Transhumanism: Enhanced Decision-Making - Introduction
More (Max) & Vita-More (Natasha)
Source: More & Vita-More - The Transhumanist Reader, Introduction to Part VI
Paper - Abstract

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  1. The kinds of changes to the human condition envisioned and recommended by transhumanists2 clearly have massive implications. Transhumanists3 recognize the potential downsides as well as the upsides of these technologically mediated changes. The emerging new choices only add to the range, complexity, and difficulty of choices revolving around technology.
  2. Our human brains did not evolve to process such decisions effectively. That is why, in addition to pursuing the neurological and computational aspects of cognitive enhancement (discussed in Part III on the Cognitive Sphere), transhumanists4 have a strong interest in alternative means for improving our decision-making processes.
  3. This interest includes paying close attention to the decision sciences, cognitive and behavioral psychology, and diverse frameworks for structured decision-making and forecasting. Will we achieve posthuman wisdom and arrive at optimal decisions simply by becoming more intelligent and accessing more facts?
  4. Unfortunately not. If intelligence5 and knowledge acquired through education and fact-finding were sufficient, we would expect doubts about well-established scientific theories to fade away when more information is provided. This "deficit model" of science communication has been found wanting in several studies. Additional information can actually polarize views further and lead to a hardening of beliefs as we filter information through our existing perspectives.
  5. These discouraging results are not the whole picture. The essays in this section show how better tools and perspectives can improve our decision-making - a crucial task in a world where technology becomes ever more potent, for better or worse.
  6. This section includes three domains of thought that explore thinking processes and issues through the lenses of economics, applied philosophy, and electronic hyperlink theory.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Chapter summaries have been removed and used as the Abstracts of the Chapters themselves.

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