Citizen Cyborg
Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future

by James J. Hughes

Citizen Cyborg


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Reviews of Citizen Cyborg

The Book Editors of the April 2005 issue of Scientific American recommend Citizen Cyborg:

“A challenging and provocative look at the intersection of human self-modification and political governance. Everyone wondering how society will be able to handle the coming possibilities of AI and Genomics should read Citizen Cyborg.”
- Gregory Stock Ph.D., Director, UCLA Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society; author,
Redesigning Humans

"Citizen Cyborg...has made waves in academic circles..."
- William Weir, Hartford Courant

"James Hughes is a sober, insightful, useful and optimistic thinker about the astonishing changes in store for human nature. 'Citizen Cyborg' is an important contribution to the rapidly moving debate on human enhancement."
-- Joel Garreau, author of While God Wasn't Watching: The Future of Human Nature (Doubleday, May 2005.)

"A fascinating tour of the coming intersection of politics, nanotechnology, and biology, by the leading champion of Transhumanism. Anyone who wants to understand the tumultuous bio-politics of the next decade should read this book."
- Gregory Pence Ph.D., author of Who's Afraid of Human Cloning; Professor, Philosophy and School of Medicine, University of Alabama Medical School.

"...genuinely surprising, engaging and engrossing...Hughes's remarkable achievement in Citizen Cyborg is the fusion of social democratic ideals of tempered, reasoned state intervention to promote equality of opportunity with the ideal of self-determination inherent in transhumanism. Transhumanism, Hughes convincingly argues, is the sequel to humanism, and to feminism, to the movements for racial and gender equality, for the fight for queer and transgender rights."
- Cory Doctorow, "Humanist transhumanism: Citizen Cyborg" Boing Boing  April 11, 2005

"In Citizen Cyborg, James Hughes maps what he sees as these emerging parties in bio-politics and their relationship to the ideologies and isms of the 20th century. A transhumanist, he nonetheless believes it is possible to find a middle way between the libertarians who advocate a technological free-for-all and the bio-conservatives who want the lot banned. He places himself within the traditions of both liberal and social democracy, arguing that "transhumanist technologies can radically improve our quality of life, and that we have a fundamental right to use them to control our bodies and minds. But to ensure these benefits we need to democratically regulate these technologies and make them equally available in free societies." Contrary to Fukuyama, Hughes does not believe that the biotech wonders of the transhumanist era will create new elites. He argues that they could even strengthen equality by empowering those who are currently downtrodden."
- Stephen Cave and Friederike von Tiesenhausen Cave "The most dangerous idea on earth?" Financial Times, May 27 2005

"A powerful indictment of the anti-rationalist attitudes that are dominating our national policy today. Hughes brings together ideas from religion, history, science, bioethics, and politics in a unique way. The book sparkles with insights, challenges, and new ways of looking at the problems our society is facing today. He is a worthy guide to a more humane future."
- John Lantos M.D., author of Do We Still Need Doctors?, past president of the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities

"...Hughes' book contains a fairly detailed history of academic and non-academic thinking about a 'posthuman' future."
- Sonia Arrison "Future Humans"  TechNewsWorld 06/10/05

"Hughes does an excellent job of describing the transformative possibilities of biotech, nanotech, information systems and cognitive research. Citizen Cyborg is not just about the wonders of technology, but also about how Hughes thinks transhumanists can best persuade their fellow citizens to welcome the changes. Hughes begins by offering a good history of the beginnings of transhumanist thinking and demonstrates that it is the legitimate heir of humanism....Citizen Cyborg is invaluable in sharpening the political issues that humanity will confront as the biotech revolution rolls on."
- Ronald Bailey "Trans-Human Expressway" Reason  May 11, 2005.

"Citizen Cyborg is an excellent survey of the promises and fears of technological developments that will drastically alter humans and human nature itself."
-Frank Forman "Transhumanism's Vital Center: Review of James Hughes, Citizen Cyborg," Journal of Evolution and Technology Vol. 14 - April 2005.

“'Pastoralists are okay with a radically transformed life through yoga or organic gardening,' Hughes says, 'but once you start a discussion about using tech to end disease, death, poverty, or work, a wall goes up.'...Along with calls for social equity and responsibility, he says, 'we also need to give ourselves permission to be excited about new technologies.'”
- Alyssa Ford "Humanity: The Remix," Utne Reader  May-June 2005

"Citizen Cyborg is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the dangers posed by radical transhumanism. James Hughes' passionate and skilled advocacy forces us to confront the kind of society we want for ourselves and our children. We either reassert our commitment to the moral importance of being human or open the door to a futuristic bio-anarchy that could be the death knell of universal human equality."
- Wesley J. Smith, author of Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World and
Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America. Also see Smith's review of Citizen Cyborg "An Epistle for the New Religion of Transhumanism," in Betterhumans  January 12, 2005

"James Hughes has written a profoundly important book for anyone seriously seeking to understand the real ethical and religious issues, and possibilities, that confront humanity today. His voice, however, is one of reason and hope, as opposed to the politics and policies of fear that seem to have paralyzed the imagination of reactionary intellectuals of the right and the left who have dominated the discussion until now. Hughes is a true evolutionist, who recognizes that evolution is a continuing process, that the “cold, hard facts” of materialistic science and technology, are basically friendly, and that the fundamental liberal principles of liberty, equality, solidarity of persons, reason and progress are as just as real, and maybe even more important, today then at the time of the original enlightenment."
- Rev. Peter H. Christiansen (First Unitarian Church Los Angeles 1969 – 1976)

"An important book that everyone will now have to refer to in all political debates about enhancement. It sets out a comprehensive and reasonably-argued position, which is what is needed."
- Russell Blackford, philosopher, bioethicist and science fiction author