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French Transhumanist Association
Some reflection of the French Transhumanist Association (AFT) on the technological future of humankind.
The French Transhumanist Association – Technoprog stimulates public discourse on questions relating to the current changes in the biological and social circumstances of humankind. Our goal is to improve these circumstances, in particular by radically extending healthy lifespan. We seek to promote those technologies that facilitate these transformations, while advocating preservation of the environment, and careful attention to health risks, all in the interest of social justice.
Each year brings its share of major scientific and technical advances, and with them new questions and issues. In recent decades, these advances have begun to challenge long-held notions of human identity, pushing us to search for a new conception of humanism. These developments make clear what many philosophers have asserted:
The human being is neither fixed nor predetermined, from a philosophical or biological point of view. Is it not in the truest humanist tradition to uphold that human identity and nature depend on what we desire to make of them?
Today, the convergence of so-called NBIC technologies (Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science) are helping to open up an ever-expanding field of possibilities, which we call « human augmentation ». In our rationalist and materialistic approach to transhumanism we propose analyzing various possible evolutionary options, so that each of us can choose knowingly those that seem optimal to him. Indeed, we believe that informed choices, freely and responsibly made are probably the best way to assure the survival of humankind and the continued promulgation of intelligence.
In other words, humanity now has the means to intervene in its own evolution, which is a true revolution. Given that this process has already begun, it is high time to actively address all of these questions, and not simply to let them be decided for us. We must now strive to anticipate the upheavals that will almost certainly result in the economic, social, political, and private spheres.
Technoprog, as its name implies, openly claims to be a « democratic transhumanism » or techno-progressivism. This means being particularly attentive to the following aspects:
- Democracy: Access to knowledge and the use of appropriate communication tools should allow for democratic debates and the involvement of civil society in decisions that are made regarding human augmentation.
- Justice and social harmony: From the perspective of transhumanist evolution, our action aims to improve personal fulfillment and freedom. However, it is necessary that all progress is equitably accessible to the greatest number and promotes the development of more harmonious societies.
- Risks: the health, environmental or societal risks associated with any technological progress must be rigorously and promptly assessed.
The areas in where we think progress is most useful are those that enable women and men to:
- increase healthy lifespan
- relevant scientific fields: stem cells, gene therapies, bionics; later: nanotechnologies …;
- increase their sensorimotor and cognitive abilities
- all NBICs contribute to it.
- be happier and more empathic
- relevant scientific fields: neuroscience;
- live in a sustainable society
- which implies the development of renewable energies, the reuse of raw materials, the radical reduction of pollution …;
- reduce the risks that threaten humanity (existential risks)
- It therefore seems to us necessary, for example, to increase very significantly the share of research budgets allocated to risk prevention.
In order to disseminate information and insights, to stimulate democratic debate, to challenge scientific, economic, and political decisionmakers, and of course to promote our « techno-progressive » approach, the French Transhumanist Association – Technoprog works in many capacities:
- Organizing conferences
- Participation in public debate (presenting at various conferences and on media outlets)
- Web presence via « transhumanistes.com » (blog, forum …) and reports and updates on various blogs (Silicon Maniacs, Mesacosan)
- Serving as a networking platform for people interested in these issues
- Assisting young researchers venturing into NBIC
- And more
We live at a pivotal time in which the future of humanity is at stake. We must breathe new life into the spirit of human progress!
Translation: Ranjan AhujaTweeter