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Transhumanism and the Future of Humanity

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Transhumanists are redefining what it means to be human. This talk takes a deeper look at the movement and its implications for the future

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From bionic eyes to designing new senses and extending life expectancy, transhumanists are redefining what it means to be human. This talk takes a deeper look at the movement and its implications for the future of humanity.

In conjunction with University of Atypical’s exhibition ‘I Want To Believe’ by

David Vintiner & Gem Fletcher, this talk explores transhumanism and its implications for the future of humanity.

Transhumanism is the belief that human beings are destined to transcend their mortal flesh through technology. From bionic eyes to designing new senses and extending life expectancy, transhumanists are redefining what it means to be human.

The profiles of transhumans are as diverse as its application. From artists and CEOs to academics and bedroom hackers, the transhumanist movement raises some important questions for us all.

While we love the efficiency and connectivity technology provides, can we embrace a future where it goes beyond our environment and enters our bodies and minds? Could we reach a point where we gift friends and family cognitive implants and new senses? If we are able to defy death, what are the implications for the meaning of life? And, most importantly, will this evolution divide or unite us?

Biographies:

David Vintiner is a photographer based in London. His projects focus on human behaviour, exploring unique communities and events that connect people. David’s photographs have an elegant simplicity that finds order and formality in amongst complex scenes and stories, bringing attention to place, gesture and expression. His images are gentle and honest, celebrating those pictured and seeking an emotional connection with each subject. With a constant curiosity about people’s desires, interests and passions, he is drawn to the obscure and unusual yet always placing human experience front and centre.

Alongside his personal practice David works on editorial and commercial projects for the likes of The Guardian, Wired, GQ & The New York Times. His work has been exhibited in several group shows throughout Europe and a number of his portraits are included in the National Portrait Gallery archive in London.

Gem Fletcher is a writer, podcaster and photo director based in London. As a writer, she focuses on photography, art and the creative process and how they manifest in contemporary culture. She has written for the British Journal of Photography, Elephant, It’s Nice That, The Guardian and An0ther. As Photo Director of Riposte Magazine, Gem collaborates with a global roster of visual artists to frame Riposte’s mission, making provocative and engaging content. In 2019, she launched The Messy Truth podcast, a series of candid conversations that unpack the future of visual culture and what it means to be a photographer today. In dialogue with photographers, artists, curators, commissioners, critics and editors, she discusses the complexity of image-making and its relationship to a range of topics including representation, process, mental health, power and more.

Marigold Warner is the online editor at the British Journal Photography, where she has been part of the editorial team since April 2018. She specialises in writing about documentary photography, with a special interest in work from Japan, where she was born and raised. Since relocating to the UK in 2013, Marigold has completed a BA in English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her words have been published by titles including The Face, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.

Neil Harbisson is a Catalan-raised, British-born contemporary artist and cyborg activist best known for having an antenna implanted in his skull and for being officially recognised as a cyborg by a government. The antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colours via audible vibrations in his skull including infrareds and ultraviolets as well as receive colours from space, images, videos, music or phone calls directly into his head via internet connection. Harbisson identifies himself both as a cyborg; he feels he is technology, and as a transpecies; he no longer feels 100% human. His artwork explores identity, human perception, the connection between sight and sound and the use of artistic expression via new sensory inputs. In 2010 he co­-founded the Cyborg Foundation with Moon Ribas, an international organisation that aims to help humans become cyborgs, defend cyborg rights and promote cyborg art. In 2017 he co-founded the Transpecies Society, an association that gives voice to people with non-human identities, defends the freedom of self-design and offers the creation of new senses and new organs in community.

Dr. Anders Sandberg is senior research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at the University of Oxford. His research at the FHI centres on management of low-probability high-impact risks, societal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement, estimating the capabilities of future technologies, and very long-range futures. Topics of particular interest include global catastrophic risk, existential risk, cognitive enhancement, methods of forecasting, neuroethics, SETI, transhumanism, and public policy. He is a fellow for Ethics and Values at Reuben College, Oxford. He is senior Oxford Martin fellow, and research associate of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, the Center for the Study of Bioethics (Belgrade), the Institute of Future Studies (Stockholm) and archivist for the UK SETI Research Network. He is on the advisory boards of a number of organisations and often debates science and ethics in international media.

Anders has a background in computer science, neuroscience and medical engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University, Sweden, for work on neural network modelling of human memory.

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