Futurist and transhumanist humour

Mr Burns has plans

Futurist and transhumanist humour can describe jokes, memes and media either about, or by transhumanists or similar futuristic scenarios.


Dilbert gets it
You wouldn't download a Lucy Liu

Transhumanists are, and are often portrayed as geeky technophiles. More recently the likes of Elon Musk and Peter Thiel has associated the idea with eccentric billionaires and often cryonics. Cryonics, or 'head in a jar' caricatures are well established in the likes of Futurama. Similarly, the idea of post-cryonic technological reconstruction of the body lends itself to Frankenstein-eque parodies.

AI and Robotics

The increased interest in robotics has spawned communities on Reddit such as /r/shittyrobots dedicated to making light of poorly designed, useless or otherwise underwhelming robotic devices.

Headlines like "After escaping its creators a second time, Russian robot’s final destination may be scrap heap"[1] are designed to elicit comparisons with Skynet from Terminator and other AI uprising tropes.

It's a self-driving golf-club!


Communities such as Less Wrong have an entire set of futurist memes based on ideas such as the paperclip maximiser[2] such as "can you imagine an universe tiled with nothing by X"?

Referencing "the heat death of the universe"[3] has made its way into common conversations to mean "never, ever" along with other references to existential risks.

All this can be experienced via the Hanson vs Yudkowsky debate simulator!


Transhumanism and futurism is by no means universally respected. Those who believe the existential risk from the likes of AI and nanotechnology is overstated may mock those who either appear to fear scenarios more similar to outlandish science fiction than serious predictions.

Much, but not all of the Transmetropolitan series makes light of, but is critical of a dystopian transhumanist future.

This YouTube sketch for instance, equates transhumanism to naive wish-fulfilment fantasy, similar to the "special snowflake" meme.[4]


With futurist style transhumanist conversations growing in popularity, occasionally this trope may be subverted. For example in this segment of Questionable Content,[5] the pseudo-future of the universe which contains household AI is contrasted against a more contemporary portray of transgenderism.

Back in 1997 The Onion ran an article on "World Death Rate Holding Steady At 100 Percent" which still holds true today.[6]

See also