While at conferences and doing research and writing over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a lot of confusion about the terms “posthuman,” “transhuman,” and “posthumanism.” A lot of people—including scholars who should know better—use these terms pretty much interchangeably and indiscriminately. Part of the problem is that these terms are all fairly new. So for clarity’s sake, I offer these simple thumbnail definitions of all three terms…
IEET Fellow Kevin Lagrandeur’s book Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Artificial Slaves has been awarded an Honorable Mention by the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies .
Before deciding how to define and proceed with modern definitions of personhood beyond the human, it will help to see how personhood has been defined historically—especially with regard to several ancient androids, because in their day they presented the best case for individuals who might have had, by the time’s definitions, the chance to be considered fully human.
A Pew Research Center survey of 2,012 American adults done between March and April, 2013 shows, somewhat surprisingly, that a majority of those surveyed (58%) would not like to live radically extended lives—although they think that other people besides themselves would.
This presentation of mine will examine the correspondences between the magical codes of the Renaissance wizard and the virtual “magic” produced by the coding of modern computer wizards, who use the information inherent in symbolic, programming language—their own form of incantations—to program systems that embody impressive aspects of human cognitive capabilities and, often, formidable physical power.
What is really significant when we look at technology in the ancient world is that technology is not limited to Classical mythology. Rather, its presence in those stories coincides in important ways with its appearance in other types of fictional and non-fictional accounts, and not just in Western literature, but in the literature of other cultures as well.
Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and Stefan Sorgner are part of an international consortium of institutions working on the Metabody Project, investigating the role technology has on interrelatedness of embodiment and emotion.
The IEET is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Kevin LaGrandeur as a Fellow. Kevin is author of the 2012 cultural history of the idea of artificial intelligence in premodern thought, Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Routledge, 2012).
The idea of artificial slaves - and questions about their tractability - is present not only in the literature of modern times but also extends all the way back to ancient Greek sources; and it is present in the literature and oral history of the early modern period as well. Aristotle is the first to discuss the uses and advantages of the artificial slave in his Politics.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, with Ray Kurzweil’s talks. At the TEDx Conference in Manhattan on Monday, December 3, he and the biotech pioneer Juan Enriquez were the keynote speakers.
The factual and fictional literature of the Renaissance contains references to the creation of artificial humanoids-somewhat remarkable for an era that predates not only the era of cloning and robotics, but also the era of industry. These figures range from images in fictional literature of talking brass heads to discussions of the homunculus by Renaissance natural philosophers and to Jewish legends of the golem.