For Immediate Release
8 February 2010

Melissa Lamar
860.773.1407 (office)

Talk on Democratic Transhumanism at Tunxis


Tunxis Community College invites the public to Don’t Fear the Future: Democratic Transhumanism and Empowerment through Technology,” a free talk by James J. Hughes, Ph.D., author, sociologist and bioethicist, on February 18 at 7 p.m. in Room 6-127. Pizza, cookies and beverages will be served.

While developments in science and technology have led to advances such as bionic parts and the engineering of human DNA, are we ready as a society to embrace these innovations? Hughes will share his views on tranhumanism—the belief that technology contains the key to challenging what many once assumed were limitations natural to being human, such as a fixed lifespan or acceptance of inborn physical and mental strengths and weaknesses. While this transhumanist perspective can itself heighten anxieties about an uncertain future and cause some people to question the foundations of their assumed purpose in life, not all transhumanist philosophers emphasize the public concerns that pushing our “mortal” boundaries can trigger. Hughes will discuss in detail how he believes advocates of democratic transhumanism can help the average citizen tell the difference between the true risks that go along with advances in robotics, biotechnology, and related fields—and irrational phobias about the future. With legal safeguards and other protections, Hughes will share his views on how ordinary individuals and families can be empowered rather than threatened by these new discoveries, and why transhumanist philosophers aim to keep special interests from creating a monopoly of access to these innovations. 

Hughes teaches health policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where he serves as associate director of Institutional Research and Planning. He authored the book “Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future,” and is working on a second book tentatively titled “Cyborg Buddha.” Hughes also serves as the executive director of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, a technoprogressive think tank he founded in 2005. Since 1999, he has produced a syndicated weekly radio program, “Changesurfer Radio,” on the air Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. on 91.7 WHUS-FM, Storrs.

The lecture is one of a series of talks on philosophy and the history of ideas. For more information, or in the event of inclement weather, call 860.773.1603 or 255.3500, or email Visit Tunxis at Tunxis is located at the junction of Routes 6 and 177 in Farmington.