To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

Mark O'Connell / Feb 23, 2020
To Be a Machine Adventures Among Cyborgs Utopians Hackers and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death Meet the visionaries billionaires professors and programmers who are using groundbreaking technology to push the limits of the human body our senses intelligence and our lifespansOnce relegated t
  • Title: To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death
  • Author: Mark O'Connell
  • ISBN: 9780385540414
  • Page: 191
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Meet the visionaries, billionaires, professors, and programmers who are using groundbreaking technology to push the limits of the human body our senses, intelligence, and our lifespansOnce relegated to the fringes of society, transhumanism the use of technology to enhance human intellectual and physical capability is now poised to enter our cultural mainstream It has foMeet the visionaries, billionaires, professors, and programmers who are using groundbreaking technology to push the limits of the human body our senses, intelligence, and our lifespansOnce relegated to the fringes of society, transhumanism the use of technology to enhance human intellectual and physical capability is now poised to enter our cultural mainstream It has found adherents in Silicon Valley billionaires Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis Google has entered the picture, establishing a bio tech subsidiary aimed at solving the problem of aging.In To Be a Machine, journalist Mark O Connell takes a headlong dive into this burgeoning movement He travels to the laboratories, conferences, and basements of today s foremost transhumanists, where he s presented with the staggering possibilities and moral quandaries of new technologies like mind uploading, artificial superintelligence, cryonics, and device implants.A contributor to Slate, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine, O Connell serves as a sharp and lively guide to the outer limits of technology in the twenty first century In investigating what it means to be a machine, he offers a surprising, singular meditation on what it means to be human.
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    About "Mark O'Connell"

      • Mark O'Connell

        Mark O'Connell Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death book, this is one of the most wanted Mark O'Connell author readers around the world.

    233 Comments

    1. Flesh is a dead format Remember Krang He was an enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a disembodied brain who paraded around in a human shaped exo suit after his alien form had been destroyed Just a fun cartoon, right Well it may be closer to reality than we thought Shredder s pal might have been on to something.Mark O Connell s compelling new book examines the growing popularity of transhumanism The followers of this movement see the human body as obsolete They believe in using technology [...]


    2. In parts tongue and cheek, in parts chiliastic, in parts tech writing this book on transhumanism are the musings of an ordinary Joe if a creative writer can be considered an ordinary Joe on the technological apocalyptic movement The transhumanist really believes we can transcend the flesh via technology and solve death Of course, there are worries that the default path to Strong AI and the singularity probably means it will be our last invention and probably the destruction of the human race but [...]


    3. Nowadays technology is pervasive you are rarely than a few feet away from a smartphone or some sort of internet enabled device But there are some people out there who want to take it further, much, much further Not only do they want to embrace technology, but quite a few of them want to actually inhale it to change their bodies, improve their minds, maybe even become immortal These people are looking beyond humanity these people want to be transhuman.O Connell poses the question what is next fo [...]


    4. Flesh is a dead format.Death has interested philosophers and scientists alike Confronting it with modern medicine and making peace with this bitter truth of life are two principal ways of dealing with it Transhumanism is a movement that aims to push the boundaries of science to the extent of achieving immortality or at least a significantly long life Mark O Connel, makes a journalistic inquiry into the current form of this movement and explores ideas as radical as uploading of minds in computers [...]


    5. Absolutely brilliant a breathtaking read I ll be thinking about the ideas in this book so beautifully expressed and analyzed for a long, long time We exist, we humans, in the wreckage of an imagined splendor It was not supposed to be this way we weren t supposed to be weak, to be ashamed, to suffer, to die We have always had higher notions of ourselves The whole setup garden, serpent, fruit, banishment was a fatal error, a system crash We came to be what we are by way of a Fall, a retribution Th [...]


    6. Well written book covering a variety of topics The cost of cryogenically freezing one s head for example, or why a person might cut his own arm open to implant a computer into his flesh The author clearly has some misgivings about much of the subject matter that he covers, but he manages to do it thoroughly and fairly I would recommend reading this book if you want to have an idea of what the future may hold as technology forever changes the way we live.


    7. I really enjoyed this book that I discovered from reading best of lists for the year Had I previously given much thought to transhumanism Well, maybe an occasional news article on futurist thinking stemming from California where I spend a fair amount of time, but it was not a topic I followed.This Irish author covers the topic with research, conference attendance, interviews, crazy funny trips following Zoltan Istvan in his Immortality Bus and generally bringing fun to the topic whilst weighing [...]


    8. People really, really don t want to die Transhumanism aims to fix this, by extending life, or by somehow uploading your brain to a computer Sadly, all of the ideas in this short book remain science fiction, although the author talked to many people who passionately believe that death can be solved With apparently no real scientific support for their beliefs.Author Mark O Connell started out annoying me by proclaiming his belief in all the current doomsayer stuff the Sixth Mass Extinction Catastr [...]


    9. I recently read a lot of book involving transhumanism and the overcoming of our biology that obliges us to die This book is one of the most complete starting from implants, going trough brain emulation, Kurzweil and the sigularity, gives us a good and clear vision of what it is all about Interesting.Di recente l argomento transumanista sta salendo alla ribalta e con esso tutto quello che implica il superamento della nostra mortalit , quanto meno in termini biologici Questo libro mi sembra uno de [...]


    10. Freelance reporter Mark O Connell writes about the transhumanist movement in this book Essentially, he closely examines individuals who are interested in transcending biology through advances in technology, including cyborgs, utopians, hackers, and futurists O Connell really examines the attempts to surmount death through technology and the ideas that this fear of death are generating in particularly wealthy techno saavy class According to O Connell, transhumanism is a liberation movement advoca [...]


    11. Transhumanism is a field of belief and hope that, while small in membership and hard to define, has an outsized impact on what we imagine the future will be like, and how money is spent to create it Mark O Connell does an excellent job of highlighting the libertarian strain running through the heart of the movement The radical desire for complete individual control of destiny, the removal of limitations, and the enticing promise of being able to do anything Or, importantly, having the time to d [...]


    12. WOW I loved this book It is so rare to read a well written text from an outsider on a subject close to you, but Mark O Connell nailed it He tours the world and meets some of the biggest names in transhumanism and does so with a if I may say so British literary style He is cynical, skeptical, dry but also very curious and very, very human The book made me reflect on the tech ecosystems new infatuation with philosophy and the great questions One should casually share their views of our existence i [...]


    13. True story right after reading this, I picked up Homo Deus by Yuval Harari, and was so annoyed by the evangelical transhumanist zealotry I dropped it again after fifty pages Mark O Connell s tour along the back roads and thoroughfares of the transhumanist movement is at once humorous, thought provoking, and terrifying Not that I think change is bad, or impossible, but because O Connell makes it clear that those leading the change will have a huge impact on how it s framed and implemented, and ho [...]


    14. I liked his perspective Outside, looking in Quite confused by many of the trans humanist he met I guess that was a fun perspective, as it would be my own So the jokes and observations he felt, felt true to me I don t think he successfully conveyed the sincerity or belief of these folks, so I am sure they would hate this book The trans humanist seem like a fringe religion cult Kooks but then again, maybe they are.




    15. Mark O Connell writes this entertaining and thought provoking book about transhumanists not by reflecting on them in the abstract but by meeting, drinking, and travelling with them But the book is not neutral reportage, he injects his own thoughts and feelings A former English teacher, he s also good at making links with literature, religion, philosophy, and history The transhumanists who are out through technology to defeat death and bring superhuman capabilities to human beings are an entertai [...]


    16. A fascinating and terrifying look into the minds of the scientists and hobbyists who dream of a future in which machine and man meld into one From gruesome tales of guys hacking themselves up with implants to the scientific future of Google s Calico project, all life extension technologies are covered.I only wish the author had stood out of the way of his own novel His internal monologue and interjections are repetitive and, frankly, annoying when it halted the progress of what was otherwise an [...]


    17. I enjoyed the content, but not sure about the writing style It was like a diary of a journey into the transhumanism world I wasn t a fan of the sometimes crude language, which I didn t think matched the genre I was also sick of reading the word substrate Despite those criticisms I enjoyed the book.


    18. Shocking, moving, informative, engrossing, joyful and at times hilarious a personal look at the transhumanist movement


    19. themaineedge tekk tourIn a world where the growth of technology is exponential, the span of time between science fiction and science fact becomes increasingly shorter Things that seem like the height of speculative fantasy become commonplace in just a generation or two.That rapid expansion of scientific capability has led to the development of a subculture devoted to accelerating human evolution and ultimately conquering death itself through technological means These people, with varied ideas an [...]


    20. This book is about transhumanism To appreciate transhumanism, to understand it at a gut level, one must not accept the inevitability of death In the pre humanism world, in today s world, we embrace life saving medical technologies, but we believe that such technologies may save us from a life threatening disease, from dying from said disease, will delay our death, but not abolish our death And this is what is explored in this book, the abolition of so called natural death The author guides us in [...]


    21. Neither technology nor living are really my strong suits Which is probably why I found the premise of the book so interesting, and why I appreciated O Connell s own level of skepticism His journalistic roots are clear as the book follows the stories and moment of the people he encountered and less the technology or reality of the work being done or anticipated And while I didn t expect it to be a treatise or history, I did feel a desire for breadth, and analysis O Connell spend most of his ana [...]


    22. To Be A Machine is a fun jaunt through the world of transhumanism The author is unapologetically critical of transhumanists, but he also treats the subject of death and transhumanism with respect except where the characters are just manifestly absurd like the biohackers in Pittsburgh but how much consideration can you really give them A common theme is that transhumanists are afraid to die because they are extreme egotists and can t fathom not being around What s odd is that they criticize non t [...]


    23. There are some strange people out there Some want to freeze their heads when they die, others their whole bodies Then there are those who want to merge with a machine in some way, or otherwise enhance themselves as they would put it.They share a mechanistic view of the human condition that we are no than machines of flesh and blood ourselves, and that the workings of our brains are exactly analogous to those of a computer.Mark O Connell doesn t see things that way, but he goes amongst them with [...]


    24. I just finished To Be a Machine And scribbled this Some books come at you from a few different angles and demand to be read I saw the author do a reading from this book a few months ago, and then a friend borrowed a robot from our kids to shoot a promotion for the book, and then most importantly of all, I kept hearing how amazing it is And it is The writing is superb, not only when dealing with complex philosophical issues but even when just describing the people he meets Physically, he was an e [...]


    25. A fun book of ideas and interesting characters Mark O Connell visits with businessmen, theorists, scientists, politicians, and varying tinkerers in the emerging field of transhumanism trying to digitally outmaneuver death There are people who think the best approach is freezing the dead so they can be cured when we have the technology to do so There are people who think the best approach is digitally uploading the brain There are people who think we should be replacing or enhancing our bodies gr [...]


    26. A really enjoyable romp through the concept of Transhumanism I did not know very much about this movement or ideology but this book has given a whirlwind tour of the concepts and some of the personalities involved.O Connell is an engaging writer, some wry humour employed throughout helps to keep a sense of perspective Some have criticised this, but I felt it was important to stay grounded as the concept as scientifically serious it is, in some respects does lead to some very extreme and awkward [...]


    27. Looking through this book, I can understand I continually browse the new release shelves That reason is because authors like Mark O Connell present exciting new ideas to consider ahem, this is in the realm of science fiction and fantasy But I rarely have as thrilling new things come to me when I m meditating about the other genres, whatever they are There are other genres, right I d better check on that in the other window I think history and crime don t really count because that s still pretty [...]


    28. An absurd, humorous, often philosophical look at what it means to be human, facing death, in a new age of science and technology where anything seems possible If I had a critique of the book it s not acknowledging that while many of the claims of transhumanism will likely fall short, their ideas and vision will shape humanity in ways that could benefit mankind greatly or be used unwisely While this is hinted at, the book s main aim seems to be find the loudest, most outrageous voices to question [...]


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