JCU Hosts 9th Beyond Humanism Conference

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Beyond Humanism Conference Keynote Speaker Sven Helbig

Beyond Humanism Conference Keynote Speaker Sven Helbig

From Wednesday, July 19 to Saturday, July 22, 2017, John Cabot University hosted the 9th edition of the Beyond Humanism Conference, which was inaugurated by JCU President Franco Pavoncello. The international conference was organized by JCU Philosophy Professor Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Sangkyu Shin (Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul), Evi Sampanikou (University of the Aegean), Francesca Ferrando (NYU, New York), and Jaime del Val (Reverso-Metabody, Madrid). The team was locally supported by Brunella Antomarini, Claudia Canovai, Fabrizio Conti, Carole Guesse, and Virginia Silvestri.  The topic of this edition was “Posthuman Studies – Humanities, Metahumanities, Posthumanities.” Posthuman Studies analyses what it is to be human in an age of rapid technological, scientific, cultural and social evolution.

Watch the video summary of the 9th Beyond Humanism Conference. Download the conference programme.

The conference, which featured over 120 experts and researchers from all over the world, tackled themes such as the consequences of enhancement, especially bioenhancement, transhumanist, and posthumanist accounts of “the human,” and any and all ways in which they impact culture and society. Transhumanism aims to develop technologies that eliminate aging and enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities, in order to transcend the human condition. Presentations and installations focused on the figure of the cyborg, the pursuit of “amortality” (the disappearance of death from natural causes), the rise of artificial intelligence, and more.

Metatopia 4.0: Algoricene, a live performance by Spanish media artist Jaime del Val

Metatopia 4.0: Algoricene, a live performance by Spanish media artist Jaime del Val

The Beyond Humanism Conference also featured artistic performances, such as Metatopia 4.0: Algoricene (a live performance by Spanish media artist Jaime del Val), and a concert by German contemporary composer and keynote speaker for the conference Sven Helbig. Bibop Gresta, founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company which seeks to make the concept of the hyperloop envisioned by Elon Musk in 2013 a reality, made the closing remarks of the conference.

During the conference, JCU Professor Stefan Lorenz Sorgner also launched the Journal of Posthuman Studies, a fully peer reviewed, multidisciplinary journal developed to analyze what it is to be human in an age of rapid technological, scientific, cultural, and social evolution. The launch addresses were given by JCU Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs  Mary Merva as well as ground-breaking high-tech entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt.

The Editorial Board of the Journal of Posthuman Studies consists of many world-leading scholars, thinkers, artists, and intellectuals, and it is the first journal in the world which is dedicated to the posthuman e.g.:
Karen Barad, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States
Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Steve Fuller, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Katherine Hayles, Duke University, United States
Eduardo Kac, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, United States
Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Stelarc, Curtin University, Australia
Gianni Vattimo, University of Turin, Italy
Kevin Warwick, Coventry University, United Kingdom
Wolfgang Welsch, University of Jena, Germany
Cary Wolfe, Rice University, United States

Post Humanism conference attendees . (photo credit: Andrew Webb-Ellis)

Posthumanism conference attendees . (photo credit: Andrew Webb-Ellis)

Professor Sorgner, a member of JCU’s faculty since 2016, is one of the world’s leading post- and transhumanist philosophers. He is director and co-founder of the Beyond Humanism Network, Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), Visiting Fellow at the Ethics Centre of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and Research Fellow at the Ewha Institute for the Humanities at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.