“Transhumanism: for what purpose?”

Publié le : 6 December 2013

 In his blog, French biologist, Jacques Testart, tells us that transhumanism is not a new concept. Mankind has always "dreamt of giants, sorcerers and invincible or immortal heroes". Transhumanism promotes a world in which "mankind would benefit from new powers thanks to the unlimited, exponential advance of technology". The only new aspect lies in the recent acceleration of technical capacities in various areas that now "give credibility to hitherto unthinkable desires".     

And there are numerous transhumanist projects in the pipeline. After "breeding embryos in vitro" to influence the future functions of mankind, there is nowadays interest in "modifying genomes via transgenesis", or in creating intelligent machines, etc. In fact, "transhumanism views living creatures as a sophisticated but highly imperfect therapy, with each cog in the wheel having to be reinvented by removing any design interference between the inert and the living or between animals and man". 
It is the sheer "force" of progress as opposed to cancelling out ethical or cautious questions as a matter of course," confirms J. Testart. Consequently, we have to decide well in advance what is acceptable and what we need by imposing "limits on all forms of power" and by considering "habit and lobbying pressure to turn scientists into industrialists".     
As far as the biologist is concerned, every promise made by transhumanists is worthy of consideration to assess the element of risk in addition to feasibility. Because nowadays, the hardest thing is not to innovate but to "control the effects of every innovation," he pointed out.      
For J. Testart, "the new man is worth more than the extended man arrogantly calculated by computers. Rather than invasive technologies, our societies need justice and social interaction teamed with sobriety in order to preserve our fragile world". 

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