Transhumanists believe that technology will allow them to live forever — or, at least, indefinitely — in the corporeal world. One scheme by which they think they might accomplish this goal is to create clones of themselves and then scavenge those clones’ bodies for parts to be transplanted. This idea was just featured in the Daily Mail: Regardless of the huge strides scientists have made towards reaching the elusive goal, immortality remains a pipedream. But one researcher in the anti-ageing field believe we could get there — or at least extend human lives beyond the current biological boundaries — without any miracle pill or injection. Dr Alex Zhavoronkov, head of biotech company Insilico Medicine, says human clones could offer the answer to eternal life. Theoretically, the sci-fi concept of growing bodies in labs would provide people with ‘spare’ vital organs when theirs begin to fail in order to extend their life. Be very clear. This proposal is not only immoral, it is monstrous. Why? Human cloning would create human beings asexually, meaning cloning for body parts would be to create slaves and treat them merely as harvestable crops. The somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique being discussed in the story is the same process that made Dolly the sheep. This is how it is done: An egg cell’s nucleus is removed. Next, the nucleus of the person to be cloned is removed from a skin cell and placed where the egg’s nucleus used to be. The modified egg would then be stimulated and, if the cloning “took,” a new human embryo would come into being. (This has already been accomplished in humans, although the resulting embryos were destroyed after two weeks.) From that point, it would develop in the same way as an embryo that comes into existence through fertilization does. In other words, the clone of the person seeking to live forever would be fully human. Adding to the immorality, these clones would presumably be gestated in artificial wombs — which would require repeated experimentation on living human embryos and fetuses to perfect. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This dystopian proposal has already been depicted in several science-fiction novels and films. Indeed, it almost perfectly mimics a plot point in the Dune novels, in which women are rendered permanently unconscious so that their uteruses can be used as “Axlotl tanks” for gestating. Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, head of Insilico Medicine and the subject of the Daily Mail article, says: “Cloning, in my opinion, is the only way to make a dramatic leap in life extension and turn longevity into an engineering problem.” Scientists would need to develop a way of successfully cloning humans and disabling their cognitive functions so they could only be used for organs, he noted. Of course, Zhavoronkov’s lab is in China — the land where medical and other ethics might go to die.
Transhumanists pursue the dream of immortality by hoping to upload their minds into computers — as if the mimicking software would be them. No, it would be a computer program, nothing more. They would still be dead and gone. And here’s another somewhat less ambitious approach to the same goal. Apparently a company is developing technology that would allow you to speak to loved ones after you shuffle off this mortal coil. From the Vice story: The founder of a top metaverse company says that the fast-moving development of ChatGPT has pushed the timeline for one of his most ambitious and eccentric projects up by a matter of years. In an interview with Motherboard, Somnium Space’s Artur Sychov said a user has started to integrate OpenAI’s chatbot into his metaverse, creating a virtual assistant that offers a faster pathway for the development of “Live Forever” mode, Sychov’s project to allow people to store the way they talk, move, and sound until after they die, when they can come back from the dead as an online avatar to speak with their relatives. Leaving aside the narcissistic aspect of people continually having themselves recorded, “they” wouldn’t be “back.” The deceased would still be dead. The AI reproduction would merely be a more sophisticated remembrance of the dearly departed than is available now, akin to a precious photo or video, nothing more. Immortality cannot be attained in the corporeal world. If eternal life is attainable, it will be found by working on one’s soul in faith, not by developing ever-more-advanced AI computers.
Transhumanism is a utopian futuristic social movement that denies the intrinsic dignity of human beings in a quest for incorporeal immortality. At National Review, I profile transhumanism’s most energetic popularizer, and along the way, explain why transhumanism should make anyone who believes in human exceptionalism queasy. From, “A Transhumanist Runs for President:” Why should we take any of this seriously? After all, transhumanism is hardly mainstream and Istvan doubts his candidacy — which is mostly self-funded — will last much beyond Super Tuesday (although, knowing him, he will find some other way to harness the centrifugal energy of the presidential contest to boost himself and his ideas). Here’s why. Istvan is just the popularizer; behind him, some of the world’s richest and most powerful people fund transhumanism research and advocacy, including Google’s Ray Kurzweil and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Moreover, it isn’t the unlikely coming of the Singularity that makes transhumanism a perilous social force. I truly doubt we will ever “upload” our minds into computers to live forever in the Cloud, a core eschatological transhumanist belief. Rather, it is transhumanism’s explicit utopianism and denigration of human exceptionalism that cause one’s neck hair to stand on end. Transhumanism is also a materialist religion, as this earlier article explains. As we chuckle at Istvan’s eccentric campaigns, let us not lose sight of the fact that many people are being seduced by the radical values the movement fosters. And therein lies the rub. Transhumanism will never kill death. But it could be the death knell of human freedom.