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.
Listen to more Science Focus Podcast episodes:
- Nudge theory
- Project Discovery and its search for exoplanets
- Remembering Professor Stephen Hawking
- Exploding Head Syndrome
- Adventures in brain enhancement
- The future of humanity with Michio Kaku
- How emotions are made