By way of a reminder, the Humanity+ UK 2010 conference will be held in London later this month. Those of you familiar with the evolution of the transhumanist community over the past decade will recognize most of the names on the conference agenda. Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey is presenting on "human regenerative engineering - theory and practice", so if you have the chance, you might consider attending.
The UK chapter of Humanity+, an organisation dedicated to promoting understanding, interest and participation in fields of emerging innovation that can radically benefit the human condition, announced today that registrations are on track for record attendance at the Humanity+ UK2010 conference taking place in Conway Hall, Holborn, London, on April 24th.
"Approaching 200 attendees are expected to take part in a full day of thought-provoking lectures, discussions, Q&A, and breakouts, led by a line-up of world class futurist speakers", said David Wood, H+UK meetings secretary. "Participants have registered from as far afield as Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, and the USA. The Humanity+ movement, previously known as the World Transhumanist Association, is coming of age."
"Transhumanism is both a reason-based philosophy and a cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition by means of science and technology," said Max More, founder in 1988 of the Extropy Institute think tank ideas market for the future of social change. "Transhumanists seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its current human form and limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values."
Transhumanism is simple common sense as applied to thinking about technology, the human condition, and the future. We look back to see that life was harder in the past: people were less wealthy and less capable, living lives made narrow by comparative lack of choice and tool-aided ability. Today we are not just better off, but actually better than our ancestors: healthier, more broadly skilled, more knowledgeable, and longer-lived. This is the case precisely because technology has advanced, expanding our options and the ability to create better lives. Increasing the capabilities and efficiency of human technology is a great good, as better tools can be used to help us to become better in every way - to enable lives of more choice, greater capabilities, less suffering, and greater wealth.
The result of most interest here is, of course, the way in which progress in applied biotechnology will enable us to greatly extend the healthy human life span. We look to a future in which life science researchers step beyond incremental improvements in slowing down the wear and tear of life, to begin actively identifying and repairing the biochemical damage of aging. They will build technologies of rejuvenation that can restore vigor and youthful function to the aged. This is a grail of transhumanism: the ability to turn resources into more time spent alive and in a good health.