The Public Perception of the Ethics of Transhumanism

edited February 2015 in Everything else
Hey guys,

For my dissertation a few years back I decided to study the 'public perception of the ethics of transhumanism' - which I'm surprised they let me get away with seeing as it was a psychology degree! In the study, I basically interviewed a bunch of students in a focus group setting on what they thought of transhumanism - whether they'd heard of it and whether they felt certain technologies would be acceptable. I then analysed the results with qualitative analysis to see which themes came up regularly.

Unfortunately people didn't seem particularly warm to the whole idea of transhumanism, but what I found most interesting was the difficulty they had in defining it. The impression I got was that if the term could be broken down into smaller 'categories', the participants might have been more accepting of at least certain forms of enhancement and I thought as such that devising categories could help in future when governments undoubtedly start passing laws...

Anyway, after a failed attempt at selling the dissertation (I did sell one copy!) I've decided to give it away to any interested parties. You can read the full PDF here:

Would be very interested to hear what you guys think. Both about the dissertation, and about the issues that were raised in the focus groups. How could we maybe categorise different transhuman/biohacking methods?


  • I haven't had time to read the full thing, but I wanted to agree with you that there is a lot of stigma about this subject.  I think a lot of people just don't understand, and even fear, some of the more...out there people. 

    The saddest part?  Our culture truly accepts transhumanism within forms of entertainment! Some examples:
    Hercules (Turned into a God)
    The Matrix
    Star Wars (The Force!)
    Jackyl/Hyde (though this and similar may be why there exists so much stigma)
    Pretty much any superhero excluding Batman is modified in some manner

    Some cultures even embrace transhuman practices!  Like the culture that puts neck rings in children that will lengthen their necks

    We actually brought up implantable computing in my Game History class recently, and there was a lot of misunderstanding and fear towards this sort of thing...So I did a presentation that focused on popular culture in the past and present, as well as some future possibilities that tied back into Game History.

  • I disagree with your end conclusion, that legislation will be passed against transhumanism as it is.  But you are right, certain issues need to be separated from the term transhuman.  Like the social and political movements that claim to be transhumanist, Zero State being a notable example.  

  • Agreed, I find Zero State concerning... I even talked with Amon Kalkin.
    For a start, there is just one guy in charge of it, it is far from democratic, transhumanists value personal freedom too much to let any individual be in charge.
    The way Zero State talks about cell groups, political allegiance and donations makes it feel almost cultest.
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