Can Humans Dream of Electric Sheep? [Book Review]

Metascience 30 (2):269-271 (2021)
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Abstract

As an idea, transhumanism has received increasing attention in recent years and across numerous domains. Despite presidential candidates such as Zoltan Istvan, who ran on an explicitly Transhumanist platform in 2016 but later dropped out to endorse Hillary Clinton, transhumanism has taken root more recently in the conspiratorial imaginations of the dark web. Given the philosophy’s central emphasis on technology as an inherent good, imaginations in supposed alt-right internet circles have criticised it as an ideological gateway to global, fully-automated Communism. This is not to say that such discussions on transhumanism are exclusively siloed and on the margins of society. Related discussions are happening at various well-known institutions and research centres such as the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, a non-profit think tank dedicated to techno-progressivism where I have been managing director for half a decade. What I mean to say here is that transhumanism is not monolithic. It is best described as multi-faceted and existing in different instantiations across multiple domains. James Michael MacFarlane’s recent book, Transhumanism as a New Social Movement: The Techno- Imagination, is an attempt to trace the history, meaning, and practices that characterise this variegated term.

Author's Profile

Steven Umbrello
Delft University of Technology

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