Rev. Fr. Edward Obi, MSP (PhD)
THE TRANSHUMAN WORLD AND ITS FEARS: The Fearological Guide for the Development countries.
MICHAEL BASSEY ENEYO
The term ‘Transhuman World’ is not in common currency yet, but it refers to a new world order in which the supremacy of humans will be contested by super-human machines.
There are obvious indications that present technological advancements in the development of efficient and automated machines are effectively constructing the imaginary super-highway to that world and that order. A case in point is the near-universal personal ownership of smart devices with multiple functionalities, thanks to nanotech micro-chips. Add this to the infinite connectivity that is envisaged in many countries and regions, then one is persuaded to think that nothing can stop that logical step to be taken. In fact, nations and governments are already marshalling their resources and expertise to face the future in this realistic way.
Without doubt, numerous problems that we face now will be resolved by machines within a tiny fraction of the time it would have taken humans to accomplish the same routines. The COVID-19 pandemic with it restrictions and protocols has, somewhat, heightened the aspiration for, and fastened the pace of transition from the present to the possibilities that lie ahead, perhaps, in the near future. Artificial intelligence (AI) has, for instance, been deployed effectively to initiate and complete activities hitherto done by humans, and their effectiveness is not in doubt!
Michaeleneyoo Eneyo’s book, The Transhuman World, addresses some of these complex realities and prospects in very ordinary human language. He is unabashed in his quest for understanding, and for fellow humans to accept the inevitable. Rather than whining about the possible subjection and subjugation of human beings to a regime of insensitive machines, humans should brace up, and prepare for that eventuality. What is, perhaps, needed more in this transition is a courageous effort by humans to equip themselves for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be dominated by extreme automation and extreme connectivity! with the potent mechanism for controlling these machines.
The ethical concerns raised by these prospects are numerous. The human need for work and leisure clashes with a Transhuman World where AI and robotics are deployed to do most of the work. The implication of this is that even where there is work; it would be poorly remunerated due to the downward pressure of the Transhuman World. In this scenario, human persons would, possibly, be reduced to poor and bored loafers, prone to suicidal ideation. Thus, the dignity of the human person would be compromised and undermined, and this comes with attendant debilitations. Community, as such, and the need for a Common Good to work for and to live for, and the sense of solidarity that ties all these together would be ineffectual or severely threatened since insensitive machines cannot feel the pain of others and empathise with them!
The developments that will come about in the transhuman world, however well-intentioned, will engender fear, naturally. The author, therefore, dedicates a significant portion of his work to expound on the theory of fear. Appropriate fear or apprehension towards something new and different is normal to most human beings, because it serves to prepare them for that unknown eventuality. This is why people would usually approach the unknown other, or circumstance, with trepidation. He hopes, therefore, that well-placed fear of the transhuman world, and all its yet-unknown possibilities, would give present human persons a soft-landing in that world order, whenever it may be realised.
The book is a good read, and I recommend it to all who dare to think about the future!
Rev. Fr. Edward Obi, MSP (PhD)