Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Also Happening at Marquette: “Transhumanism: Narratives and Implications”

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Another thing I’ve been developing is an informal, zero-credit seminar on transhumanism with Kate Hayles, who was on my dissertation committee once upon a time and who is visiting Marquette this semester. We had our first meeting on Monday and it was a delight; I’m really looking forward to the rest of it. Here’s a tiny writeup and the schedule of readings…

Transhumanism: Narratives and Implications

Every other Monday, Fall 2018, 9-10 AM, beginning September 10

Cudahy 114

Gerry Canavan and Katherine Hayles 

This zero-credit seminar is offered to explore one of the most generative and widely influential ideas of our time: transhumanism. Although it has various expressions, transhumanism in general refers to the idea that human evolution is incomplete and will soon take an unprecedented turn at the Singularity, the point at which humans develop a technologically enhanced intelligence that far surpasses their own cognitive powers. This could be a biological being sufficiently enhanced to count as a different species, an artificial intelligence, or some combination of the two. This imagined future poses several urgent questions for humanities scholars. Is further evolution of humans through technology desirable? Is it inevitable? How might it be resisted or controlled? What is likely to be the nature of transhuman beings, and how will they relate to present-day humans? What will be the human(as distinct from the posthuman or the transhuman) future? What ethical concerns should guide future research into transhumanism? These and other issues will form the focus for our readings, film viewings, and discussion.  Because the course is non-credit, we will meet every other week to keep the workload at a reasonable level. 

This course is sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities and the Association of Marquette University Women in Humanistic Studies; it is open to students, staff, faculty, and community members. Please contact Gerry Canavan (gerry.canavan@marquette.edu) for registration and access to the readings.

September 10

Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence, “Paths to Superintelligence,” pp. 26-61;Steve Shaviro, No Speed Limit, “Introduction to Accelerationism,” pp. 1-24; Andrew Pilsch, Transhumanism, “Introduction,” pp. 1-24.

September 24

Altered Carbon, Richard K. Morgan (print novel).

October 8

Ex Machina(film, to be viewed in advance of our meeting)

October 22

Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street(comic)

November 5

Ted Chiang, “Understand” (short story)

Nalo Hopkinson, “A Habit of Waste” (short story)

November 19

Transcendental Man(documentary, to be viewed in advance of our meeting)

December 3

Final meeting and general discussion

Written by gerrycanavan

September 13, 2018 at 9:01 am

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