Canada is studying the transhumanist society

(ORDO NEWS) — The report examines the consequences of the assimilation of digital technologies, which, in fact, will radically rethink life at the individual, environmental and societal level.

The Canadian government’s think tank, Policy Horizons Canada, has released a report titled Exploring Biodigital Convergence that examines transhumanism.

Biodigital convergence can be defined as the intersection and synthesis of biological systems with digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), biometrics and genetic engineering. In the human realm, this area is called transhumanism.

The report examines the consequences of the assimilation of digital technologies with biological entities, which, in fact, will lead to a fundamental rethinking of life at the individual, ecological and societal levels. To put it more succinctly, this reconfiguration – if implemented – will radically rethink what it means to be human.

Transhumanism is no longer a concept limited to a generation of vulgar Hollywood B-movies – the technology exists right here and now.

Policy Horizons Canada is a federal government organization that conducts policy research on potential future scenarios for Canadian society, its economic and industrial future. Its mission is to help the Canadian government develop forward-looking strategies and frameworks that anticipate emerging challenges in the near and far future.

Christel Van der Elst, current CEO of Policy Horizons Canada and former Head of Strategic Foresight at the World Economic Forum, provides an overview in the report.

“In the coming years, biodigital technologies may intertwine in our lives in the same way that digital technologies are now. Biological and digital systems are converging and can change the way we work, live and even evolve as a species.

This biodigital convergence can do more than technological changes, change our understanding of ourselves and force us to reconsider what we consider human or natural,” Van der Elst said in the preface to the report.

“Guided by its mandate, Policy Horizons Canada intends to initiate an informed and meaningful dialogue about the likely future of biodigital convergence and the policy issues that may arise.

In this first paper, we define and explore biodigital convergence – why it is important to study it now, its characteristics, what new opportunities may arise as a result of this, as well as some initial policy implications.

We want to discuss with a wide range of partners and stakeholders what our biodigital future might look like, how this convergence might affect sectors and industries, and how our relationship with technology, nature and even life itself,” she said.

The report’s summary states that the evolution of digital technology has had a “powerful impact” on society so far, but biodigital convergence could present people with challenges that will “largely … disrupt our understanding of society, the economy and our body.”

Overall, the confluence of nature and technology at this level will profoundly change systems in a variety of unprecedented ways, the report says:

– will change the person – our bodies, consciousness and behavior
– change or create other organisms
– change ecosystems
– to sense, store, process and transmit information
– manage biological innovations; and
– structure and manage production and supply chains

Describing the convergence of man and machine, the report clearly defines the vision for Policy Horizons Canada.

“Digital technologies can be embedded in organisms, and biological components can exist as parts of digital technologies. Physical engagement, manipulation and fusion of biological and digital create new hybrid life forms and technologies, each of which functions in the material world, often with enhanced capabilities,” – the report says.

The report describes “three pathways for the emergence of biodigital convergence”, namely:

-Full physical integration of biological and digital entities
-Co-evolution of biological and digital technologies; and
-Conceptual convergence of biological and digital systems

The document also touches upon the issues of genetic modification of biological systems and CRISPR gene editing technology.

Genetic engineering of food, resources, animals, insects, and even humans is far beyond the starting post. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agriculture have appeared on dinner plates around the world since the early 90s.

The vast majority of processed foods on supermarket shelves today contain unlabeled GMOs. In the US, you may well be served a serving of genetically modified salmon, which grows much faster than natural wild salmon.

Gene editing CRISPR belongs to the third generation of gene editing technologies. Since its discovery, it has attracted the attention of a large number of researchers in various fields and has required significant investment.

Researchers have published a number of papers in the scientific community and have obtained revolutionary research results through deep learning and exploration. In recent years, this technology has developed rapidly and has been widely applied in many fields, especially in medicine.

CRISPR technology, developed in 2012, has been used commercially for several years. CRISPR, pronounced “crisper”, is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Its use is largely unregulated in Canada and the United States.

However, biodigital convergence is taking the fusion of biology and technology to a whole new level.

A 2019 paper by Peter Ruegg describes how CRISPR technology is being used to build biocomputers – integrating cell biology and nanobiotechnology.

“A team of researchers led by Martin Fussenegger, professor of biotechnology and bioengineering at the Faculty of Biosystems Sciences and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel, has now found a way to use biological components to create a flexible processor core, or central processing unit (CPU), that accepts various kinds of programming.

The processor, developed by ETH scientists is based on a modified CRISPR-Cas9 system and in principle can work with any number of input data in the form of RNA molecules.

In the UK, in May 2021, the Department of Defense published a report titled “Human Augmentation – Dawn of a New Paradigm”. In it, the ministry considers biodigital convergence in the military and defense sectors.

“Civilian military cooperation will be vital. Relationships with industry and academia will be key to understanding how new human augmentation technologies can be repurposed or developed for defense.

While this is not necessarily a model Western defense organizations would like to replicate, Chinese “Human augmentation experiments are being conducted under the direction of the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences.

The prominent role of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the innovation ecosystem is another example of how defense organizations could forge more mutually beneficial ties with industry.” in the report.

On the topic of human augmentation – an area of ​​biodigital convergence – the UK Department of Defense report summarizes the predictions.

“Human augmentation technologies will also present new possibilities for increased survivability. Exoskeletons will allow personnel to wear heavier armor with less impact on endurance, speed and maneuverability.

Wound care on the battlefield will be transformed with the ability to provide more sophisticated medical care closer to the wound.

This could include synthetic blood powder optimized for battlefield trauma and stored at room temperature until needed 3D printed tissues and organs can be designed, manufactured and applied further up the medical chain by robotic surgery or by surgeons using telemedicine Each of these technologies is under development and can be implemented in the next 20 years,” the report says.

As these futuristic technologies continue to evolve, perhaps we will see a shift away from the concept of vitalism.

Vitalism is the idea that natural life is purely chemical or physical in nature. Rather, our understanding of nature may change in line with the idea that nature is predictable, manageable, programmable, and malleable with the use and integration of digital and nanotechnologies.

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