Transhumanism is both misunderstood and feared. Ignorant people with an ideological agenda have gone as far as labeling it “the most dangerous idea.” I thought that it is time to bring some basic intellectual clarity on the topic and who is better prepared to help us do that but “the first female philosopher of transhumanism”!?
Dr. Natasha Vita-More has already been a guest on Singularity 1 on 1. Her first interview was both interesting and popular and I very much enjoyed talking to her about her life and work. This time our conversation is more focused on issues strictly related to transhumanism and the basics thereof, so I thought I’d call this episode Transhumanism 101.
During our conversation Natasha covers a wide variety of topics such as: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the effect it had on transhumanism, science fiction and science in general; the negative perception and fear of transhumanism stemming from some more recent publications such as Bill Joy’s Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us and Francis Fukuyama’s Post-Human Future; Natasha’s definition of transhumanism; similarities and differences between transhuman, posthuman and cyborg; critical thinking as one of the basic tenets of transhumanism; important writings such as Max More’s Towards a Futurist Philosophy, Eric Drexler’s Engines of Creation and Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World; her PhD dissertation on human enhancement and life expansion; some of the reasons that people fear transhumanism and how to turn that around; some of her upcoming projects such as The Transhumanist Reader and H+TV as well as artistic events and conferences that she supports.
One of my favorite quotes that I will take away from this interview with Natasha is her call to “Get creative about the future!”
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Who is Natasha Vita-More?
Natasha Vita-More, PhD is the founder and creative director of esDESiGN and the producer and host of H+TV online. Her research concerns the design aesthetics of human enhancement and radical life extension, with a focus on emerging and speculative sciences and technologies. Her conceptual future human design “Primo Posthuman” has been featured in Wired, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Net Business, Teleopolis, and Village Voice. She has appeared in over twenty-four televised documentaries on the future and culture, and has exhibited media artworks at National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Brooks Memorial Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Women In Video, Telluride Film Festival, and United States Film Festival and recently “Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age” and is the recipient of several awards: First Place Award at Brooks Memorial Museum, Special Recognition at Women in Video, and special recognition for “Futures Podcast Series”.
Dr. Vita-More is a proponent of human rights and ethical means for human enhancement, and is published in Artifact, Technoetic Arts, Nanotechnology Perceptions, Sistemi Intelligenti, Metaverse Creativity, D’ARS, and the Global Spiral. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future (Wiley-Blackwell 2013).