Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Condensed Critique of Transhumanism As A Book?

I wonder, do you think it would be sufficiently useful, wanted, novel to adapt (and perhaps not very much) the material anthologized as my Condensed Critique of Transhumanism, to be worth the effort?


barry gillis said...


Chad Lott said...

I guess it depends on what you mean by book.

Would I like to have something to hold in my hands and underline with a pencil? Yes.

Would e-reader types be willing to fork over some dough to dowload a PDF? Probably.

Can you do both? Definitely.

You could cost out a small print run and use Kickstarter as a presale mechanism. I worked with a comic book artist and managed to pull in about 10K for printing this way. This would be useful if you didn't already have some kind of publishing deal lined up.

I think if you packaged this material (please excuse the ad guy voice here) with related art work and maybe some side bar debate (capturing the back and forth in the moot)you could pull it off.

From my perspective, the key would be making it a collectible print artifact (like the stuff that comes out of McSweeney's).

I assume you run some kind of analytics on this blog, which should give you a rough idea of readership.

You could also just assign it to your students and make them buy it, I guess.

ian @ paul said...

It seems to be an important topic and i'm sure your critique would be a much needed one in the current moment.

I think that it would be important however to explore the plurality of transhuman discourses and not the concept to its futurological expressions. This would make the project about more than critique perhaps, but I think it would be more beneficial to include the liberatory uses of the concept as well.


Dale Carrico said...

Barry: I will say that your "No" here, while lacking the particulars one might be hoping for otherwise, does have the benefit of circumventing the grammatical difficulties encountered in those of your replies that have assayed sentence-length and beyond in the past, as for example, here and here.

Chad: "You could also just assign it to your students and make them buy it, I guess." The very idea! How could you? (That practice is actually a pet peeve of mine, it's flabbergasting how many teachers indulge in it.)

Ian: "I think it would be more beneficial to include the liberatory uses of the concept as well." I honestly think there aren't any, apart from the usual incidental accidents. After all, getting shot in the head might change some people's lives for the better if they survive it -- not to mention other people's if they don't.

ian @ paul said...

"I honestly think there aren't any"

Really? While I understand the disgust with and urgent need to counter 'superhuman' type claims, it is equally urgently important to undermine the strict boundary of the "human" (and the resulting "nonhuman", "subhuman", etc) and the power structures that they maintain. Whether or not this work is done through the language of "transhuman" or not is of course a tactical-theoretical question, but certainly there must be room within the concept to subvert the uber-human fantasies and even make the term do new and interesting things in the interest of justice/equality/etc.

Dale Carrico said...

Hey, Ian!

You ask: "Really?"

Yeah, really.

I mean, I wonder are you actually basing your sense of transhumanoid "libertory possibilities" on a reading of actual things actually transhumanist-identified people actually say? That really has to matter at some point.

Now, there is an academic post-humanist discourse involving folks like Katherine Hayles, Judith Halberstam, Donna Haraway, and so on (also, too, me!) that abuts post-colonial critique, critical race theory, gender theory, animal studies, science-technology-studies, and so on.

Transhumanism -- superlative sub(cult)ural futurology is not what I think you are talking about. I think one of the merits of the critique under discussion is precisely its clarity on this -- especially given that it is coming from someone with an STS and queer theory background sympathetic to posthuman critique, not to mention not to put too fine a point on it a queergeek fanboy who might otherwise be expected to be drawn as a moth to a flame to the whole Robot Cult schtick.

Thorsten Behrens said...

I'm not sure one needs a book to counter transhumanism. The observation that most philosophies tend to answer the question (you might argue: perceived insult) of death with "it ain't really so!" should be sufficient. There's really nothing novel in transhumanism.

That said, given that self-publishing is easy, and some may want your essays in book form: Go for it! There are some very good blogs out there on how to use the Amazon platform to self-publish, what pricing to set on e-books (1.99 is popular), and how to advertise the work once published.

The effort involved should be minimal if you use all the tools well, and the cost is minimal, too. Up to you to decide whether you like the idea of book form sufficiently to go for it.