Transhumanism, Meritocracy, and National Survival

In 1950 the brilliant British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing introduced what has now referred to as the Turing Test. It consists of a human interviewing a person and a machine, trying to determine which respondent is the machine. For a machine to pass the Turing Test is considered a significant milestone in the development of artificial intelligence. The test has been administered countless times to-date, and while an indisputable machine victory hasn’t happened yet, computer scientists believe it will happen in the next few years.

Alan Turing believed if a machine could pass his test, it was thinking. But most experts do not define thinking and “consciousness” as one and the same. A machine that passes the Turing test is still a machine, an impressive calculator that imitates consciousness, but inside that big calculator, nobody’s home.

That’s hardly the end of the story, however. In 1988 the theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson published Infinite in All Directions, a wide ranging discourse on humanity’s role in the universe. In his book, Dyson predicts that genetic engineering will enable manufactured organic minds that are merged with electronic components including AI, but inside their biological mental core, they will be alive and self-aware.

According to futurists ranging from Freeman Dyson to Ray Kurzweil to Elon Musk, a millennia from now, if not much, much sooner, only a small fraction of the conscious intelligent beings once known as humans will exist as humanoids we would recognize as ourselves. Others, […] Read More