Event: Humanity and technology: around post / trans / humanism

Event: Humanity and technology: around post / trans / humanism

Since the industrial revolution, technological innovations have gone hand in hand with an accelerated transformation of our lives and the concepts with which we think about what and who we are. In recent decades, advances in areas such as biotechnology or ICT have been linked to the emergence of rival narratives about the relationship between humanity and technology. The  “transhumanism” , a vision championed by figures in Silicon Valley as Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, and Elon Musk, defended has that  we use technology  to change our biological, cognitive and social constitution  to become more than human . More recently,  “technological humanism”Has underlined an inverse urgency, not the need to technologize the human but to  humanize technology , introducing the ethics and values ​​of humanism in its midst,  to prevent it from destroying us . This second position brings together public figures ranging from some renegades from Silicon Valley to local intellectuals such as José María Lasalle, Secretary of State for Telecommunications with Mariano Rajoy and author of a book on the subject. 

Based on these visions, it is a matter of building  medium and long-term political-economic agendas.  While transhumanism seems to triumph among actors linked to large technology companies and investment funds (particularly American ones), technological humanism is beginning to translate into collaboration strategies between public actors, such as the central government and the Barcelona City Council, and private actors. , like those gathered each year around the Mobile World Congress.  

Both transhumanism and technological humanism have their roots in one of the great narratives of modernity:  humanism , which habitually placed the  human being  (especially, the white man, cultured and proprietor)  as a measure , if not the foundation and ultimate goal, of reality. Faced with this tradition and its two technologized and opposite successors, in recent decades “posthumanisms” have proliferated  , a diverse constellation that includes critical positions of the humanist vision (usually marked by anthropocentrism and essentialism) around the human and its relationship with technologies, other living beings and reality itself. 

In this second session of the Sociotechnical Conceptualization Vector, led by the researcher Antonio Calleja-López ( CNSC / Tecnopolitica ), we will explore, in an exploratory way, these different positions. We will do it in three steps: first, we will go through key milestones of the  humanist tradition , from Protagoras and Terence to Sartre and Grassi; then we will review the positions of transhumanism and technological humanism, which arise and diverge from that tradition; thirdly, we will review and rehearse different reflections on  posthumanisms. 

This session will have two fundamental approaches. First, there will be a tour focused on the  history of ideas and culture  (supported by works ranging from philosophy and literature to art and science, technology and society studies). Second, a critique from political economy will be outlined  . The objective will be to explore both some of the conceptual nuances of these narratives and some of their economic, ecological, political and social dimensions.

Materials of interest

Photo: The Vector