Amped: A Sci-Fi Novel Asks Whether "Transhumans" Would Still Be Human
2012 06 19

By David Sydiongco | Slate.com



After years of fighting claims that his artificial limbs grant him an unfair advantage over other runners, South African Oscar Pistorius has a chance to become the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games.

What if the debate over enhancement technology that made some people “better than human” went from just one man to a whole population? That’s the premise of the latest sci-fi novel from roboticist (and Future Tense contributor) Daniel H. Wilson.

Amped depicts a near-future United States struggling with discrimination and social unrest—caused not by racism or economic injustice, but by transhumanism.

Transhumanism is the concept of integrating technology with one’s body in order to improve the human condition—from prosthetic limbs to or imbuing brains with zettabytes of storage space.

Wilson’s novel focuses on the political and social disruption caused by the advent of the “amp,” a tiny device of the placed in one’s prefrontal cortex. It sends electrical impulses to specific parts of a user’s brain, resulting in a wide range of miraculous benefits—like the elimination of all disability, both mental and physical, and seamless synchronization with prosthetic limbs. The amp also dramatically improves one’s mental capacities, allowing those of once below-average intellect to perform machine-fast probability computations.

Observers of transformative technologies often worry that they will promote further disparity between the rich and poor, as the wealthy can afford the new enhancements and the poor remain old-fashioned humans. But Wilson’s novel flips this. “Many people believe that implantable technology will be something rich people use to oppress poor people. But Tony Stark isn’t going to be the first person to get this stuff,” he told me in an email. He argues that “super-enabling” technology such as this would first be adopted by the desperate. “Nobody else will be willing to take the risks inherent in having a nascent technology put into your skull,” he said.


[...]

Read the full article at: slate.com
Image: Source - Runner Oscar Pistorius. Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images






Related Articles
Amped - Amazon.com
Call me Ishmael…or Not: The Identity “Crisis” and Transhumanism
Transhumansm; Merging With Technology
The Psychedelic Transhumanists
Genetic Engineering and the Brave New World of Transhuman Machines
Transhumanist Salvation or Judgment Day?


Latest News from our Front Page

Former Chief Security Officer for NewsCorp: N. Koreans Not Behind Sony Hack, Interview Leak
2014-12-20 2:17
Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor and former chief security officer for NewsCorp/Fox studios, says North Korea isn’t behind the Sony Hack. Nigam gave several bullet points for why the hack was likely an inside job. Attack code borrowed from a previous attack on Seoul, that’s why it’s in Korean. Private hackers typically borrow malicious code from other hackers.Nations state attacks follow ...
Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times
2014-12-20 2:13
Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled. Via The Hollywood Reporter: After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview's release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move. “The ...
The Bankster International
2014-12-20 1:55
Geopolitical analysis, the art of explaining power relationships through the prism of impersonal geography, can be a helpful tool for observers of the Great Game – but it also has its limitations. A case in point is the renewed US-Russia confrontation. Think tanks and policy insiders easily sell the narrative that from the dark days of the Cold War to ...
Another banker dies under suspicious circumstances
2014-12-20 1:09
52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack – a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals – was described as ‘impeccable’, ‘sporty’, ‘cared-for’, and ‘successful’ and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrounded by riddles… Impeccable. Sporty. Cared for. Successful. Just some qualifications that are attributed to ...
NATO increases military presence on Russia’s borders
2014-12-20 1:14
The Pentagon has confirmed the military buildup along Russia’s borders to ensure long-term “peace and stability” in the region. Earlier Moscow accused NATO of a sharp increase in air activity and intelligence flights in the border zone. Replying to RIA Novosti’s query on the increased number of NATO flights around Russia’s borders, a Pentagon representative told the news agency that the military ...
More News »