The Role, Influence, and Demand of Pedagogies in the Age of Transhumanism: Critical Reflections

The Role, Influence, and Demand of Pedagogies in the Age of Transhumanism: Critical Reflections

Pradeep Kumar Misra (Chaudhary Charan Singh University, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8431-5.ch011

Abstract

Whether pedagogies play a role in the age of transhumanism is a question that has no certain answers. There are some who say that pedagogies do not play any role in transhumanism while some say that pedagogies appear to play a role in this movement. Agreeing to the later observation, this chapter proposes that pedagogies have a relationship with transhumanism and will play a very important role in the transhumanistic societies of the future. Extending these arguments and observations, present paper assesses the role, influence and demand of pedagogies in the age of transhumanism. In this quest, present chapter: defines pedagogy and discusses its importance; enumerates the relationship between pedagogy and transhumanism; analyses the role of pedagogies in the age of transhumanism; looks upon the influence and demand of pedagogies in the age of transhumanism; and predicts the future of pedagogies in transhumanistic societies.
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Background

Transhumanism is a movement that aims to change humankind by using technical means. This change is intended be a change for the better (Damberger, 2013). Max More, the philosopher and founder of the Extropy Institute, describes transhumanism as a life philosophy, a broad intellectual and cultural movement (More, 2013). This movement includes various scientific disciplines, such as NBIC technologies (nanotechnology, biotechnology, IT and cognitive sciences). In addition to scientific disciplines, the social sciences also play an important role in the transhumanist movement (Vinge, 2013). Transhumanism is rooted in an optimistic belief that technology can help to improve humans and make their everyday lives better and more enjoyable. In the words of Trippett (2018):

It is rooted in the belief that humans can and will be enhanced by the genetic engineering and information technology of today, as well as anticipated advances, such as bioengineering, artificial intelligence, and molecular nanotechnology. The result is an iteration of Homo sapiens enhanced or augmented, but still fundamentally human.

According to More, transhumanism should be guided by life-promoting principles and values (More, 1990). Transhumanism is intended to support human beings to improve on many aspects ranging from physical to mental, as observed by Kimel (2016):

A willingness to empower more people than ever before to be born healthy, intelligent and able to devote long and meaningful lives to love, leisure and lifelong education is, to me, transhumanism at its best- an antidote to postmodern malaise.

These observations let us to propagate that technologies and our ability to select and use them with caution will go hand in hand to maximize the benefit of this movement, as noted by Lilley (2013,p.5), “Even though artifacts are made of different stuff than you and I, they are of the social world. Design and implementation are affected by social, economic, and political decisions.” Considering this complex relationship between men and machine, the role of education becomes very important for transhumanism, as argued by Thomas (2017):

Transhuman possibilities urgently call for a politics with more clearly delineated and explicit humane values to provide a safer environment in which to foster these profound changes. Where we stand on questions of social justice and environmental sustainability has never been more important. Technology doesn’t allow us to escape these questions – it doesn’t permit political neutrality. The contrary is true.

The other notable argument is that understanding transhuman settings as systems of co-creation and co-evolution between humans and technological artefacts can be informed by learning principles. Besides, it is also expected that self-emergent behavior and mutual learning processes will be helpful to implement co-creation and co-evolving systems (Stary, 2017). Therefore, it can be argued that we need a distinctly and differently educated society to understand the concept of transhumanism and have a mindset and behaviour to judiciously and morally use it for betterment of human race. And when we talk about educating a society, the role of pedagogy becomes more than important. Extending this argument, one can say that pedagogies have to play a very unique and important role in the age of transhumanism. Before discussing further on this issue, let’s try to understand that what does pedagogy means and why it is so important?

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