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A sociologist in the United Kingdom is citing advances in technology that enable people to fulfill their potential in contrast to a “metaphysical assumption shared by liberals, that humans are equal.”

Steve Fuller, who holds the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick, explained in the business review section of a blog for the London School of Economics that under capitalism, people have been free to exchange goods and services, which he called an “inalienable right.”

There were dangers, he noted, from exploitation, and Marxists say the “asymmetrical power relations in the marketplace” run roughshod over human rights.

Now comes transhumanism, he wrote, challenging both capitalism and socialism, which had created a “sense of humanism” with the balance of a right to work and participate in the marketplace, yet a right not to be controlled by another.

Transhumanism is the idea that humans can evolve to physical and mental capacities beyond those that exist now, “especially by means of science and technology.”

Investigate the growing trend of blending human and machine, called “transhumanism,” at the WND Superstore.

Computers now “mediate both work and non-work” aspects of life, and the markers that once divided them have become smaller and smaller, Fuller said.

“An obvious case in point is the idea of ‘working from home.’ People who operate this way typically shift back and forth between performing work and non-work activities on screen in an open-ended and relatively unstructured day. Meanwhile, all the data registered in these activities are gathered by information providers (e.g. Google, Facebook, Amazon), who then analyze and consolidate them for resale to private and public sector clients,” he wrote.

“Is this exploitation? The answer is not so clear. The information providers offer a platform that is free at the point of use, enabling users to produce and consume data indefinitely. Of course, such platforms are the source of both intense frustration and endless satisfaction for users, but the phenomenology of these experiences is not necessarily what one might expect of people in a state of ‘exploitation.’

“On the contrary, there is reason to think that people increasingly locate ‘meaning’ in their lives in some cyber-projection (‘avatar’) of themselves, notwithstanding the third-party ownership of the platform hosting the cyber-projection,” he said.

One’s “personhood,” he wrote, strongly implicates transhumanism, which can involve a person changing “genetically or prosthetically.”

“On the other hand, in the case of transfer, the person might do more than simply bequeath various assets to already existing individuals and institutions – say, in a will which comes into force upon one’s death. Rather, the person might in his or her own lifetime invest energy and income in support of virtual agents, ‘second lives.’ with the effect of turning one’s physical self into a platform for launching the more meaningful cyber-selves.”

The result, “Capitalism 2.0,” he called it, is “morphological freedom.”

“It is the freedom not only to do what you want but also to be what you want. It is worth observing that this sense of freedom violates a key metaphysical assumption shared by liberals and socialists, namely, that humans are rough natural equals, not in the sense that everyone is naturally the same but that everyone has roughly the same mix of assets and liabilities, which in turn justifies a harmonious division of labor in society.

“The violation of this assumption implies that whatever problems of social justice relating to material inequality have emerged over the history of capitalism are potentially amplified by transhumanism, as the prospect of morphological freedom explodes stopgap liberal intuitions about the ‘natural equality’ of humans,” he said.

WND has reported about opposition to the general “transhumanism” movement, most recently by the Family Research Council.

FRC was objecting to a plan last year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Barack Obama to have taxpayers fund the mixing of human stem cells with animal embryos to create chimeras, creatures that have part animal and part human elements, in pursuit of better lives.

WND has previously reported on such goals. In one case, a U.S. biotech company was given permission to obtain 20 brain-dead patients to test if parts of their central nervous systems could be regenerated.

The company, Bioquark Inc., plans to use a soup of stem cells and peptides on the brains of the patients over a six-week period to see if it can jump-start their functions.

Philadelphia-based Bioquark asks on its website: “What if your body came with a restart button?”

WND also reported last winter on the growing promise of anti-aging or “gene therapy” science, a technology known as CRISPR/Cas9. It purports to deliver immortality to human beings and has attracted support from some of the world’s richest men, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal; Ray Kurzwell of Google; Oracle founder Larry Ellison; venture capitalist Paul Glenn; and Russian multi-millionaire Omitry Itskov.

Carl Gallups, a Christian pastor, radio host and author of several books, including “Be Thou Prepared” and “Final Warning,” said there are moral and ethical dilemmas.

“What entity or governmental power will make the decisions concerning who gets their death ‘reversed’ and who must die?” Gallups asked at the time.

Investigate the growing trend of blending human and machine, called “transhumanism,” at the WND Superstore.

 

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