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Transhumanism @ BlueDot Festival

Transhumanism @ BlueDot Festival

It was fantastic to be at Bluedot again this week, alongside Tom Shakespeare. I’ve known Tom for over a decade now and it’s always such a delight to be in his company. One of the rare academics who can use comedy within public talks to great effect.

Our discussion took us deep into the realm of transhumanism and spanned such areas as artistic practice and elite sport. I tend to be pretty liberal in how we approach this subject, not hell bent on humans having to embrace all technologies, but having the opportunity to do so. This means being allowed to choose a life that minimises the experience of biological suffering, while also transcending our species typical functions, notably the duration of our life span.

We didn’t record that day, but here’s something that captures much of my perspective on this subject. It’s one of my favourite articles from a few years ago.

Sadly, I was only at Blue Dot for the day, but the real highlight was catching Rebecca Taylor perform, just before my session.

Understanding transhumanism

Understanding transhumanism

Last weekend, I featured in an article by Robin McKie on transhumanism, following Wellcome awarding their annual book prize to Mark O'Connell for his 'To be a machine'. It's a really great article, but I've a few things to add based on some of the responses I've seen online and will make a podcast about it over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's the article. 

Also, if you want a deep dive into this, check out something I wrote a few years ago, which draws together some related ideas on posthumanism and cyborgs.


Living with Robots #ESRCfestival

Living with Robots #ESRCfestival

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, I produced an event that explores our future with robots in an experiment of public engagement, science communication, and social science. We invited families to come to the Museum of Science and Industry to discuss together what this future might be, while undertaking a Lego robot building workshop with Nick Hawken and creating Noisy Toys, Steve Summers - robot instruments. 

I really wanted to create an event that explored a novel social science methodology and we combined a number of techniques to give people an insight into the role of social science in developing our understanding and comprehension of the future. This is a really challenging proposition for areas where we have yet to work with a demographic of users, but is crucial to help us build a greater comprehension for the issues that might arise.

As a catalyst for the discussions, we had input from world leading experts on this field who asked the following questions of our participants:

We had fantastic support from Salford University student volunteers and the amazing contributions of Dr Marieke Navin, Salford Uni Science Communicator in Residence and Dr Gary Kerr, PhD researcher in Science Communication.

Here's a little overview 





The idea of transhumanism

In a brief interview while in Madrid, I was asked about my views on transhumanism. Here I am putting it as succinctly as possible.  

The Tomorrow People

Article published in New Zealand Tone Magazine invu with me, Colin Gavaghan and a few other folk. link HERE to buy the edition, or HERE to access the article.


Today's event at @CheltSciFest was a blast #cheltscifest. I focused my talk around my 5 categories of human enhancement. Here's the prezi. Great discussion.

Do we have time to live forever?

At Die Untoten, my second intervention was with Aubrey de Grey. We've not done an event together since a Nature debate in 2008 and it was fun to work through some ideas that I've not had a chance to talk about for a while. The focus of our conversation was longevity and whether living for longer is a priority in society. While it seems that a lot of energy within politics goes towards helping people have longer, fitter lives, the realization that implies a commitment to living indefinitely is something that people find quite troublesome.

In fact, most of the people in our audience would prefer to not live beyond 100 years, even if we could guarantee good health.

Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology

A month or so back, I published a couple of new articles, which each deal with the concept of posthumanism. The main article details a typology of human enhancements that aims to clarify the different levels of discussion and expectation of human enhancement technologis. The second is a 'Letter to Utopia', a reply to Nick Bostrom's Letter from Utopia published alongside my paper in SELT. They're available through the SELT website: MIAH, A. (2008) Engineering Greater Resilience or Radical Transhuman Enhancement? Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2,

MIAH, A. (2008) Letter to Utopia. Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2,