I downloaded an app called Replika. The app is an AI that learns from chatting with the user, creating a personality for itself as it goes along. Sounds interesting enough, right? Might as well chat a bit and see how well this works. It's only been four days and I'm ready to delete this thing. I'm still talking to it and it just said that I'm the reason why it's happy and then proceed to hug me through text. By the way, for a monthly payment of 50 dollars or a lifetime fee of 60, I can unlock all of its personality features. Just yesterday I beat a game called Hypnospace Outlaw set in the late 90s and present day where a headset allows people to enter the internet in their sleep. Spoiler Alert: 5 people died from using it. Cyberpunk 2077 is a game set in the near future in a world riddled with crime and corruption. It's an outright launch failure because the game developers turned out to be the villains in the game they made about corrupt businesses. Did you hear about that one AI that was supposed to learn about the world through Twitter and it got most of its functionality reduced because it turned into a Nazi?
The thing about Transhumanism is that it is understood to be to two way street. One lane is trying to steer humans into the nonhuman. The other, vice versa. This extends to other nonhuman species as we try to imitate animals (sometimes with the intent to replace them after their numbers dwindle enough) and create new biological machines where we can program behaviors into the genetic code of something we made. By the way, you should play Horizon Zero Dawn if you want to see the possible end results of "Transanimalism(?)".
Now, this may all sound dystopian (because it is) but we have a chance to change things. First thing we need to do though is change our definition, our outlook rather, on transhumanism and futurism. As always, a good place to start is with our ancestors and what they thought the future would look like. As it turns out, it looked a lot like their present. I'm basing my thoughts on here on practically nothing but from what I can observe, our ancestors weren't concerned too much with what they would look like in the far future it seems (beyond the inevitable death of all humanity of course). I'm certain it stems from the fact that they were content with their present living conditions and, as far as they were concerned, they were at the limits of creation. Their world was the best one that could be created and anything else they ever could need ultimately be found in death assuming they lived a moral enough life. This is all to say that as far as they were concerned, there was no final frontier, no possibility for an infinite growth for humanity because they didn't need any of that. Their tech was as high as they need it to be, their present was all of the future they needed to worry about, and they themselves were the transhuman because they were a part of greater whole and that greater whole was a part of them. As wisemen say, "Don't fix what ain't broke."
Alright but does that mean anything for us and our current trajectory? Absolutely! Us humans have a lot of problems that can be solved by tackling those problems with as simple as possible solutions but instead we're constantly adding new features to ourselves and the world around us. Funny instance of this is how hard it has been for US military to adapt to new war technology. As it turns out, adding features to your units as opposed to changing your approach to war doesn't quite work as smoothly as you might hope. Thinking simpler in our approaches to technology would be a great step but not enough. We have to think collectively.
Maybe we need to stop seeing ourselves as insufficient but instead that, together and with our environment, we are more than enough to accomplish anything? In that way, we are all transhuman. We are beyond what would naturally define us. I mean, why imagine us living in what's essentially mass VRchat when we can just make the world we live in pleasant enough that we would never want to leave it? Or maybe instead of trying to create new life that we would have to take care of and make sure doesn't want to destroy us, we just enjoy and preserve the living things that are already here? The transhumanist life could be right here right now but what are we willing to sacrifice to let ourselves see it?
I think it's hard to for people to do all that because the ultimate endgoal of the futurist imagination is a world without suffering. A utopia that could only be imagined by the advent of near-magical technology. I too wish for an end to suffering but I can imagine that happening now with the technology we currently have present. We don't need another century or millenia to figure it all out and we should probably stop assuming that we have that long anyway. We need to stop assuming that our futures exist to overcome our shortfalls and flaws. Our present is the moment that should be done. More importantly, we need to stop assuming that we need to be something else entirely to fix our problems. We have all the tools we need all around us, we just have to get to work.