Friday, August 20, 2010


i once had a good friend who was hospitalized for surgical repair of her achilles tendon. being the  kind of person i am, i showed up at the hospital and on days thereafter at her home to entertain her. to improve my entertainment quotient, i purchased the latest copy of the magazine Cosmopolitan for her reading pleasure. in my brief foray into Cosmo magazine, the most obviously entertaining part were the quizzes...are you this? are you that? do you like this? does he like that?

the quizzes were inane but also amusing.

so imagine my delight when, upon first gazing upon FM-2030's Are You Transhuman? (1989), i find that it is chock full of quizzes (called "monitors") to help me figure out whether my "rate of personal growth" is high enough to lead me into a transhuman future.

now FM-2030 (ne feridouin esfandiary) was a bright guy who wrote a couple of early transhumanist books (Optimism One and Up-Wingers) in the 1970s and in his early works you can see a sort of proto-Singularity thesis, a proto-Law of Accelerating Returns, and other transhumanist elements later popularized by Kurzweil and others. so i do not want anyone to come away with the idea that FM-2030 was a nitwit. he definitely was not.

on the other hand, Are You Transhuman? is a pretty amusing mess of transhumanist enthusiasm, Cosmopolitan magazine, and, well, just plain foolishness. my favorite quiz is the very last one: "How Transhuman Are  You?" (this after taking quizzes on how immortality oriented you are, how ritualistic, power-oriented, emotional, rich, fluid, etc.). the final quiz asks the following (in brief):

1. do you have implants, transplants, etc.
2. does your brain have a pacemaker, electrodes, etc.?
3. have you had major body reconstruction?
4. are your body processes (including moods) telemonitored and regulated?
5. are you teleconnected to people via portable telecom?
6. are you androgynous?
7. do you reproduce only through new collaborative asexual methods?
8. are you the product of asexual reproduction?
9. are you postterritorial: free of kinship ties, ethnicity, nationality?
10. have you been to space?
11. have you ever died and been resuscitated?

according to FM, if you answered "yes" to 7 out of these 11, you're a full-fledged transhuman.

so i immediately imagined a geriatric, epilectic, hospitalized former astronaut with a cell phone who could fulfill numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, and 11 right off the bad. if or she has given sperm or ova, that would get 7 or a car accident could result in credit for 3, and then it's just a hop skip and a jump (perhaps an androgynous one?) to transhumanism.

not exactly the poster boy that FM and his so-cal crowd were shooting for...but it might make for an amusing new angle in Cosmopolitan.  :)

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