Final assignment: Transhumant technologies and Disability


 Ligia Toutant

 Final assignment: Transhumant technologies and Disability

I chose to create my artifact on the theme of transhumanism, which is part of week 4 –Redefining the human.

Bostrom (2002) contends that “Transhumanism does not entail technological optimism. While future technological capabilities carry immense potential for beneficial deployments, they also could be misused to cause enormous harm, rangng all the way to the extreme possibility of intelligent life becoming extinct.” Despite his opinion, I chose to look at the positive aspects of transhuman technologies that have the potential to help disabled people and augment human capabilities (e.g. lifespan, intellectual capacity, bodily functionality). However, I agree with Bostrom’s worries that transhumanism may widen social inequalities, may be a slippery slope with negative consequences for meaningful human relationships and ecological diversity. The material concern is a valid concern, but material inequalities are present anyway and will ever exist. I do not envision a more just world; I see a transformed world populated by cyborgs and transhumans where responsible use of science and technology creates choices and alternatives. Hailes (2011) states that there are many versions of transhumanism. According to Bostrom (2005) some conditions need to exist in order for transhumanist project to take place. These include:

  • The technological means necessary for venturing into the posthuman space should be made available to those who wish to use them, and that society should be organized in such a manner that such explorations can be undertaken without causing unacceptable damage to the social fabric and without imposing unacceptable existential risks.
  • Global security is the most fundamental and nonnegotiable requirement of the transhumanist project.
  • Technological progress needs to continue.
  • Wide access – everybody should have access to become posthuman.

Following the assessment criteria, I used, a picture of a transhuman and created links to documents, YouTube videos, my glogster and my blog.


Anonymous (n.d.) image-machine-interface-transhumanism.jpg. Retrieved February 19, 2013 from Mind Machine Interface, Mondolithic Studios (2010).

Bostrom, N. (2002). Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards. Journal of Evolution and Technology, 9.

Bostrom, N. (2003). Human Genetic Enhancements: A Transhumanist Perspective. Journal of Value Inquiry, Forthcoming.

Bostrom, N. (2005). Transhumanist Values. Retrieved February 22, 2013 from

Bostrom, N., et al. (1999). The Transhumanist FAQ.

Hayles, N K (2011) Wrestling with transhumanism. h-wrestling-transhumanism

 Assessment criteria

These are the elements peer markers will be asked to consider as they engage with your artefact. You should make sure you know how your work will be judged by reading these criteria carefully before you begin.

1. The artefact addresses one or more themes for the course –transhumanism (in the context of disability) and digital education

2. The artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course –the importance of digital literacy in educational settings

3. The artefact has something to say about digital education – YouTube Disrupting Class: Michael B. Horn at TEDxManhattanBeach. Being an educator in comparative and international education, I added to my artifact the article “System upgrade: realising the vision for UK education” (2012) EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme.

4. The choice of media is appropriate for the message –thinglink, glogster, YouTube, Internet sites on transhumanism, education, and my blog

5. The artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action Please leave comments.

#edcmooc Flickriver -week 3


There are many interesting things to read in this MOOC, but coping with quantity is overwhelming.  I managed to upload my picture in Flickriver, but I do not see it yet. I like so many things, but I do not know how to link them to my blog. There is a clear advantage for digital born people over digital immigrants or digital beginners like me 😦

I am doing my best and hope to overcome frustration.

Bloc 2 Being Human

“Man is the symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal inventor of the negative (or moralized by the negative) separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making goaded by the spirit of hierarchy (or moved by the sense of order) and rotten with perfection” Kenneth Burke, 1966.

Burke (1966) gives a definition of Man, but being human is associated with feelings and self-perceptions related to being human. From here one can ask what it means to be human in a digital culture. And what does that mean for education? Of course, these are rhetorical questions to guide analysis. But before one thinks of those questions, it is important to think of what is reality and what is truth. Reality in a digital culture takes shape through images in everyone’s mind. In Rene Magritte’s words “The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown [. . . ] An object never serves the same function as its image – or its name.” The imaginary life created out of pixels or with holograms is as real as the physical one because it is created by the mind. This may not be an absolute truth, but it may be a truth in a digital world.

Hence, how do we know the truth? Truth is an ideal state that one tends to reach, but is slippery. People rely on technological advances, judgment, and senses as well, to reach some type of truth, which rarely is absolute. Critical thinking skills are important for inferring and drawing conclusions, and these can be earned through all types of education: formal, non-formal, and informal.

The four video clips present images that make the viewer associate the notion of what it means to be human with feelings.

Film 1: Toyota GT86: the ‘real deal’ advert (1:01).  In a world made of pixels, humans are alienated and lack the feeling of being alive. This is a very somber image of a physical reality where “real” is hard to find, but wait. . . can real be a desire?. . . a strong desire may produce a stimulus that runs into the brain and generates or dispatches a feeling.  This is the brilliant idea of Toyota’s ad, which conveys that a material thing, a red sport car, is what makes one be alive and feel good. Depression maybe cured when one owns a Toyota car; being alive is linked to consumerism and once on this path it is hard to abandon it. Edith Piaf’s song “Non, je ne regrette rien” – “I do not regret anything” makes buying a Toyota car a sure thing.

Film 2: BT: heart to heart advert (0:40)., an Internet and phone provider, is telling consumers that their service is so good that it makes distance communication as real as face-to-face communication. The notion of “real conversation” is linked to face-to-face communication, which still ranks supreme among other types of conversations, but wait. . . technology got so much better that one may confuse the phone conversation with a face-to-face communication. Does it mean that consumers are dumb?

Film 3: World builder (9:16).  A man is recreating through holographic architecture an idyllic, utopian, peaceful life in which he can see his female lover. The world that he envisions is from the past. Buildings seem to be from the nineteenth-century, a fountain with a cupid angel, trees, birds, leaves blown away gently by a breath of wind –his lover –a Juliette like woman seems to be enchanted by the world he created and the flower put there for her. Like in the Toyota add, desire plays an important role. Desire creates feelings that make one feel human and alive. If the love for a car can be compared to the love for a woman, it is just a matter of taste.

Film 4: They’re made out of meat (7:20).  This film is dystopian in nature. My interpretation is as follows: in a diner called Victory, two extraterrestrials, one dressed in a suit and the other dressed in a red parade outfit with a fez, sit at a table and discuss how a sample of individuals made up of meat (whom I think are humans) were transported to a space ship. The man in suit tells the other that these individuals are not very bright; however they searched for life outside Earth for the last 100 years. He continued to say that the individuals were certainly made out of meat including their brains, because “they,” the extraterrestrials, got into these individuals’ brains and smoothed them out. The man in suit says: “I advise we erase the record and forget about the whole thing.” The other responds, “It is too cruel, but as you said who wants to meet meat.” The words “meet” and “meat” are homophones, and how they are used in this context helps create a repulsive sensation. The humans’ dream to meet out of space creatures transforms into a dystopian event in which extraterrestrials smooth humans’ brains so that they will remember only a dream. At another table there is a group of youngsters building houses of cards. The last scene takes place outside the diner; a man with a saxophone is playing a blues tune while a woman and a man are kissing.  The extraterrestrials look at this scene smiling. The encounter with out of space intelligence was fatal to humans similar to the Twilight Zone episode   “To Serve Mankind,” from 1962. However, what it means to be human is not only the material people are made up of, which is meat, but also their feelings and love for each other.

All four films depict being human as one being able to feel and have emotions.

See my glogster.