While the goals of the quantified self movement and transhumanism movement are different, it can be safe to say that both movements aim to increase the human potential. Based on the idea of the quantified self movement, by tracking various aspects of your life, you would be able to see how changes in your lifestyle choices can affect your overall well-being. And based on the idea of the transhumanism movement, through the use of technology, individuals would be able to overcome biological limits and improve the body in a way that improves the physical body.
The quantified self movement aims to track and acquire data on various aspects of the individual’s life, including the number of steps walked, calories taken and more, with the help of technology. The data is registered using special gadgets, such as fitness bracelets or smartphone applications, and the digitally recorded data can then be assessed. With the self-knowledge in numbers, individuals can learn much about themselves and put a figure to it.
Transhumanism is a movement that promotes interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating opportunities that enhance humans, due to the advancement of technology. Enhancement options ranges from the eradication of disease and elimination of unnecessary suffering to space colonization and the creation of superintelligent machines. Transhumanism is not limited to gadgets and medicine, but it also encompasses cultural development, psychological skills, and more. The idea of transhumanism is then to increase the capacity of what present humans have, not only through cultural refinement but direct application of medicine and technology to overcome biological limits.
Optimising the human potential: The quantified self way
An important aspect of the quantified self and self-tracking would be self-optimisation. While some types of data can be measured without special gadgets and applications, such as weight measurement, the new technologies can measure aspects that would otherwise have been unknown, such as sleep behavior. However, it is insufficient for individuals to merely collect the data and do nothing about it. The way the data is being processed is often based on norms, be it social norms or individual norms, whether he is satisfied with the statistics or see room for improvement. Through self-tracking, it would be possible to make the improvement quantifiable and visible, to be able to optimize the next step for further progress.
Optimising the human potential: The transhumanism way
Transhumanism supports ideas that improves the well-being of all sentience, be it humans, extraterrestrial species and artificial intelligence. With developments in the transhumanism area, individuals could potentially increase their health, life expectancy, memory, without ceasing to exist in the process. While a person’s intellect can be transformed by getting an education, his life expectancy can be extended by being cured from a currently incurable disease and people’s active health-spans can be extended with the help of anti-aging medicine.
As technology advances in this area, would you be keen to embrace such technologies and optimise your potential? And would you be comfortable allowing your company to monitor your work performance while correlating it to your physical activity and health?
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Bostrom, N. (2005). Transhumanist values. Journal of philosophical research, 30(Supplement), 3-14.
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies | Quantified Self and Transhumanism – A Means to an End
The Huffington Post| The Biggest Worry About Transhumanism
The Huffington Post | A New Generation of Transhumanists Is Emerging
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