In both the Transhumanism and the Neo-Luddism movements, what we see portrayed or discussed in the media are often extreme examples.
So with such an extreme dichotomy in the way we discuss these two differing approaches to life, my questions turned towards the principles of each movement. My interest is with how each philosophy affects ones happiness, and so my research turns towards the day-to-day experiences of Transhumanists and Neo-Luddites.
The principles of Transhumanism, on a basic level, are to use technology to enhance human experience. “Transhumanists recognize that their bodies are a kind of machine – one that can be studied, understood and subjected to hacks.” – Dvorsky, 2008
For some Transhumanists, it’s a solid 3 minutes of taking vitamins to extend, using smartphones to enhance efficiency, using recording devices to make up for a lack of memory power. For others, it’s bio-hacking with implantable chips or designer drugs.
The Notes Toward a Neo-Luddite Manifesto point out a few simple principles of a modern approach to Neo-Luddism. First, hat it is not anti-technology, but “opposed to the kind of technologies that are, at root, destructive of human lives and communities.” Secondly, it recognises that all technology is political, that is “consciously structured to reflect and serve specific powerful interests in specific historical situations.”
In the day-to-day, this might mean refusing to use social media, or even just having scheduled device-free hours, or buying handmade or locally grown produce instead of going to supermarkets.
For my project, I aim to create a transmedia project that will reflect the daily experiences of each group. This format is most suitable to accommodate both philosophies in a way that can still be presented easily as an assessment task.