Feminism and transhumanism

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Feminism and transhumanism are contemporary intersectional topics of discussion due to a possible under representation in the movement.

Contemporary positions

Transhumanism has an established following and support from transgender individuals in the context of postgenderism. Notable individuals include entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt and activist Khannea Suntzu

A 2016 Pew survey suggested that woman are often less interested in life extension than men, except where it also incorporates health benefits.[1][2] The Life Extension Advocacy Foundation's Elena Milova empathises the health and care-mitigation benefits of life extension tech often of increased interest for women.[3]

Cyberfeminism

Donna Haraway's 1984 A Cyborg Manifesto provided the foundations of cyberfeminism, intertwining the technological promise of technological postgenderism feminist critique of patriarchal structures.[4]

Monsters have always defined the limits of community in Western imaginations ... Transhumanists point to the pinnacle of what it believes humanity could become; where it might be going, and asks, "why not?" and "how do we get there?" Cyberfeminists (and postmodernists in general) look at the abject, the debased, the grotesque and the marginalized and ask "why is it so? How did this become the fringe?

The modern cyberfeminist movement emerged in 1991 under the name VNS Matrix until the early 2000's, producing a variety of media for digital and online distribution.[5][6]

Areas

Intersectionality and economics

Deathism is sometimes related to feminism

In 2016 author Charlotte Shane has expressed at length her concerned that transhumanism and life extensionism is only of interest to cis-gendered white men in "Life extension technology gives us a bleak future: more white men".[7]

Intersectional feminist author and columnist Laurie Penny's 2016 book Everything Belongs to the Future[8][9] features a future Britain plagued with the author's concerns, elite-controlled life extension drugs, an oppressive police state and runaway social and economic inequality in a kind of a patriarchal oligarchy.

Signs of such politicisation of the technological singularity have been compared to the premature and sometime problematic embrace of climate changes by political activists.[10]

Immortalism

Author Dara Horn released Eternal Life: A Novel[11] in 2018 tells the story of a multi-thousand year old woman who finds today's 21st century obsessed with immortality and the implications it brings. Horn's op-ed in the New York Times is highly critical of figures such as Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley longevity advocates, whilst optimistically suggesting that newly health-obsessed men will be a positive feminising influence on the world.[12] Science writer Ronald Bailey responds, critical of this gendered approach to life extension.[13]

Artificial intelligence

There is a strong pattern to voice automated announcements[14] and later artificial assistants with female voices[15] with some concerningly sexist implications.[16] Academic Kathleen Richardson suggest weaker disembodied voices are more frequently portrayed as female in contrast to more sophisticated male robots.[17]

Writer Gray Scott describes the character of AVA from Ex Machina as "the ultimate feminist. Strong, brilliant, and powerful.", praising the portrayal of powerful feminine super-emotional-intelligence over weaker portrayed characters such as Rachel in Blade Runner.[18]

Sexuality

Sex robots are unwelcome developments for some feminists, possible no more so than feminist academic Kathleen Richardson who founded the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

External links

References

  1. Intrinsic Resistance to the Idea of Life Extension or Wrong Messaging?
  2. Great Desire for Extended Life and Health amongst the American Public
  3. An Aging Population: Why Women Can Benefit The Most From Rejuvenation Technologies
  4. On the Importance of Being a Cyborg Feminist
  5. 'We Are the Future Cunt': CyberFeminism in the 90s
  6. An Oral History of the First Cyberfeminists
  7. https://splinternews.com/life-extension-technology-gives-us-a-bleak-future-more-1793857274
  8. https://www.tor.com/2016/06/10/excerpts-everything-belongs-to-the-future-laurie-penny/
  9. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Belongs-Future-Laurie-Penny/dp/0765388286
  10. Apocalypse not now but the fate of civilisation is in our hands
  11. https://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Life-Novel-Dara-Horn/dp/0393608530
  12. The Men Who Want to Live Forever
  13. Is Immortality Gendered?
  14. Why Do So Many Digital Assistants Have Feminine Names?
  15. Few good men: Why is the growing population of AI voices predominantly female?
  16. Siri and Cortana Sound Like Ladies Because of Sexism
  17. Rise of the Fembots: Why Artificial Intelligence Is Often Female
  18. Ex Machina's Ava Is a Feminist AI