Transhumanism - using technology to live forever

We talk to Mark O’Connell about transhumanism, the evolution of the human species and his Wellcome Book Prize-shortlisted book To Be A Machine.

12th April 2018
Science Focus Podcast: transhumanism - using technology to live forever © Getty Images

In this episode, we talk to Mark O’Connell, who’s recent book To Be a Machine has been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. It’s centres around transhumanism, a movement whose aim is to use technology to control the future evolution of our species – to improve our flawed biology, and to enable us to live forever.

Humans have been dreaming about cheating death for millennia, but with our recent rapid technological progress, we’re finding more and more opportunities to tamper with our own biology.

Transhumanists are attempting this in range of different ways. BBC Focus Editorial Assistant Helen Glenny talks to Mark about some of the people he met on his journey into transhumanism: there’s a scientist who’s trying to upload human brains to machines, a Foundation that’s preserving human heads until we’ve got the technology to bring them back to life, and biohackers who are already installing upgrades into their own bodies. And along with the science, there’s some pretty troubling ethical implications.

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