I've just taken a slightly radical step - or two steps in one.
I've proposed a paper for the forthcoming Australasian Association of Philosophers (AAP) annual conference in mid-July.
Here's my abstract:
Transhumanism and its critics: time to transform the debate
Transhumanism is an intellectual and cultural movement that advocates the use of technology for such purposes as enhancement of human physical and cognitive capacities, alteration of moods or psychological predispositions, and radical extension of the human life span. Typically, the aim is to negotiate a transition from human-level capacities to capacities so much greater as to merit the label "posthuman" for those who possess them. Some transhumanist thinkers make proposals that do not neatly meet this description: e.g., they propose research aimed at "uplifting" the cognitive capacities of non-human mammals to something like the human level.
An agenda such as this raises many questions for philosophical consideration. Some questions relate to the practicality and coherence of transhumanist proposals. For example, can a coherent definition be given of "enhanced", as opposed to merely "altered", capacities? If we were transformed into beings with vastly enhanced (or radically altered) capacities, would this be compatible with the preservation of our existing identities and/or with our survival of the transformation? Other questions relate more to how we should react, individually and collectively, to transhumanist proposals. Are the transformations advocated by transhumanists desirable for us as individual people? Are they socially manageable?
Transhumanists raise issues that are of great intrinsic interest to philosophers. Beyond this, however, transhumanism has become a controversial and increasingly prominent movement that has attracted passionate advocates and equally passionate critics.
I suggest that it's time to transform this debate, adopting a more discriminating approach. It is possible to accept some aspects of the transhumanist agenda (albeit cautiously), while rejecting others. Transhumanist proposals merit scrutiny from viewpoints that are careful and critical, without being merely hostile or dismissive.
Beyond this, I've proposed an entire stream of programming to be called Transhumanism and the future of humanity.
Bear in mind that I don't have any clout in the AAP and am not even a member (though I really should join up). I expect my paper to be accepted, since I'm a bona fide philosopher in good standing, etc. I'm not optimistic about my left-field suggestion for an entire new programming stream (which is the really radical proposal).
On the other hand, no one will ever accept such proposals unless they are made. I also encourage other people who have an interest in issues related to transhumanism, and who and might be reading this, to make similar proposals for transhumanism-related streams when they attend conferences where it might be appropriate. It really would be good to transform the debate by getting it into a wider range of forums and attracting a wider range of inputs.