The Institute of Art and Ideas runs an online ideas platform IAI.TV that’s been described as ‘Europe’s answer to TED.’ They have recently published a new academy course, “The Future of Being Human,” taught by Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute Fellow Anders Sandberg. The course is free to join.
In the course, Anders covers the roots of transhumanist thinking and the possibilities of extending human life as we currently know it. (While I don’t know Anders personally I have corresponded with him and can assure you he is a great scholar on this topic.) Below you’ll find a more detailed description of the course. Again this video course is free.
About the Course
Since the Ancient Greek legend of Icarus and Daedulus, humans have been fascinated by the potential of technology to transcend our biological limitations – to live longer, think smarter, and experience more. But what exactly could be achieved? Could we really do away with the nuisances of aging and death? Could our neural systems be put online, giving us the wealth of all human knowledge a thought away? Is this something we would even want? What are the dangers involved, and is it even possible to predict them? Are we in a position to even speculate about the effect of a transhumanist revolution would have on society, or is the uncertainty too great and risks too unpredictable? In this course, Fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute Anders Sandberg explains the history, motivations and goals of transhumanism, and offers predictions of what humanity might resemble in a trillion years.
By the end of the course, you will have learned:
- the reasons behind the unprecedented success of our species
- the classical and religious roots of modern transhumanist thinking
- the ways amateur transhumanists are modifying themselves today
- why we age, and whether we can stop doing so
- the dangers and costs of progress in genetic engineering
- where meaning might be found in a life where anything is possible
As part of the course, there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning and discussion boards to have your say.
IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.
About the Instructor
James Martin Fellow at the Future of Humanity Insitute at Oxford University, his research centres on the ethical and social implications of future technologies and human enhancement.
Part One: Transformative TechnologiesWhat physical and mental feats could enhanced humans achieve, and what has been achieved already?
Part Two: Transformed SocietiesWhat would a transhuman society look like, and when might we expect to see it?
3 thoughts on “The Future of Being Human”
Main danger is– as always– that criminals will dominate. In your ‘Survival Of The Richest’ you allude to such. The three superpowers: China, Russia, the US, have criminals as their chief executives, which was not the case for all three nations until January 20th 2017.
That is to say the evidence for the near future is not encouraging in this regard; chief executive criminals living longer (perhaps indefinitely) is no cause for celebration.
Hence Plato’s argument that we need intellectually and morally excellent leaders to have good lives.
I saw Anders speak at a few sessions of a big philosophy festival in Wales in 2018. He was indeed a good and measured spokesperson for transhumanists. Thanks for sharing this course!