by Michael Rectenwald
'The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty'...
The conception is materialist and mechanistic at base, the hallmarks of social engineering.
Such a materialist,
mechanistic, techno-determinist, and reductionist worldview is
consistent with the transhumanist belief that humans themselves will
soon be succeeded by a new transhuman species, or humanity-plus (h+)
- perhaps a genetically and AI-enhanced cyborg that will outstrip
ordinary humans and make the latter virtually obsolete.
In an essay entitled "Transhumanism," published in the book New Bottles for New Wine (1957), Huxley defined transhumanism as the self-transcendence of humanity:
One question for transhumanism is indeed whether this transcendence will apply to the whole human species or rather for only a select part of it.
But Huxley gave some indication of how this human self-transcendence might occur: humanity would become,
As the first epigraph to this Part makes clear, Julian Huxley was a proponent of eugenics, and he was the President of the British Eugenics Society. 3
It was in his introduction of UNESCO, as the director-general that he suggested that eugenics, after the Nazi regime had given it such a bad name, should be rescued from opprobrium,
As John Klyczek has noted,
Transhumanism, Klyczek suggests, is,
Contemporary transhumanist enthusiasts, such as Simon Young, believe that humanity can take over where evolution has left us to create a new and improved species - either ourselves, or a successor to ourselves:
In "A History of Transhumanist Thought," Nick Bostrom details the lineage of transhumanist thought from its prehistory to the present and shows,
It is the last of these fields that primarily concerns us here.
The transhumanist project has since envisioned the transcendence of humanity via technological means.
In the past thirty years, this technological transcendence has been figured as "The Singularity."
The singularity, Vinge suggested, is the near-future point at which machine intelligence will presumably supersede human intelligence.
Vinge boldly declared:
Vinge predicted that the singularity would be reached no later than, you guessed it, 2030...
The question Vinge
addressed was whether, and if so, how, the human species might
survive the coming singularity.
Kurzweil, whose books include,
...suggests that by 2029, technologists will have successfully reverse-engineered the brain and replicated human intelligence in (strong) AI while vastly increasing processing speeds of thought.
Having mapped the neuronal components of a human brain, or discovered the algorithms for thought, or a combination thereof, technologists will convert the same to a computer program, personality and all, and upload it to a computer host, thus grasping the holy grail of immortality.
Finally, as the intelligence explosion expands from the singularity, all matter will be permeated with data, with intelligence:
Thus, in a complete reversal of the Biblical creation narrative, Kurzweil posits a dumb universe that begins with a cosmic singularity (the Big Bang) and becomes God by a technological singularity.
This second singularity, Kurzweil suggests, involves the universe becoming self-aware, vis-à-vis the informational, technological agent, humanity.
Thus, in the technological singularity, the technological and the cosmic converge, as Kurzweil resembles a techno-cosmic Hegelian.
(Hegel figured collective human self-consciousness progressing in self-actualization and self-realization, finally becoming and recognizing itself as God, "through the State [as] the march of God in the world.") 11
Incidentally, according to Kurzweil, our post-human successors will bear the marks of their human provenance.
Thus, the future
intelligence will remain "human" in some sense. Human beings are the
carriers of universal intelligence and human technology is the
substratum by which intelligence will be infinitely expanded and
According to Harari, the 4-IR will have two main consequences:
Just as humans are functionally replaced, that is, they will be subject to the total control of powerful corporations or the state (or, what's more likely, a hybrid thereof, a neo-fascist state).
Rather than a decentralized, open-access infosphere of exploding intelligence available to all, Singularitarian technologies will become part of the arsenal for domination.
The supersession of human intelligence by machine intelligence will involve the use of such data and data processing capabilities to further predict and control social behavioral patterns of the global population.
In addition, the biotechnical enhancement of the few will serve to exacerbate an already wide gulf between the elite and the majority, while the "superiority" of the enhanced functions ideologically to rationalize differences permitted by such a division.
That is, Harari suggests that if developments proceed as Vinge and Kurzweil predict, this vastly accelerated information-collecting and processing sphere will not constitute real knowledge for the enlightenment of the vast majority.
Rather, it will be
instrumentalist and reductionist in the extreme, facilitating the
domination of human beings on a global scale, while rendering
Such interfaces have
already reached the commercialization stage with Elon Musk's Neuralink, 13 Kernel, 14 and through DARPA,
15 among others.
Such control of the mind through implants was already prototyped by José Delgado as early as 1969. 15
Now, two-way transmission of data between the brain and the cloud effectively means the possibility of reading the thoughts of subjects, interrupting such thoughts, and replacing them with other, machine-cloud-originating information.
The desideratum to record, label, "informationalize," rather than to understand, let alone critically engage or theorize experience will take exclusive priority for subjects, given the possibilities for controlling neuronal switching patterns.
Given the instrumentalism of the Singularitarians - or, as Yuval Harari has called them, the "Dataists" - decisive, action-oriented algorithms will dominate these brain-cloud interfaces, precluding faculties for the critical evaluation of activity, and obliterating free will. 17
Given enough data, algorithms will be better able to make decisions for us.
Nevertheless, they will have been based on intelligence defined in a particular way and put to particular ends, placing considerable emphasis on the speed and volume of data processing and decision-making based on data construed as "knowledge."
Naturally, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World comes to mind.
Yet, unlike Huxley's
mind-numbing soma, brain-cloud interfaces will have an ideological
appeal to the masses; they are touted as enhancements, as vast
improvements over standard human intelligence.
Given the exorbitant cost of entry, only the elite will be able to afford actual enhancements, making them a new, superior species - notwithstanding the claim that Moore's Law closes the technological breach by exponentially increasing the price-performance of computing and thus halving its cost per unit of measurement every two years or less.
How the elite will maintain exclusive control over enhancements and yet subject the masses to control technologies is never addressed.
But perhaps a
kill switch could be implemented such that the elite will not be
subjected to brain-data mining - unless one runs afoul of the
agenda, in which case brain-data mining could be (re)enabled.
No longer capable of mounting a challenge to the elite as in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and having no function, the feckless masses will have no recourse or purpose.
And thus, as Harari sees it, the remaining majority will be condemned to spend their time in the metaverse, or worse.
Of course, Harari exempts himself from this fate.
As for the elite, according to Harari, their supposed superiority to the masses will soon become a matter of biotechnological fact, rather than merely an ideological pretension as in the past.
The elite will not only continue to control the lion's share of the world's material resources: they will also become godlike and enjoy effective remote control over their subordinates.
Further, via biotechnological means, they will acquire eternal life on Earth, while the majority, formerly consoled by the fact that at least everybody dies, will now lose the great equalizer.
Harari's pronouncements may amount to intentional hyperbole to make a point, but his statements are remarkable for the cynicism and disdain for humanity they betray...
They are revelatory of the unmitigated gall of believers in the transhuman future.