Bio: Risa Kanai is a Japanese-American student pursuing a double major in Global Liberal Studies and Public Policy at New York University. Her interests revolve around the cultural exchange between Japan and the United States, the evolution of artificial intelligence, and philosophy.
Moreover, popular media seems to be infatuated with imagining the endless possibilities that could result from the fusion between machines and humans (as you have probably seen in numerous sci-fi films). It isn’t particularly difficult to imagine what life would be like if you were to replace your left arm with a sturdy mechanical one or implant a high-tech eye transplant that grants you powerful x-ray and night vision.
As a society, we are currently standing at a crossroad between the edge of human limitations and the beginning of a new path toward unbounded possibilities that can only be embraced through a joint contract with an artificial entity. It is that critical moment along a hero’s journey where the protagonist must choose between an unforeseeable (and often risky), thrilling, and ultimately rewarding adventure or remain in the comforts of their dreadfully mundane environment that they in which they have been raised throughout their life.
Faced with the infinite opportunities offered through the recent exponential growth in technology, our society possesses an obsession in surpassing the limiting factors of the human vessel by fusing with these man-made machines. Despite the unorthodox yet exciting new powers that could be gained through a union with technology, would it ever cross your mind to consider some of the implications of signing away your natural body for an artificial one?
Perhaps not, but do not fear: you are definitely not alone.
As of March 2019, only 29% of surveyed Americans, in a poll about a list of crucial factors that contribute to the general public trust toward artificial intelligence within American industries, agreed that moral dilemmas would prevent them from simply hopping aboard the bandwagon in accepting technological advancements toward Transhumanism. Following the same logic, I would expect only about three out of ten readers of this blog entry to express similar sentiments, while the remaining seven may feel totally for or indifferent about this topic. Evidently, the statistics reveal a lack of concern for the moral implications behind advocating for this life-changing advancement in technology. Although many mainstream articles may focus on the analytical and quantitative aspects of this revolution in technological development, it is perhaps of equal importance to examine the social and ethical consequences that have arisen in opposition to this movement. More specifically, as someone who harbors a neutrally-positive bias for modern Transhumanism, I am intrigued as to what ethical consequences or social barriers are preventing a portion of the global population from accepting this new revolutionary step towards global prosperity.