The short answer: Superhero movies are far more inclined to make us fearful of transhumanism.
The long answer: Think about the superhero movies that you enjoyed or really got into. Now think about how that hero became a hero. The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, and even Hellboy are the result of science gone awry. Iron Man and Batman are the result of exceptional, unfathomable wealth, talent, and dedication being impossibly found in a single human being. Super-Man and Thor aren’t even human beings. The Watchmen are a team of crazy people allied with a deity. The X-Men are mutants whose continued evolution is both unexplained and terrifying, resulting in a genetic race war. The overall message is simple: The odds of anyone becoming super are next to nil, the odds of you becoming super are worse than zero, and the human cost of becoming super is horrific and unavoidable.
Now look at a movie like Limitless or Gattaca or Frankenstein. What is the cost of overreach? Insanity, genetic castes, and abomination. Even an extremely science friendly show, Star Trek, has episodes critiquing efforts at enhancement, be it cybernetic or genetic. The video game series Deus Ex involves nano-augmentations, but takes place in a society so dystopic and broken that it makes most conspiracy theorists’ worries seem downright minor. Overall, entertainment tells us enhancement is dangerous.
Kyle Munkittrick, IEET Program Director: Envisioning the Future, is a recent graduate of New York University, where he received his Master's in bioethics and critical theory.
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