“Hi there, I’m a transhumanist”

I suppose it’s because I’ve always been interested in body modification and body art that I’ve often thought about the kind of body art that Transhumanist and Futurist proponents could get to, as a group, signify externally their internal views.

There are plenty of examples of it in other areas of human endeavour; athletes who attend the Olympics get the 5 rings tattooed on themselves, members of various millitaries get them to signify branch and service. So it got me to thinking about a similar symbol for Transhumans.

There is of course the widely used “H+” tag, but while I _do_ like this as a simple symbol signifying transhumanists I think for people external to the whole idea of transhumanism the “+” can seem to mean “superior” or “better” than normal humans and possibly alienate people.

To those inside transhumanism it obviously is an inclusive tag, Showing that we believe _everyone_ can do and be better than they are now. But to others I think it can come across as a little eugenics-y.

Not only that but other than a _very_ few who have some kind of enhancing implant, most of us are only philosophically transhumanist, It would feel a bit “fake” getting “H+” on my body which is, so far, still bog standard natural issue. If I had actually made some changes I might feel a bit more comfy with that, and who knows at sometime in the future I might feel ok with such a mark. But for now I’m not comfortable with it for those reasons.

So what can we do to adorn ourselves with a mark that signifies our ideals, is interesting, poignant , and relevant to our goals in life?

I let the idea percolate in my mind for a year or two and then, one day, it came to me with the discovery of this : Freedom-2 Ink. A permanent tattoo ink that specially designed to be responsive to laser removal for simple, scar free tattoo changes.

Since this enables us to “update” a tattoo easily , through removal and re-addition of a part of it, then why not a versioning system for our physical forms?

The result :

I feel it’s a tattoo that symbolises my interest in technology, art, and physical change. It’s simple, but inspires discussion and explanation in those that see it. It’s non confrontational, universally understood and (for me) very motivating. I was able to quickly create a personal rule system around the versioning, with the basis being that everything after the one is an “organic” version and as such only the digits after the “.” need to be in temp ink.

When an “upgrade” is achieved (which I view to be an integration of technology into my physical sphere (technological implants such as my RFID chip) or change in my biological make-up (such as gene therapy) the digit is erased and indexed. I will need to ascertain as I go how much a particular change is “worth” but It’s a basic framework. The theory being that version 2.0 would be a complete release from biological substrate or a complete re-creation of my genetic code into a new form. I assume that each persons values for versioning and change would be fairly personal and slide upon some internally created scale.

I was pleased and surprised to have my non transhumanist friends actually getting quite interested and amused by it and suggesting problems and loopholes via mooted test cases…

“What if you get a clone? Are they version 2?”
“What if an “upgrade gets removed… to you version down?”
“What about temp implants? Are those beta versions?”

…to just list a few.

The first and second were easy to answer. A physical clone, or mental clone (separate upload), would immediately be a different individual with their own goals and life, this would result result in in them being version 1.0 of themselves.

If an upgrade gets removed (as with my RFID chip) I “revert” to the version before the upgrade.

Temp implants were a bit trickier, I suspect I would simply hold off versioning until I am fairly sure an implant is semi-permanent.

This all probably sounds quite mad to the outsider and possibly some insiders but it has been an interesting thought experiment for me as far as how upgrades affect self worth and as an excellent motivator to move ahead. (Not to mention a fun bit of body art) Every time I see my plain old v1.0 in the mirror I am reminded of my mortality and lack of alternatives for longevity other than my organic form.

So I submit this to the transhumanist community, as a suggestion to those who are interested in body art and would like to wear their goals on their sleeve (or chest, or whatever, as the case may be). Why not a versioning tattoo to self-inspire, create discussion and educate? It would create a sense of community among those who carried it and perhaps help us be a little more motivated in our day to day lives as a constant reminder of what we want our lives moving towards.

If anyone else finds this idea appealing and tries it out I would love to hear from you or receive a pic of your tat and as much of your face as you would like to show and I will add it to a gallery here.

AM