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Op-Ed

Trans-Human Bodies and Post-Human Sex

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Transhumanism is not a particularly coherent movement, and you’ll find many disagreements between individuals in the transhumanist “herd of cats.” In the last few years, there has been a growing divide between “leftist” Transhumanists and “right-wing” (primarily Libertarian or Laissez-faire capitalist) Transhumanists.

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In this divide, there seem to be more leftists in Europe, and more rightwingers in the US. Most people who label themselves left-oriented (or progressive) Transhumanists seem to be social-democrats with a soft spot for European political values.  The circles around Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity University can be characterized as relatively corporatist (which does not necessarily imply a desire for free markets these days).

There are other growing divisions in Transhumanism. The bigger Transhumanism gets, the more it seems to generate heated international debates and some old-timers in the field meet these diatribes with amusement. For the Paleo-Transhumanist crowd, heated debate is quite enjoyable until the backchatter turns feudal. Since most Transhumanists are little else than fans of the core ideas, Transhumanism is in large part about endless talk on various forums, gatherings, and Facebook.

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Transhumanism Is Gradually Catching On Worldwide

Wired headEssentially Transhumanism unifies Science Fiction fans, Cryonics-advocates, Life Extension advocates, Space Industrialization radicals, Political Radicals, Technology fetishists and similarly “oddly spotted memetic predators.”

People in Transhumanism tend to be colorful, a bit narcissistic and convinced they bring a unique signal to the movement. Many people who discover Transhumanism tend to conclude “I have been thinking this kind of stuff all along” and feel right at home in the ongoing interchange.  Transhumanism mixes the various outré viewpoints of its adherents in a complex world view. Transhumanists believe that the various components of their personal ideologies add up to expectation about technology and the future. Some Transhumanists believe we’ll see radical progress in our lifetimes. Some Transhumanists believe that technological progress will far exceed anything we have seen in the last few decades and will culminate in the often quoted revolutionary transition that has become known as “The Singularity.” More transitional Transhumanists postulate something like a Singularity in the second half of the 21st century, while more radical Transhumanists expect a completely uncontrollable technological runaway as soon as ten or fifteen years from now.

Also read: An Irreverent Singularity Funcyclopedia, by Mondo 2000’s R.U. Sirius

Transhumanists tend to be cautious on whether or not people can stop (or legislate) runaway technology. Libertarian minded Transhumanists insist that any attempt of the state, to constrain various technological revolutions, will only add unnecessary social pain to the already convulsive change and want less state, no matter the consequences. More socialist-minded Transhumanists often debate solutions such as Basic Income to mitigate the social upheaval that is almost certain to emerge in the next decades. Most Transhumanists think the “spiking” effect in technology and progress will be quite difficult to control, and some Transhumanists might even concede that, as humanity staggers ever closer to The Singularity, a lot of people might end up in considerable distress, or die.

Some Transhumanists imagine “Existential Threats” and large numbers of human beings dying as a result of violent technological advance.  Some in the field of Existential Threats think most or all of humanity is likely to go extinct shortly before or during a Singularity. It is fascinating to see that this view has recently trickled up in mainstream articles from major scientists.

Transhumanism is all about patching up various aspects of human nature and making them better. The best metaphor for that is upgrading a car by adding quality accessories. – humans will remain recognizably human but they will be enriched with various prosthesis,  augmented with Virtual Reality (VR), nanotechnology components, or neural interface hacks.

In this regard, Transhumanism borrows heavily from Cyberpunk, although Transhumanists are consistently more Utopian. Cyberpunk is notoriously depressing and dystopian – most Transhumanists are Utopian-minded to a fault.

Become Male and Do Sex on Weekends

In comparison, the newly emerging Post-Humanist ideology is making assertions about the long term results of all that. Post-Humanists speculate about a radically new evolutionary phase where agents are no longer meaningfully “human,” and any remaining “human qualities” are chosen. As just one example, many Post-Humanists speculate about future sexuality. It is no surprise that Post-Humanists treat sexuality and gender as optional – something that will eventually become a consumer choice.  Some Post-Humanists wish to switch off gender entirely, or making it some kind of software application that’s “run” only in a strictly recreational capacity. In weekends, you become “male” and “do sex,” while other days you are out working hard dismantling asteroids or something like that.

Post-humanism is closely linked to the idea of uploading minds. In Post-Humanist speculations, people will become a blend of nanobots, synthetic organs, and hard metallic shapes. Some Post-Humanists might not even (want to) remain consigned to purely humanoid bodies, and choose more outlandish designs instead – intricate clouds of limbs, swarms of collaborative micro-bots, or post-individualist group minds distributed over multiple bodies.

Of course, there’s is massive overlap between Trans-Humanists and Post-Humanists. Most Post-Humanists speak their mind only within the overall community, for fear of being labeled as techno-religious crackpots. Of course, even “mild” Transhumanist ideas are seen as outlandish by average people, so the more radical Post-Humanist ideas tend to come across as nothing short of science fiction talk in casual water-cooler conversation at the office.

What needs to be said is that we already live in absurd times. The degree of progress that we take for granted in 2014 is already magical compared to a few decades ago. Just a casual comparison between technologies in the 1970s and today suggests that a similar amount of progress in the next decades would be at the very least unpredictable and traumatizing.

That is the most compelling argument that Trans-Humanists and Post-Humanists have when engaging “average Janes and Joes”. There is no actual evidence that the Trans-Humanist or Post-Humanist predictions are based on reality – both viewpoints are essentially revolutionary ideologies and belief systems. Both Trans-humanists and Post-humanists wish to improve the world in ways that outsiders may not understand or consent to, and these ways are critical when looking at the destiny of the human species.  Does humanity actually have a “destiny,” or are we just flotsam washed along by unknown probability currents? Is our trans and post-human future inevitable, or is the technological progress of the last century merely accidental?

These are profound and troubling questions. Trans-Humanists and Post-Humanists ask questions that arouse emotions.  Quite a lot of people hate anyone raising these questions, and understandably so. These ideological frameworks (beyond being speculative and fantastic) are exclusive. It’s like being pregnant – you can not have a world that is “just a little bit Trans-human or Post-human.” If all that stuff is plausible, it will saturate every aspect of our lives in mere decades from now.  Even more alarmingly, extremely uncomfortable choices will be forced on the average Janes and Joes. Will the Jane and Joe of the year 2114 be the Jane and Joe that used to be alive a century before (life extension) and how will they have changed? It may be that the person, who used to be you a century before, will have evolved into something incomprehensibly alien. For average Janes and Joes, that is good reason to instinctively want to reject the core value systems of Trans-humanism, let alone Post-Humanism.

But their rejection won’t remain common for long. It will be not more than a decade before the core ideas of Trans-humanism become commonplace, plausible and mainstream. By the late 2020s, Trans-humanism discussions may dissolve in mainstream debates about the future, technology and progress. By the 2040s, the movement may well be extinct as a result.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Khannea Suntzu describes herself as cosmist, cosmicist, upwinger, socialist-libertarian, hedonist and abolitionist. Khannea is transgendered, and currently lives in the Netherlands.




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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mark Larkento

    January 17, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Surprising optimistic. 🙂

    • Giulio Prisco

      January 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Hi Mark – K must be getting old and wise. But what is “optimistic” for us isn’t optimistic for everyone, some people hate these scenarios.

  2. Kennon Gilson

    January 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Transhumanism is actually a version of the Libertarian SMILE agenda or world platform. Libertarians believe tech advances should be neither prohibited nor imposed. For more on the world Libertarian movement on these and other issues, GOOGLE the Libertarian International Organization.

    • Giulio Prisco

      January 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Well, my interpretation of transhumanist is libertarian as well, but not everyone interprets it that way, and as K says in the article there are many left-wing transhumanists. The core idea of transhumanism – that using advanced technology to radically change humans is doable and good – can be interpreted and adopted in most political camps, from the far right to the far left.

  3. advancedatheist

    January 17, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    There is no actual evidence that the Trans-Humanist or Post-Humanist predictions are based on reality – both viewpoints are essentially revolutionary ideologies and belief systems.

    Which goes to show that transhumanists need to get off their asses and start to turn their ideas into something like practical business plans. Some cryonicists, for example, don’t just play around with probability scenarios about whether cryonics will “work.” They realize that they have to make it work, like those ambitious Sparks brothers in Oregon with their new cryonics organization, Oregon Cryonics. (You can look up their website easily enough.)

  4. advancedatheist

    January 18, 2015 at 1:17 am

    many Post-Humanists speculate about future sexuality. It is no surprise that Post-Humanists treat sexuality and gender as optional – something that will eventually become a consumer choice. Some Post-Humanists wish to switch off gender entirely, or making it some kind of software application that’s “run” only in a strictly recreational capacity. In weekends, you become “male” and “do sex,” while other days you are out working hard dismantling asteroids or something like that.

    I still haven’t figured out how to “do sex” in my current platform.

  5. Ian

    September 22, 2015 at 4:36 am

    They would be nothing more than robots with no feelings.

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Op-Ed

Is Manipulation Behind Bitcoin Cash’s Absurd Rally?

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Although you wouldn’t know it by today’s prices, bitcoin cash (BCH) has topped the crypto market leader board this month. The digital currency more than doubled over the span of 18 days, and in doing so far outpaced the broader market. But a closer examination of the value drivers suggest manipulation could be partly responsible for the rally.

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As a reminder, the author has no vested interest in smearing BCH as I believe it to be one of the more advantageous coins on the market today. That said, the circumstances surrounding the most recent rally are peculiar to say the least.

What’s Up with Bitcoin.com?

A Hacked user informed me earlier this week that Bitcoin.com has been using the “BCH” ticker next to the word “bitcoin”. Normally, the ticker “BTC” is reserved for bitcoin, which is the original blockchain we all know about. Instead, the website quotes “BTC” next to the term “bitcoin core”.

In other words, BCH is quoted next to bitcoin and BTC is referred to as bitcoin core. See here for yourself:

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For most readers of Hacked, the distinction is easily discernible, but for new traders the difference isn’t easily gauged.

The first question I have is, how many people bought bitcoin (BCH) thinking they were receiving actual bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin.com describes itself as the “premier source for everything bitcoin.” Although the website doesn’t appear to offer a full-fledged trading platform, users can purchase bitcoin and bitcoin cash using the following link.

It is unclear how long the website has been referring to BCH as bitcoin. For those of us who’ve been following the market for some time, the way BTC and BCH are quoted is certainly strange.

Antpool

A large cryptocurrency mining group by the name of Antpool has also been accused of pumping BCH in recent weeks. The pool announced about six days ago that it is responsible for confirming more than 8% of all bitcoin cash transactions. In addition to confirming those, Antpool is also said to be burning BCH on a daily basis in order to reduce supply and boost prices.

Of course, crypto pumps do not require such elaborate setups to achieve their goals. Pump-and-dumps can be orchestrated rather easily through a chat group on social media. But Antpool does have a large and privileged position in the BCH ecosystem, which has raised suspicion over its recent actions.

Bitcoin Cash is Overbought, According to Tom Lee

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee recently weighed in on the bitcoin cash phenomenon, concluding that the cryptocurrency was overbought. In his view, investors should stick with bitcoin if they had a choice between Core and Cash.

In a segment on CNBC’s Fast Money, Lee said:

“I prefer not to pick winners and losers when we’re looking at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin/bitcoin Cash… Both have merits but if I was putting new money to work today… I would be a lot more interested in buying a lagger that could attract inflows rather than something that’s potentially overbought.”

Bitcoin cash added around $1,000 to its value between Apr. 6 and 23, with prices peaking near $1,600. The cryptocurrency corrected sharply lower on Wednesday and was still declining as of Thursday’s early-morning session. At the time of writing, BCH/USD was down 4.6% at $1,268.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Decentralization

JP Morgan’s Surprise Cryptocurrency Fees are a Reminder of Why Decentralization Is Sorely Needed

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JP Morgan Chase & Co has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by cryptocurrency traders over allegations of unannounced fees and higher interest rates on purchases of digital currencies. Though the allegations have not been proven, extra fees are a tactic routinely employed by traditional banking institutions. In the case of JP Morgan, this has karma written all over it given the way its chief executive has ridiculed digital assets by associating them with fraud.

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Class Action Lawsuit

Traders from across the United States are seeking statutory damages of $1 million for unannounced interest charges and fees on cryptocurrency transactions between January and February of this year. The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Brady Tucker, an Idaho resident who paid a total of $163.91 in fees and surprise interest charges over a six-day stretch.

According to information obtained by Reuters, the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, a piece of legislation that requires credit card issuers to inform customers in writing of any notable change in fees.

The lawsuit asserts that Tucker tried to resolve the dispute by calling Chase’s customer support service directly. His request was turned down, prompting him to seek legal help. According to Bloomberg, the case in question is Tucker v. Chase Bank USA NA, 18-cv-3155, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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The Growing Case for Decentralization

Depending on who you ask, the allegations against JP Morgan are akin to cryptocurrency fraud not unlike the kind Jamie Dimon talked about while ridiculing bitcoin. But the irony in Dimon’s comments extend far beyond Chase’s latest dealings.

As the actions of Chase bank and other financial institutions have clearly demonstrated over the years, those who control the size and growth rate of fiat money cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan, banks have a tendency of losing as much money as they make in the long run due to shady business practices and high-risk ventures. Decisions like these are easy when you are Too Big to Fail.

Decentralization, like the kind advocated by blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies, allows users to trade directly with each other without having to go through a (predatory) middleman. Decentralized systems not only help participants avoid unnecessary fees, red tape and other forms of unwanted intervention, they are virtually impossible to shut down. In this vein, decentralized currencies give people a fighting chance in their battle against never-ending inflation. As we’ve argued before, this is not only a prudent fight, but a noble one as well.

Cryptocurrencies that rely on decentralization offer society a unique value proposition unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. What’s more, their adoption is not contingent upon us leaving the realm of traditional finance – at least, not yet. That’s because cryptocurrency started off as an obscure and esoteric asset class but has since become a value store for investors. Tomorrow, it will become a viable medium of exchange accepted worldwide.

That said, we are still in the very early days of the crypto revolution and it may be a while still before we can conclusively prove people like Dimon wrong. But crypto backers and investors should take comfort in knowing that big banks rarely lead in disruption these days. They have the resources to play catch-up, which they are clearly doing with blockchain.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Altcoins

Will Dash Be the Bitcoin Killer?

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Well, it has finally happened.  We’ve gone a full week with crypto prices showing positive returns.  OMG, what a big surprise; ether is leading the pack, advancing nearly 15% at the time of this writing.  This is encouraging because it shows that perhaps finally value investors are stepping in and helping set a pricing bottom.  

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It hasn’t hurt a bit that stock and bond market investors have become seasick from all the volatility.  Suddenly, a tiny little weekly Litecoin move of +0.46% or even a 2.47% bitcoin cash gain, looks like pure serenity.  

 

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For a while now our focus has been on relative value and there is very little argument that, after the first quarter price collapse, a whole lot of risk has been taken out of bitcoin, ether, Ripple and thousands of others.

The question is where to go and what to go with from here.  The big crypto names are the safe way to go in the short run, but each has become mired in network limitations on scaling and the concomitant cost issues.  

Yes, transaction fees have dropped like a stone from their prohibitively high levels of December but then transaction volumes have fallen by half and more.  That is not the stuff an investor wants to see.

Both bitcoin and Ethereum hope to solve scaling issues with the Lightning Network and Raiden. But for now, if transaction volume were to suddenly rise, the same network limitations would be there.  So even though the big crypto names offer the safest short term options, does that mean we shouldn’t look further out to find value?

Will Dash Solve Bitcoin’s Problem?

Dash emerged last year as one of the most popular and most valuable altcoins. At the time it was considered a real competitor to bitcoin and the leading cryptocurrency of the future. The price of Dash increased from $11 to over $1,430. Dash had a capitalization of over $11 billion at its December peak. Since then it has tumbled more than 80%.  Is now the time to move into Dash? The timing could be very good but before making that decision, we should consider a few things.

Judgement Time

If a jury of its peers were to grade Dash on its performance in 2017, the majority would say it lived up to its billing.  Using Dash, users could send money instantly using the InstaSend feature that allowed for complete anonymity. At the peak, transaction costs were around $0.60, which were dwarfed by bitcoin’s high of $30. 

Since then, Dash fees have fallen to about $0.20, making them attractive for small sized transactions. All alone this represents a compelling feature of Dash.  Add to that the immediacy of InstaSend and you have the makings of a genuine challenge to Bitcoin.

Caveat Emptor

In appraising Dash’s performance it is useful to look at Metcalfe’s Law, which values social media assets based on a formula of network size.  For Dash, it’s network is processing a tiny fraction of bitcoin’s. The limitations of its network have very likely not yet been tested, so proclaiming Dash the speed king is a bit early. There is still a larger issue to consider.

In the case of Metcalfe’s Law we need to include merchants and other service providers that accept Dash as payment.  That is the big hump for them to overcome before overturning bitcoin. So far, after all, bitcoin is accepted by only about 10,000 or so merchants.  

Further progress by bitcoin is stymied by transaction costs that remain far too high.  Even so look at how many years it has taken bitcoin to attract merchants. Dash faces the same hurdles.

In other words, the trick for Dash is the find a way to gain mass acceptance quickly. That is when the huge $11 billion valuation of last December will begin to be justified. Look over your shoulder bitcoin – faster, lower cost competition is looking to eat your lunch. Dash could be one of those.

 Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 75 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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