El Club de los Astronautas: a transhumanist space agency founded by artists and musicians
El Club de los Astronautas, “the worlds first space agency founded by artists and musicians”, is a cultural, musical and artistic collective in Barcelona that was founded to promote and communicate the idea of a manned, interstellar voyage. For it’s implementation the Club suggests the construction of a space ship called Mare Nostrum. Its major task is to find and debate strategies that could lead into this final goal. The Club’s work is a very interesting mix of scientific ideas, artistic and musical experimentation. Following inspirations taken from Transhumanism and Second Life, the Mare Nostrum space ship is crewed by uploaded human personalities inhabiting a virtual reality simulation. Don’t miss Chapters 5 and 6 of the radio play, covering Transhumanism, Second Life, uvvy island, mind uploading, the Omega Point, Nick Bostrom’s simulation arguments, artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, brain-computer interfacing, and the possibility to “move” via uploading to VR simulations running on future supercomputers.
Most of the people of the Club, including its founder David Apfel, come from an artistic background and were not trained as scientists and engineers. However, they have made an effort to understand and digest the complex scientific and technical concepts that may lead to transhumanity, as well as the philosophical and ethical foundations of transhumanism. Their artistic background will make it easier for them, I believe, communicating the transhumanist worldview in such a way as to appeal to artistic sensibilities beyond the geeky image, perhaps too cold and aseptic, that transhumanism still has. I would not go as far as saying that they *are* transhumanists, but certainly they take transhumanism seriously and can help us to communicate better.
I was first in touch with ”El Club of the Astronautas” in April, when they invited me to give a talk on transhumanism at their festival “26 000 años luz” in Barcelona. I could not travel to Barcelona on that day, so I proposed to give the talk from the virtual reality of Second Life. My talk was one the first live “mixed-reality” presentations given from virtual reality to the live audience of a festival in brickspace, and the first presentation on transhumanism given in Second Life.
David Apfel came to see me in Second Life, and I gave a power point -like presentation with audio via Skype. I had a few interesting questions - the most interesting were “haven’t you any curiosity to experience death?”, to which I replied “about as much as to visit the dentist next week”, and about the concept of “living in VR”: uploading to a VR world and living there. The guy in the picture below is asking about the possibility of virtual life after death.
They are planning another, more ambitious festival in 2007, and I look forward to continuing the collaboration with them.
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