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

People are merging with machines
2014 10 20
Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s ...
Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
More News »