“This is not your standard dystopian science fiction fare. Rather than a typical story propelled by psychologically flawed characters—bent on pitting their ‘all too human’ impulses for coercion and conquest against one another—this is a tale of what humanity might achieve if it could rid itself of its self-destructive, aggressive tendencies.”
These words form part of a “warning/guarantee” printed on the back cover of the forthcoming new book Even God Herself by transhumanist writer Chris T. Armstrong.
The “warning/guarantee” continues:
“The protagonist and her co-conspirators strive to manifest the optimistic sentiment of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek: ‘We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature. We’re still being nasty to each other around the world, and all children go through those phases. But when we grow up, man, we are going to be something.’ In this sense, Even God Herself is humanity’s ‘coming of age’ story.”
Humanity Unshackled co-hosts Rusty Burridge and David Wood recently asked Chris about his hopes and plans for this book. As you can hear, a fascinating conversation developed.
Here’s a selection of the topics covered:
- Why Chris chose Even God Herself as the title of the book
- “Virtue engineering” / “Brain state modulation enhancement”
- The risks if various human enhancements happen “in the wrong order”
- Godwin’s Law and discussions of transhumanist technologies
- Swati’s Law: whenever massively transformative new technologies are discussed, people sooner or later express fears that they will be exploited or enslaved by rich psychopaths who abuse these technologies
- The concept of “hyperutopian” fiction
- Is transhumanism too naïve about various psychological states? Might there be method in apparent human madness?
- There’s more to a good life than 100% bliss
- The possibility of using high-fidelity simulations to investigate in advance the potential consequences of specific brain state modifications
- Hopes for what the book will accomplish
- Authors who inspire Chris: fiction and non-fiction
- A secret fantasy about the future (not-so-secret any more…)
- What a successor to ChatGPT might do with Even God Herself in three years time
- Competition vs. collaboration among futurist authors
To listen to this episode, click on the audio player at the top of this page.
Alternatively, listen to this episode on Soundcloud, or visit the corresponding Radio Hydrogen page.
To dig more deeply into some of the ideas in this episode:
- James Hughes, Executive Director of the IEET (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies)
- Prof Steve Fuller, frequent writer on transhumanism
- The Black Mirror episode San Junipero
- The author SB Divya and her novels Machinehood and Meru
- The author Octavia Butler
- The author Elise Bohan and her book Future Superhuman
- A list of the most downloaded London Futurists videos from 2022
Depicted above: the lead character in Only God Herself, Swati Mohan Shinneman, as featured on the book’s front cover, drawn by Gabriel Ewing and Tyler Pickert.
Chris T. Armstrong, a former software engineer, now writes about transhumanism and related topics. His nonfiction work includes At Any Cost: A Guide to The Transhumanist Wager and the Ideas of Zoltan Istvan and a chapter in The Transhumanism Handbook, published by Springer and edited by Newton Lee. His transhumanism-related essays have been published by IEET, Humanity Plus Magazine, and the India Future Society, among others.
Chris studied computer science at Arizona State University, focusing on artificial intelligence, and ethnomusicology/systematic musicology at UCLA. He has a BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts in
For a complete listing of Humanity Unshackled episodes, see the Future Surge Media page.
Technology, Legals, and Australian FM Radio Network Liaison: Chris John Doe.
Music: “Far Away 6,” written and performed by Sean Anthony Brennan
Radio Hydrogen Artwork: Eleanor O’Donnell
Thanks also to Bob Evans and all at Tribe FM 91.1 Willunga.
Published on 5th February 2023.