Cancel
Comment on The Cybernetic Self

Spaceweaver Fri, Sep 24, 2010
Very well written. Thank you for a pleasurable read.

Humans are brilliant & visionary but also impetuous, easily distracted, fascinated by shiny things, and typically ill-equipped to divine the downstream consequences of our actions. We extrude technologies at a pace that far outruns our ability to understand their impacts on the world, much less how they change who we are. As we reach towards AI, the cyborg, the singularity, and beyond, our cybernetic fantasies may necessarily pass through the dark night of the soul on the way to denouement. What is birthed from the alchemical marriage often necessitates the destruction of the wedding party.


Every truly transformative process is a gamble, a radical renunciation of the continuity that is. Its consequences short or long term are intrinsically unknown. There are prospects and mysteries and mortal dangers. But then if we invest our resources in knowing the future, very little will be left to invest in creating it and even less from the sense of adventure. This is always the paradox of progress. Millennia ago when our ancestors enjoyed fire for the first time, could they possibly fathom the full consequences?

A word of soul and soullessness; the human animal is no less cybernetic than any machine of its creation. There is no reason to believe that cyborgs will be inherently deprived of soul, that they will not dream, hope, believe, envision... And we, who believe and dream of souls that we might possess (or be possessed by), who is better equipped to endow our machinic creations with the deepest of our aspirations? To create them in our own image? (remember the Cylons...).

But then, as far as visions go, they will be born free. Free from both soul and soullessness. They will be... us, very different us...