The risk of a transhumanist future

Transhumanism has received significant media attention in recent times – not in the least because the one of the movement’s leaders, Zoltan Istvan, ran for president in 2016 US elections.

But a British PhD candidate has warned of the darker side of a transhumanist future.

Sociologist Alex Thomas of East London University believes that transhumanism will further enforce a societal obsession with “progress” and “efficiency” at the expense of social justice and environmental sustainability. In an article published this week in The Conversation, Thomas argues that unbridled technological progress, in which technology “become more intrusive and integrate seamlessly with the human body”, could lead to a loss of basic societal values such as compassion and a concern for the environment.  

Transhumanism and advanced capitalism are two processes which value “progress” and “efficiency” above everything else. The former as a means to power and the latter as a means to profit. Humans become vessels to serve these values. Transhuman possibilities urgently call for a politics with more clearly delineated and explicit humane values to provide a safer environment in which to foster these profound changes.”

Thomas interweaves examples ranging from new military technologies to powerful enhancement medications, arguing that, rather than assisting humanity, these technologies could potentially lead to a “mechanisation” of humanity and facilitate a subtle form of authoritarian control. 

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | bioenhancement, enhancement, transhumanism

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