September 15, 2004

Hughes's "Citizen Cyborg" available for pre-sale

WTA executive director James Hughes's book, "Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future," is weeks away from release and now available for pre-sale on Amazon.

Description from the publisher:
In the next fifty years, life spans will extend well beyond a century. Our senses and cognition will be enhanced. We will have greater control over our emotions and memory. Our bodies and brains will be surrounded by and merged with computer power. The limits of the human body will be transcended as technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering converge and accelerate. With them, we will redesign ourselves and our children into varieties of posthumanity.

This prospect is understandably terrifying to many. A loose coalition of groups-including religious conservatives, disability rights and environmental activists-has emerged to oppose the use of genetics to enhance human beings. And with the appointment of conservative philosopher Leon Kass, an opponent of in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research and life extension, to head the President's Council on Bioethics, and with the recent high-profile writings by authors like Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben, this stance has become more visible-and more infamous-than ever before.

In the opposite corner a loose transhumanist coalition is mobilizing in defense of human enhancement, embracing the ideological diversity of their intellectual forebears in the democratic and humanist movements. Transhumanists argue that human beings should be guaranteed freedom to control their own bodies and brains, and to use technology to transcend human limitations.

Identifying the groups, thinkers and arguments in each corner of this debate, bioethicist and futurist James Hughes argues for a third way, which he calls democratic transhumanism. This approach argues that we will achieve the best possible posthuman future when we ensure technologies are safe, make them available to everyone, and respect the right of individuals to control their own bodies.

Hughes offers fresh and controversial answers for many other pressing biopolitical issues-including cloning, genetic patents, human genetic engineering, sex selection, drugs, and assisted suicide-and concludes with a concrete political agenda for pro-technology progressives, including expanding and deepening human rights, reforming genetic patent laws, and providing everyone with healthcare and a basic guaranteed income.

A groundbreaking work of social commentary, Citizen Cyborg illuminates the technologies that are pushing the boundaries of humanness-and the debate that may determine the future of the human race itself.
Here aresome interesting editorial reviews:
"A challenging and provocative look at the intersection of human self-modification and political governance. Everyone wondering how society will be able to handle the coming possibilities of AI and Genomics should read Citizen Cyborg." (Dr. Gregory Stock, author of Redesigning Humans)

"A powerful indictment of the anti-rationalist attitudes that are dominating our national policy today. Hughes brings together ideas from religion, history, science, bioethics, and politics in a unique way. The book sparkles with insights, challenges, and new ways of looking at the problems our society is facing today. He is a worthy guide to a more humane future." (John Lantos M.D., author of Do We Still Need Doctors)

"James Hughes is a sober, insightful, useful and optimistic thinker about the astonishing changes in store for human nature. Citizen Cyborg is an important contribution to the rapidly moving debate on human enhancement." (Joel Garreau, author of While God Wasn't Watching: The Future of Human Nature)

"A fascinating tour of the coming intersection of politics, nanotechnology, and biology, by the leading champion of Transhumanism. Anyone who wants to understand the tumultuous bio-politics of the next decade should read this book." (Gregory Pence, author of Who's Afraid of Human Cloning, Professor, Philosophy and School of Medicine, University of Alabama Medical School.)

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