BG 077: Transhumanism and the Authentic Self

Episode Description:

“The longer our lives, the more we’ll have a chance to see that there’s no self living them.” – James Hughes

What is Transhumanism and how is it related to Buddhist practice? Will technology enable us to radically extend our lifespans, help us control our thoughts and emotions, and bring about the potential to upload our consciousness into virtual reality spaces? And if so, what are the deeper implications for our contemplative traditions. Will these advances actually support the deepening of wisdom? According to professor James Hughes, a Buddhist practitioner and leading voice in the Transhumanist movement, these advances will enable us to deconstruct the notion and experience we have of an “authentic self” and will support the development of happiness, and the cessation of suffering. Listen in to find out how…

This is part 1 of a three-part series. Listen to part 2, Cyborg Buddhas & Techno-Utopian Pure Lands! and part 3, Existential Threats and Risks: We Can’t Escape Impermanence!

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James Hughes

James Hughes Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the Associate Provost for Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning for the University of Massachusetts Boston. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he also taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Dr. Hughes is author of 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.