March 23, 2006

TTA meeting round-up for March 22, 2006

Last night the Toronto Transhumanist Association (TTA) held an introductory talk on transhumanism at the University of Toronto. It was the first meeting organized by the TTA in over year, marking the first of many such events planned for the coming months.

We had 25 attendees at the talk, most of them U of T students. There were 18 men and 7 women, which was encouraging as it has been difficult to get women to come out in the past. There were both new and familiar faces at the talk. TTA vice-president, Simon Smith, was also present.

The backgrounds of those in attendance were diverse as usual; in attendance were computer programmers, humanists, life extensionists, science students, bioethics students, artists, and others.

We were also fortunate to have Pablo Stafforini present. Pablo has organized a transhumanist group in Argentina and is currently working towards a PhD in Toronto. He generously agreed to give a talk at a future TTA event and we are certainly looking forward to that.

Humanists and atheists were particularly well represented yesterday. In attendance were leaders from three humanist organizations: the Humanist Association of Toronto, The Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph Humanist Association and Toronto's Secular Alliance. At the end of the meeting we all met and agreed that inter-group networking was something we should all work towards. We found many commonalities in our groups and agreed that we should collaborate in cross-group events.

As for the presentation itself, I gave an introductory talk about transhumanism, introducing key scientific, philosophical and futurist concepts and describing historical, political, and socio-cultural precedents. I also briefly discussed the history of the World Transhumanist Association (WTA) and the TTA.

Many attendees knew very little about transhumanism and were curious to learn more. In some cases, individuals familiar with transhumanism brought friends and family members to the event. We were successful in attracting a number of new people by hitting a number of lists, including archived membership lists and university lists (including the Secular Alliance and the Philosophy department at U of T). My thanks go out to Justin Trottier and Asher Maan for helping me organize the talk.

After my presentation I spoke about the TTA itself and offered ideas as to what the group should be about and what kind of activities it could be engaged in. I described organizing future talks, debates, social events, activism, and public outreach. Based on very positive responses, it’s fair to say that most of the group was interested in all the above. Several attendees also expressed interest in volunteering and helping with such work as administration and maintaining the TTA website. That being said, a couple of attendees openly expressed reservations or concerns about transhumanism in general.

It was encouraging to see so many enthusiastic people come out to the event – something that will certainly encourage me to organize future talks and activities.

If you'd like to learn more about transhumanism and the Toronto Transhumanist association, please contact me.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice write-up. The public outreach sounds like a good idea.