IEET > Vision > Bioculture > Staff > J. Hughes
Is There a Pro-Mutant Trend in Popular Culture?

Myths and stories reflect popular hopes and anxieties, and in turn shape the attitudes of each new generation. Our emerging biopolitics - which concerns emerging technologies, human enhancement, longevity, robots and AIs, chimeras, and so on – have been profoundly shaped by the bioconservative tropes of Frankenstein, Brave New World and Gattaca. At the same time SF, fantasy and horror images have become part of mainstream culture, with increasingly positive depictions of vampires, cyborgs and robots. On the other hand there are still very few examples of moral humans who choose to live a long time or enhance their intelligence. To what extent do contemporary television, film and literature reflect a positive trend in the depiction of the “intelligent Other”?  If there is such a trend what might it mean?

James Hughes Ph.D., the IEET Executive Director, is a bioethicist and sociologist at Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut where he teaches Health Policy and serves as Associate Director of Institutional Research and Planning. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he also taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Dr. Hughes is author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future , and is working on a second book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. Since 1999 he has produced a syndicated weekly radio program, Changesurfer Radio. 

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