Transhumanism is a nascent approach to bioethics, futurism, art
and culture whose adherents affirm the use of technology to overcome
the limitations of the human body. Transhumanism, as both a philosophical
and cultural phenomenon, has experienced exponential growth worldwide
in recent years.
Presently two international transhumanist organizations exist,
the World Transhumanist Association and the Extropy Institute, both
of which publish online journals, while supporting and promoting
the work of transhumanists around the world. There are local transhumanist
groups in many countries, discussion groups in many major cities
and a proliferation of transhumanist discussion lists. A growing
body of transhumanist culture is being published on the web as well
as in books and journal articles.
Transhumanism has been implicit in the writings of many humanists,
futurists and ethicists for centuries, but the trend has only become
visible with the emergence of transhumanist groups, journals and
books in recent years. And transhumanism has only recently acquired
critical viability now that the breadth, power and scope of 21st
century biotechnologies and their inevitable impact on the human
condition is becoming widely apparent.
Cloning, stem cell research, cybernetics and other novel reproductive
and health technologies illustrate the rapid pace at which society
and culture are changing. Our sense of who and what we are is rapidly
expanding and diversifying, as are our means of expression and self-actualization.
Consequently, an exciting and provocative new community of social
activists, artists and cultural facilitators is emerging. As art
and life continue to reflect and create each other, both are changing
as we move into a posthuman form and into a posthuman era.
TransVision 2004 seeks to capture and highlight these trends by
bringing together a wide array of transhumanist thinkers, artists,
scientists and ethicists. In a celebration and investigation of
the new culture, TV04 will provide captivating and avant-garde performance
art and exhibitions, in concert with academic discussions, debates
This conference will also provide an opportunity for transhumanists
and the broader community of concerned and interested participants
to come together to critically discuss and analyze the radical potential
for life in the posthuman world. Experts from around the world will
offer perspectives on the posthuman condition in consideration of
recent advances in cybernetics, artificial intelligence, genetics,
nanotechnology and life extension.
the Faith, Transhumanism and Hope seminar
At first glance, religion and transhumanism may seem to have little
to do with one another, or even be in direct conflict. Yet in the
past few years transhumanists have emerged in a variety of religious
traditions. A recent survey of the members of the World Transhumanist
Association found that a quarter of the members were religious or
spiritual, based in more than a dozen different religious traditions.
Meanwhile debate has emerged within religious communities about
the potential outcomes of human enhancement technologies and a transhumanist
worldview. Some images and ideals of the posthuman sit well within
discussions of spiritual transformation and relate to religious
longings. Others, such as pursuing transcendence through technology,
stir up heated debate and antagonism. Discussion has emerged about
whether a syncretic religious transhumanism is possible or desirable.
For this symposium and a special issue of The
Journal of Evolution and Technology we are looking for
contributions that address questions such as:
- Are transhumanism and religious faith compatible, complementary
- How much is transhumanism a product of secular humanism?
- Are only specific theologies or faiths, such as religious humanism,
technopaganism or Buddhism, compatible with transhumanism?
- What does a Christian transhumanist believe? A Buddhist transhumanist?
- Is transhumanism utopian or merely progressive?
- Do transhumanists deify technology?
- Is the transhumanist desire for immortality just a sublimation
of a desire for heaven or nirvana?
- Is the transhumanist expectation of a Singularity just a sublimated
- What does Jerusalem have to do with Silicon Valley?
- How long, oh Lord?! How many years are enough?
- Can robots ever have souls?
- Is humanity granted dominion over our own evolution along with
dominion over nature?
- Have concepts of hubris and divine limits changed over the years?
What ramifications do those changes have for theological interpretations
of human enhancement?
- What are the spiritual implications of neurotheology and entheogenic
technologies that create subjective experiences of meditative
absorption, or religious awe and reverie?
- Do we have a moral obligation to use enhancement technology
to make ourselves more compassionate, moral and wise beings?
- What are the spiritual implications of procreative liberty and
procreative beneficence (using germinal choice technology to improve
the lives of our children)?
- How can transhumanists improve dialogue with, and understanding
among, suspicious people of faith?
- Press passes are available to accredited journalists. Please
contact Simon Smith at email@example.com
to inquire about a pass.
- There will be a special seminar for journalists on Friday, August
6, 2004 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM in the JJR McLeod Auditorium (Room
2156 Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto campus).
- Information about the World Transhumanist Association is available
- Information about TransVision 2003 is available at http://www.transhumanism.org/tv/2003usa/.
Press clippings relating to the event are are available upon request.
George Dvorsky. President, Toronto Transhumanist
Association; Deputy Editor, Betterhumans. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Nick Bostrom, PhD. Oxford University, Philosophy
Shannon Foskett, MA. Associate Editor, Betterhumans.
James Hughes, PhD. Bioethicist, Public Policy
Studies, Trinity College. Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
John Smart. President, Institute for Accelerating
Change. San Pedro, California, USA.
Simon Smith. Editor-in-chief, Betterhumans; Vice-president,
Transhumanist Association. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Natasha Vita-More. President, Extropy Institute;
Artist, founder and director of Transhumanist Arts and Culture.
Mark Walker, PhD. Dept. of Philosophy, Trinity
College, University of
Toronto. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
06.07.2004—Call for submissions of art by organizational
sponsor Transhumanist Arts
& Culture. Submit
05.27.2004—Second press release issued: Cyborg
Thinkers to Address Humanity's Future. Use it as you wish, and
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05.20.2004—No room for a banner on your site? How about a
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04.07.2004—Conference extended to accommodate Faith,
Transhumanism and Hope symposium on August 5, 2004.
03.23.2004—Keynote presenters announced: Steve
Mann and Stelarc.
03.03.2004—728 x 90 banner is the newest available piece
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02.27.2004—Online gallery opened!
02.04.2004—First press release issued: The
Future Is Coming to Toronto this Summer. Use it as you wish,
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