers to a combination of hell and heaven. No wonder most people don’t know whether to dread or welcome the posthuman future! And this is why I spent 15 years working on this issue.
3. The goal of my book is to provide ideological clarity about the posthuman future by looking at our next stage of development from a cosmic perspective. You know, terms like “God” and “higher purpose” are not in the vocabulary of most transhumanists. That has to change, if we are to move forward with a clear vision.
4. According to my vision of the future, the human race is not the highest nor is it the final product of 14 billion years of cosmic evolution. We alone are not the sole or ultimate purpose of the universe. Yes, we are a noble product of the evolutionary process, but humanity is also a means to a greater end. We need to discover and joyfully embrace this higher end, this new purpose.
5. Discovering this greater purpose is not that difficult if we study evolutionary history closely. When we do, we find that every species before us has been surpassed by a more advanced species. And it is now humanity’s purpose and privilege to do the same thing. The difference is that we can have the thrill of doing that consciously—through conscious evolution.
6. That in turn means that we must intentionally enable a very great historic change: We must experiment and we must eventually create a new species to succeed us. Many call them transhumans or cyborgs, but I like to call them “CoBe” (the Cosmic Being). To succeed at this endeavor, three things are required:
a)We must know how to do it (that is, technically)
b) We must have a need to do it (we must realize progress is good for us)
c) And, we must believe it’s the right thing to do (we must have ideological clarity)
7. When I first began work on the book, the most common reaction was that the posthuman future is too far off for people to worry about it. But today, the first two of these three pre-conditions (see the last bullet) are gradually falling in to place, and I hope my work will help with the third: showing that the right thing to do is to fully embrace the posthuman era.
8. As a macroeconomist and futurist, I have long sensed that the human era is coming to a close and that this posthuman era is upon us. In my role as a chief economist, both for General Motors and for one of the world’s largest investment funds, I have learned that I must go beyond economics. In the same way, in order to express the pinnacle human spirit, we must now go beyond humanity.
9. We finally know how to create our successors with the help of the new technologies of robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and biotechnology; and, speaking as an economist, we need to begin this work now to prevent ruinous stagnation—given that the role of humans in the global economy will gradually diminish in favor of these more efficient advanced devices and autonomous entities. I show why this effort is morally superior to any possible human-centric approach to evaluate the future, which inevitably ends with very confusing “hell-ven” scenarios.