Transhuman Friendship?

In the excitement over all the amazing possibilities future technology looks likely to bring us, let's not lose touch with the better aspects of the good old traditional values.

For instance, friends and family form an essential portion of an individual's extended mind and extended self -- and this is a feature that seems likely to continue as long as there are individual minds.

Nearly all accomplished scientists, in their early youth, had some mentor figure introduce them into the domain of science. That is: their minds, for a time, were part of an extended mind that included scientific structures and dynamics. So the scientific mind-set was passed along to them directly, via them being made literally part of it.

Choosing friends and maintaining friendships is an important thing. Defining one's relationship with one's family is also important. These things literally help define who we are, on an ongoing dynamic basis. This is a cliche' and obvious thing to say -- but it's worth remembering, as we approach the era of posthuman humanity, the traditional sociopsychological patterns that constitute our humanity. The way these patterns morph as we advance and change, will be a large part of the story of human transcension.

Will Posthumans Have Use for Friendship?

But will the traditional "friends and family" phenomenon persist among posthumans?

Various complexities may arise such as the emergence of mindplexes (minds with theaters of reflective consciousness at the social scale as well as the individual scale) ... but even so, it seems plausible that each individual mind will choose to couple itself especially closely with a small number of other individual minds, for extensive information-sharing.

One reason for this might be that, even with "quasi-telepathic" knowledge sharing between minds, it may take some effort to really get to understand another mind well ... so that once one has undertaken that effort, it makes sense to continue the coupling with that mind, so as to reap the rewards of the understanding one has gained via sharing that mind's detailed thoughts and experiences.

On the other hand, maybe the ability to share thoughts more directly than is possible among humans will obsolete the need for close ongoing relationships with particular individuals -- perhaps this new ability will enable close rapport to be established between any two reasonably compatible minds within a brief period.

It all depends on how well transhuman forms of thought-sharing really work, given the innate incommensurability of different minds' views of the world.

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