Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Human, Version 2.0 (BBC film)

The BBC actually created this program in October of 2006. It's a very accessible introduction to transhumanism and human enhancement futurism.

I was surprised that the BBC had a section on deeply embedded institutions like DARPA (the double-edged sword of technology) which seek to use enhancement technologies to develop a police state panopticon. The program also focused on anti-enhancement futurist, Theodore Kaczinsky. I would say too much of the video was focused on him, in fact, since it virtually framed the enhancement paradigm by the violent anarcho-primitivist paradigm of the Unabomber. Using eerie melodies, flashy and almost horrific images, and striking passages from Kaczinsky's The Industrial Society and Its Future, it makes transitions to interviews of quantum scientists look ridiculously naive. In fact, the scenes of children playing in the forest (a recurrent theme throughout the film) suggest anarcha-primitivism is the better alternative, as if there will be no children playing in forests after the singularity. If you have no idea what this technology is all about, it helps you form a rather fearful perspective about what it means for humanity.

On the BBC Humans V2.0 website, you can watch detailed interviews and videos of brain cells growing. You can also vote whether you are inclined to think Kurweil or De Garis' predictions are correct. The Kurzweil Ai website is probably one of the best sites out there, however, including all sorts of articles, videos and very accessible introductions to human enhancement and the singularity.


Grendel, the Grumpy Grad Student said...

Great post! You have just rounded out the second unit for my freshman comp class; this idea works terrifically with postmodernism philosophy and the (un)Real...thanks

Acumensch said...

That's interesting :) What university offers that? Thanks to Berkeley's IT department, I've listened to some interesting podcasts from some of their information & society courses, like this one:

Is that sort of like what you teach?