London Futurists

The Politics of Transhumanism, with James Hughes

November 13, 2023 London Futurists Season 1 Episode 63
London Futurists
The Politics of Transhumanism, with James Hughes
Show Notes

Our guest in this episode is James Hughes. James is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as Associate Provost at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also the Executive Director of the IEET, that is the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, which he co-founded back in 2004.

The stated mission of the IEET seems to be more important than ever, in the fast-changing times of the mid-2020s. To quote a short extract from its website:

The IEET promotes ideas about how technological progress can increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies. We believe that technological progress can be a catalyst for positive human development so long as we ensure that technologies are safe and equitably distributed. We call this a “technoprogressive” orientation.

Focusing on emerging technologies that have the potential to positively transform social conditions and the quality of human lives – especially “human enhancement technologies” – the IEET seeks to cultivate academic, professional, and popular understanding of their implications, both positive and negative, and to encourage responsible public policies for their safe and equitable use.

That mission fits well with what we like to discuss with guests on this show. In particular, this episode asks questions about a conference that has just finished in Boston, co-hosted by the IEET, with the headline title “Emerging Technologies and the Future of Work”. The episode also covers the history and politics of transhumanism, as a backdrop to discussion of present and future issues.

Selected follow-ups:
James Hughes on Wikipedia
Conference: Emerging Technologies and the Future of Work

Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration