h+ Magazine

Fall 2009...

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75 www.hplusmagazine.com some point in the future in favor of more complex activities that generate even more pleasure and connection between people. Whether we choose to call it "sex" will be entirely arbitrary, but it may bear little resemblance to the sex of today. We may choose to evolve beyond the less savory aspects of sex — nonconsensual dominance, as a tool for macho competition, or a superficial social signaler — in favor of its empathic and "sacred" core. Athena Andreadis Athena Andreadis is Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Jacking Off while Jacked In… cryonics, robotics, uploading, singularity by AI… the concepts speak for themselves: no Eros, only Thanatos — at best, endless (and simulated, yet!) masturbation in VR lotusland. Besides, if you're obsessed with control over all your functions, how are you going to let go enough to have an orgasm? Extropia DaSilva Extropia DaSilva is a resident of the virtual world Second Life. Anything that has persisted for hundreds of millions of years clearly has high survival value. Transhumanism seeks to enhance the positive aspects of the human condition, so love and sex are unlikely to be abandoned. Differences? Yes. Sex for procreation will be separated from sex for pleasure. Polyamorism will be the norm. After all if "I" have uploaded, duplicated myself and exist as self-similar copies in cyberspaces co-existent with realspace, where does the "self" end and the "other" begin? Relationships will be tried out in simulation, combining variations of each self, weeding out combinations that do not optimize cooperation and mutual gain. Selective memory editing may be used to erase memories of sub-optimal relationships, leading to love affairs that are always subjectively ideal. A committed relationship would be to accept a complete merging of two selves. True love would be expressed by transferring the two uploads into a single, higher capacity "brain" (such as the sentient Internet itself) in which both minds run simultaneously. Such "twindividuals" might merge with others, resulting in an expanding hive-mind. Parts of the brain could be distributed over large distances, though if communication delays cannot be overcome that would impose a limit on how far the society of selves can expand and still be ALL=ONE. Possibly, group-minds that expand far enough to experience significant communications delays will fragment. These, as well as others initially seeded from other twindividuals might expand until they are bounded on every side by neighboring group-minds. Moravec has speculated that competition for space, matter, and ideas might result in "vile offspring" (Charles Stross' term for posthumans that have diverged from the human species to the extent that nothing recognizably human remains within them) devouring the physical substrates of neighboring group-minds, "space, energy, material and useful thoughts reorganized to serve another's goals." It is interesting to note that humans rather enjoy romantic period dramas. For instance, Jane Austin's books concerning the trials and travails of love in upper-class society remain as popular in the 21st century as they were when first published in the early 1800s. If posthumans inherit their predecessors' love of historical romances, they might simulate the relationships of ancestors in the dim and distance past. Given the vast computational resources that Moravec, Seth Lloyd and Nick Bostrom have appealed to, it is perhaps astronomically more likely that, if you are in a romantic relationship right now, it is one being simulated by godlike intelligences, rather than being real in a physical sense. Ben Goertzel Ben Goertzel is the CEO of AI companies Novamente and Biomind. The experience of gaining pleasure via in some sense merging with another being... that will probably survive the Singularity, but will likely be customizable into various forms, which may end up bearing little resemblance to "sex" as we know it today.... Ray Kurzweil Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, entrepreneur, author and futurist. His most recent book is The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. The short answer is Yes! The longer answer is that we've already separated at least some of the original biological function of sex from its social and sensual function. Human intelligence is directed towards our body, meeting its needs and desires, and we will continue to have bodies in the singularitarian future, except that we won't be limited to just one. We'll have

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