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    Default Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Are there any more? Do we have anything to talk about?

    What's on your list of transhumanist dreams?

    I'm mostly into body customization, but personality copying and running multiple bodies at once are also intriguing ideas.

    What makes a person? Are we going to talk to something else here first, or somewhere out in space? Are we going to make whatever we're talking to, or are we just going to figure out the language? Have we already talked to nonhuman intelligences?
    Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    For me, it's all about immortality. It's time we finally ended death.

    Then, brain modification. That has a lot of priority over other body parts for me. Personality backups too. Never saw the need to run multiple bodies myself, either.
    "In dark times, should the stars also go out?"

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    For me, it's all about immortality. It's time we finally ended death.
    Yep, pretty much this.

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Well, yeah, immortality is pretty much a given. If I don't live forever, how will I finish anything?

    But I think it might be cool to live a sort of doubled experience. Maybe. Depends on how it works. Having multiple different bodies is also useful; one might be better than another for a particular purpose, or just the one you feel like wearing today.

    I think there's a lot of utility in being able to, say swap out hands for a particular task, or carry an emergency oxygen tank in place of an appendix or something.
    Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    I'm interested in the ideas behind transhumanism. But before I move on to something other than human, I'd like to have the experience of fully functional human eyes and ears. I think that's an example of my biggest problem with the movement generally - it seems to be putting the cart before the horse in a lot of cases.

    I work at a science journal, and every day we get dozens of papers about human biology and medical science. Each one is trying to answer one of thousands of unanswered questions about ourselves, as humans. We're still trying to figure out how our own bodies work. Trying to change a complex system before having an understanding of how it really works (or how to fix it if something goes wrong), strikes me as a bit dangerous.

    It's definitely a direction we ought to be moving, and it's amazing to think where we'll be in the future. I love having that kind of dream - mine tend more towards bio-engineering, instant tissue repair, genetic therapy, and alternate metabolic systems (integrating photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, maybe), rather than cybernetics. But I think we're still in the infancy of the science required for those things, let alone the more imaginative dreams like functional immortality, personality uploads, or swapping body parts.

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    For me, it's all about immortality. It's time we finally ended death.
    Yes, but immortality would get boring after a while. Also, it would almost certainly lead to overpopulation, unless we finally colonize Mars (and probably also a few exoplanets for good measure)
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    Yes, but immortality would get boring after a while. Also, it would almost certainly lead to overpopulation, unless we finally colonize Mars (and probably also a few exoplanets for good measure)
    See, I never believed that one. The boring part, I mean. Even now, humanity produces more new ideas in a day than I could digest in a year. And I don't think that will stop soon. And there's always technological innovation, as well.

    And, well. I have, in my live, visited 9 countries. Nine! Out of 200! And those were short visits! 3 days in Paris is not knowing France. I don't even know most of Switzerland, and we're tiny. I've seen barely anything of Australia, despite spending half a year there. Even if everything stopped changing today, I could spend a few centuries traveling.

    Now think about if you had become immortal 100 years ago. Let's say you had seen, hm, New York in the year 1914. Now you get to see it again in 2014. Might be a slightly different experience, no?
    Last edited by Eldan; 2014-02-25 at 09:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    I personally hope we will get to build whatever bodies we want in transhumanism.

    maybe its kind of vain, but then again who wouldn't want to look however they want? I mean, there might be a chance of having real-life catgirls (from very sophisticated disguised cybernetics, not any genetic stupidity) or something like that.

    of course, there is the unspoken hope that you live long enough to see transhuman come true. which may or not happen. I'd make back up plans in case you don't.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2014-02-25 at 09:14 AM.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    I don't think you could really define when transhumanism starts. Or rather, it has been around for a long time, the methods just got better. Body modifications? Anything from tattoos to plastic surgery. Cybernetics? Contact lenses. Or if you want electronic ones inside the body, pacemakers and hearing aids implanted in the skull. Artificial limbs? Ranging from wooden legs to those that have to be banned from the Olympics. Computer-nerve interfaces? Got those, too.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    See, I never believed that one. The boring part, I mean. Even now, humanity produces more new ideas in a day than I could digest in a year. And I don't think that will stop soon. And there's always technological innovation, as well.
    What about the other argument? We avoid overpopulation because people die. A brief google search estimates the carrying capacity of Earth at as much as 40 billion. Except another search estimated that over 100 billion people have ever lived. So if we were biologically immortal, we have been overpopulated well before now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Augmenting intelligence is the key thing for me, of course after immortality. Death is a bad thing that has no real upsides and should not happen, and society tends to attribute all sorts of supposedly good sides to it simply because we can't avoid it yet.

    Cryogenics. Opinions? I feel that having a few percent chance of not dying as opposed to a near-certainty of dying is completely worth it. Once I have the funds, I suppose.

    EDIT: @^ If we were immortal, there wouldn't have been 100 billion people. But yes, the point is valid and we'd have to work on technology to prevent overpopulation. It'd take quite a while for population growth to lower, and with immortality our population would still keep growing so we would have to expand. But there's ridiculous amounts of living room in the universe, as long as we have time to figure out how to make use of it.
    Last edited by Murska; 2014-02-25 at 10:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Well, the aging process is just generally pretty terrible, isn't it? Even if you want everyone to die before they reach a certain age, there are more humane ways of killing them. Curing senescence is obviously still a big priority for quality of life reasons. Hopefully we can agree on that much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    immortality would get boring after a while.
    On what do you base this claim? Some would say that the inability to conceive of life remaining interesting indefinitely represents a tragic failure of imagination. Are you aware of any of the work that has been done in this field?

    Also, it would almost certainly lead to overpopulation, unless we finally colonize Mars (and probably also a few exoplanets for good measure)
    Why not mind uploading instead? For example. Unless you're specifically talking about indefinite life in a literal, biological sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    Death is a bad thing that has no real upsides and should not happen, and society tends to attribute all sorts of supposedly good sides to it simply because we can't avoid it yet.
    "You know, given human nature, if people got hit on the head by a baseball bat every week, pretty soon they would invent reasons why getting hit on the head with a baseball bat was a good thing. But if you took someone who wasn't being hit on the head with a baseball bat, and you asked them if they wanted it, they would say no. I think that if you took someone who was immortal, and asked them if they wanted to die for benefit X, they would say no."
    -- Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

    Cryogenics. Opinions? I feel that having a few percent chance of not dying as opposed to a near-certainty of dying is completely worth it. Once I have the funds, I suppose.
    I pretty much assume that everything about me worth preserving will be in plentiful supply in a future when cryogenic patients can be revived, so if I ever do this it'll likely be motivated by fear of survival into a less pleasant future (see: quantum immortality, Dust Theory, Pascal's Wager, etc.) than fear of oblivion. The prospect of literal immortality alarms me far more than that of an end to my existence; I don't particularly like existing as it stands. It'd take a big incentive to get me to give up the chance to stop. Not that I expect to be faced with that particular dilemma.

    Quote Originally Posted by unbeliever536 View Post
    What makes a person?
    Mu. I am of the opinion that sometimes a word's multiple definition overlap each other enough that they can seem like one particular thing if not examined closely, and that "person" is one such word.

    Does the concept of personhood in particular have much use other than dividing beings up into "those who are like us, and therefore unacceptable victims" and "those who are unlike us, and therefore acceptable victims"?

    Because I would really prefer that we just not do that in general.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    Yes, but immortality would get boring after a while. Also, it would almost certainly lead to overpopulation, unless we finally colonize Mars (and probably also a few exoplanets for good measure)
    I'll find something to do to pass the time until the heat death of the universe.

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    "You know, given human nature, if people got hit on the head by a baseball bat every week, pretty soon they would invent reasons why getting hit on the head with a baseball bat was a good thing. But if you took someone who wasn't being hit on the head with a baseball bat, and you asked them if they wanted it, they would say no. I think that if you took someone who was immortal, and asked them if they wanted to die for benefit X, they would say no."
    -- Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
    Of course, that argument always works both ways. As written, it really only confirms that people often get used to what they have. If you have a population A, living under condition X, and population B, living under condition Y and A prefers living under X instead of Y and B under Y instead of X, you really can't, from that, say whether X or Y is objectively "better".

    As for overpopulation: so many technological innovations have increased the world population. Should we have prevented the Industrial revolution? The green revolution? The agricultural revolution?

    Or how about medicine? We could stop a lot of overpopulation problems if we stopped treating people with influenza, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer or any other disease.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2014-02-25 at 11:16 AM.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Richer, more advanced countries tend to have lowering birth rates, so...tech advancement essentially solves overpopulation. The problem isn't too much tech, but not enough.

    Bring on the immortality. If you live as long as you like, why rush to have kids?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Richer, more advanced countries tend to have lowering birth rates, so...tech advancement essentially solves overpopulation. The problem isn't too much tech, but not enough.

    Bring on the immortality. If you live as long as you like, why rush to have kids?
    No... even though birth rates do decline we are still looking at population growth in tech advanced areas. If no one dies the population growth would increase unchecked, unless of course birth rates drop down to zero, which is unlikely, people desire children for some reason.

    Personally though, death has never bothered me. The whole getting rid of it seems kind of a cowardly way to clog up our ever diminishing resources. Before we should even be thinking about that, we need to find more efficient ways to deal with these resources to be completely renewable, plus methods of increasing land, while still maintain environmental stability.

    As to transhumanism itself, I'm sure eventually we'll be able to alter ourselves in weird and insane ways. Hell, we're already doing that now to some extent. But I'm much more interested in quality of life benefits, getting improved spines for those born disabled and all that.

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Maybe I had wrong lectures, mainly Lem etc. but I find whole idea rather dystopic and terrifying.

    Humans are animals, living organism, with organism inner workings, that are inherent to their beings.

    We eat, grow, run away or perish what is dangerous, and we generally, try to spread our genes forward, from unimaginable depths of time, forward, to the future. Then age, whither and die. That's how living organism are made to be.

    Our interests, dreams, hopes and all that is all in some way connected directly to it, living and thriving inside blood fed brain, steered by hormones and other stuff carried by said brain.

    Being cannot be 'human' or really being anymore without all of that, and without those human, biological drives - it would have to endlessly fed itself with some 'artificial' sense of purpose.

    It leads us to immortality - people don't want to be immortal - it's not possible and we know it, from some deep, terrifying instincts, to the knowledge of increasing entropy - that our bodies and minds are prone to.

    People just don't want to die - if said people are happy, they want that shiny, warm moment of happiness, laugh, love to last somehow, forever.

    It's obviously not possible, because time is running, constantly, and we can only move with it.

    Towards the red suns, decaying of galaxies, and whatever, perhaps, if mind could somehow last that long without going 'mad' or just completely changed and effectively dead.

    Second part of "Memoirs of Ijon Tichy" about prof. Decantor and his Immortal Soul is where I took parts of my ramble out of, obviously.

    So yeah, as soon (if) as I grow old, and most probably, very afraid of dying, I quite probably will change my tune. Due to different set of emotions spawning in my still living brain, from still moving muscles and gland (even if barely).

    But right now, I find the whole thing ultimately... vain? Unavailing?

    Stating it like that, I'm obviously no transhumanist, so it's not thread for me, but I will just leave it there if someone by a chance cares to read.
    Last edited by Spiryt; 2014-02-25 at 12:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Indefinite continuation of consciousness ... there are living organisms already that have no destructive aging. See no (sufficient) reason we shouldn't strive to be among them. I'll change and be a different person, sure, I'm kind of already that every several years; rarely strikes me as a form of death.

    On the societal side, a lack of stigma and reduced gatekeeping regarding self-transformation. Acceptance of increasing distances from 'normal' as valid and valuable expressions of consciousness and identity.

    On the cybernetic side, the mind-machine interface is really neat; someone loosely connected to my family is apparently working on that kind of thing, and there seems like so much potential both medically and for interesting tools.
    Last edited by Kajhera; 2014-02-25 at 12:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Spiryt, an impression I'm getting from some of your post is that not only do you think that the mind exists to serve the body, but that the mind should serve the body rather than vice versa.

    Like... kind of disdaining spirituality and rationality and so on in favor of the worship of meat, as it were. To a degree.

    Is that at all accurate, or am I just completely misreading you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    people don't want to be immortal
    So, a lot of people don't seem to realize this, but you don't have to use the exact words "I know how you really feel" to be amazingly conceited.

    PROTIP: As a general rule, other people know how they feel better than you know how they feel! This is because people directly experience their own emotions.

    People just don't want to die - if said people are happy, they want that shiny, warm moment of happiness, laugh, love to last somehow, forever.
    ... OK, wait, what? I'm not even clear on what distinction you're making any more. I can see how wanting not to die isn't exactly the same thing as wanting to live forever... but it sure sounds like you're talking about living forever here. And if immortality isn't not dying and also isn't living forever, then what the heck is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Of course, that argument always works both ways. As written, it really only confirms that people often get used to what they have. If you have a population A, living under condition X, and population B, living under condition Y and A prefers living under X instead of Y and B under Y instead of X, you really can't, from that, say whether X or Y is objectively "better".
    Well, to extend the metaphor a bit, I rather suspect that most people who had to be hit on the head by a baseball bat every week would opt out of it if given the chance. Even the ones who had nice things to say about the practice.

    Of course, you can have nice things to say about something without thinking it's better to have it than not to have it. Few things really are strictly positive or negative, and pointing out that something has important benefits doesn't necessarily mean supporting it. It can simply be a matter of pointing out that removing one problem may lead to new problems that will have to be dealt with in one way or another.

    There are potential means of fighting overpopulation if it becomes a concern. Increased use of capital punishment, for example, might be considered preferable to... well, everyone dying.

    Personally, I think it's better for people to get to decide for themselves when they die. Even if that does lead to most people killing themselves out of boredom, that still seems like an improvement. I imagine that most people would prefer for their deaths to be in their control to the extent possible, rather than out of their control.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Natural Selection got us to where we are, but some of our greatest strengths - our social cooperation, our use of tools, our individual specializations - are also great weaknesses, as we lack the physical strength or durability, or self-sufficiency of most species.

    I believe that these weaknesses will atrophy further as we advance. It is only through taking control of our own genetic evolution and changing ourselves that we can transcend these problems.

    Transhumanism is a great idea. Are we suggesting "Playing God?" Absolutely. Why not? {SCRUBBED} No reason not to aspire to be one - the Apotheosis of Man is the ultimate goal.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Talya, what's your basis for that assessment? I had gotten the impression that "Humans are less physically capable than wild animals" was more of a stereotype than a truism, and that humans are actually considerably more badass than most animals, even without support. (If nothing else, I feel pretty confident I could take a squirrel in a fight if things got ugly. Then again, it's hard to imagine a state of affairs that would lead to that particular scenario.)

    Although that in turn is mostly just a vague impression on my own part, and I can't really recall anything specific backing it up. (Although I'm pretty sure we excel at endurance running and at throwing.)

    Anyway, reshaping the world to suit our desires is totally a thing humans do, so it's hard to see how playing god is anything new. If anything, the realm of self-modification seems almost quaint at this point.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0


    I believe that these weaknesses will atrophy further as we advance. It is only through taking control of our own genetic evolution and changing ourselves that we can transcend these problems.
    I'm not convinced this is true. It is possible that advances in social technology and other technology will allow us to overcome these problems without genetic enhancement or other radical things, such as being transplanted into a computer.

    people don't want to be immortal
    I absolutely do. There are a number of crowdsourced projects on Zooniverse to keep me busy for a couple centuries, anyway. And the more we learn, the more questions are raised.

    So long as my mental facilities are intact and I can interact with the world around me in a meaningful way, "Boredom" is a choice, not a necessity. Oh, there are times when things are boring, but that just makes the non-boring parts of life all the sweeter.

    As towards other things .. I think one of the most important things we will learn about transhumanism is all the important things our normal bodies give us that we take for granted, don't think about. Not that there isn't room for improvement, but I suspect our initial thoughts on the matter are quite naive. There's no guarantee that a robotic body, for example, would be lower maintenance or even necessarily live longer than a normal body. It might require constant and maintenance and upkeep which our normal bodies do without our conscious intervention.

    Respectfully,

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    Immortality; the concept of death as a complete cessation of all consciousness and the annihilation of everything that has been experienced before, a gaping expanse of endless nothing, terrifies regardless of the fact that I wouldn't actually be aware of it. I do want to live forever, or at least so long as I feel living is worthwhile.

    Beyond that, I, like most others I suspect, certainly wouldn't mind heightened mental and physical capabilities, particularly the former.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Talya, what's your basis for that assessment? I had gotten the impression that "Humans are less physically capable than wild animals" was more of a stereotype than a truism, and that humans are actually considerably more badass than most animals, even without support. (If nothing else, I feel pretty confident I could take a squirrel in a fight if things got ugly. Then again, it's hard to imagine a state of affairs that would lead to that particular scenario.)
    Often animals much smaller than a human tend to have far greater strength and deadliness. A human averages much more massive than a cougar, or a chimpanzee, and yet either of those animals could easily, in a straight-up, unarmed brawl, rip us apart.

    The cougar may be an unfair comparison. Her teeth and claws give her the advantage of being armed without needing weapons. The Chimp is a different matter. Primates are the best comparison, here, too, as we are primates. And pound-for-pound, we're the physical sissies of the primate family. Any one of them with a body-mass even close to our own is far stronger than we are.
    Last edited by Talya; 2014-02-25 at 01:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbeliever536 View Post
    Are there any more? Do we have anything to talk about?
    I think I'm a transhumanist of sorts, I was first really exposed to transhumanism in old copies of analog and short story collections like the Barbie Murders, but the first thing I recognised as being transhumanist was a comic called Transmetropolitian, which is just brilliant.

    In Transhumanist topics, I like to talk about the short and long term possibilities, the ethics and taboo's of transhumanism (which kinda ties into my philosophical thoughts). The validity of non-human people (I'm amazed how many people don't find it weird that there were other sentient species that we co-existed with that are now extinct), and how this extends to dealing with both alien and animal sapience (for example, little fuzzy and fuzzy sapiens by H. Beam Piper).

    Quote Originally Posted by unbeliever536 View Post
    What's on your list of transhumanist dreams?
    Carrying my own ecosystem with me as I explore the belt of Saturn, rising up sunside to catch some energy, before I return to my life exploring one of the most awesome sights in the Sol system.

    I'm mostly into body customization, but personality copying and running multiple bodies at once are also intriguing ideas.
    I don't think I'll live long enough to get anything customised. I do kinda like the idea of building myself into a cyborg as I age. My hip goes, I get a new one… a new heart, then some extra memory for my brain, till eventually, nothing organic is left.

    Except, maybe I'll be able to replace and upgrade the organic bits too. Bioengineer my spit to bite through iron and my eyes to have infrared receptors ect.

    Quote Originally Posted by unbeliever536 View Post
    What makes a person? Are we going to talk to something else here first, or somewhere out in space? Are we going to make whatever we're talking to, or are we just going to figure out the language? Have we already talked to nonhuman intelligences?
    Depends on how we definie Neanderthal's, Denisovans and other extinct hominids like the "Hobbits" whatever their proper name is.

    We might also want to consider the other great apes, they might not be people yet, but their close relation to our selves makes me think they'd be the best candidates for uplifting a species on earth.

    Of course, what makes a person is more than that, and I hope that even if a person was made of completely different elements to us, and had an appearance very different (though I do think things like sensory organs, manipulator and locomative limbs are going to be near universal), we'd recognise them as a person.

    With programming a person though, that's tricky. Once they replicate a human brain though, will it be considered like a human brain with a body?
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Talya View Post
    Animals much smaller than a human tend to have far greater strength and deadliness. A human averages much more massive than a cougar, or a chimpanzee, and yet either of those animals could easily, in a straight-up, unarmed brawl, rip us apart.
    They have greater strength for short-term tasks, but no animal (except possibly wolves) beats us in cross-country running. Our long-term endurance is second to none.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
    Our long-term endurance is second to none.
    I question that, too. The Man vs. Horse marathon every year is surprisingly close, yes. The horse doesn't always win. What's unfair there, is the average person has no hope of competing a marathon...we use only the exceptional athlete for those. The average horse won't be that far off the best horse...so I find the entire concept of the Man vs. Horse marathon flawed.

    However, sled-dogs, camels, antelope, and ostriches surpass both human athlete and equine.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/outd...unners#slide-1

    And none of that is factoring in some of the remarkable marathons that take place every year in nature that do NOT utilize feet.

    For instance...
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Ok. I'll adjust my statement to "humans are among the best marathon runners in the animal world."

    The birds spend a long time sailing the winds, not flapping their wings. That doesn't task the muscles very much.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Talya View Post
    Often animals much smaller than a human tend to have far greater strength and deadliness. A human averages much more massive than a cougar, or a chimpanzee, and yet either of those animals could easily, in a straight-up, unarmed brawl, rip us apart.

    The cougar may be an unfair comparison. Her teeth and claws give her the advantage of being armed without needing weapons. The Chimp is a different matter. Primates are the best comparison, here, too, as we are primates. And pound-for-pound, we're the physical sissies of the primate family. Any one of them with a body-mass even close to our own is far stronger than we are.
    That is because humans aren't built for strength. There are always trade-offs.

    Yes, we can not beat every animal at running long distances. But you know what? We can beat every animal at running all day, swimming across a lake, climbing a tree and throwing rocks at a target during the same event.
    Humans are very, very versatile. We have excellent colour vision, amazing manual dexterity, shoulder and neck joints that are nothing short of amazing... the list goes on.
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    Default Re: Transhumanists in the Playground: Thread 0

    And of course there's our brains. Remove that... well, you might as well hamstring a cheetah and say there's nothing special about it.
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