Written by Alison Earnhart
This Summer, Explore the Growing Trend of Technological Human Enhancement
Transhumanism is a word that you may have never heard before, but odds are you’re probably already familiar with some of its many manifestations in our modern culture. Google Glass and Fitbits are wearable technologies that allow us to stay more connected with the world and even capture data to monitor our unique biological functions.
Amazon is preparing to deliver packages directly to your door via flying drones. New designer drugs are unlocking hidden brain functions and are being used (and abused) by soldiers, students and housewives alike. Transhumanism is the ever-increasing merging of technology with ourselves on a personal, cultural and species-wide level. As technology progresses at an ever faster pace, how will we cope with the ability to augment ourselves, our surroundings, and almost every part of our daily lives?
As teachers and administrators of Consortium schools, our students are the very best and brightest of their generation. Millennials already are quickly adapting to the latest tech and gadgets, and our students are on the forefront of learning and using cutting-edge science and engineering in our classrooms. But do they know how to use it wisely? Are we teaching our students the social, political and even spiritual ramifications of inviting technology to become ever more intimately integrated into our lives? Are we even prepared to have these kinds of discussions with our students?
This summer, Juniata College (one of the esteemed “Colleges that Changes Lives”) is hosting a week-long academic conference on transhumanism, July 26-31. The conference speakers and presenters group boasts a long list of internationally acclaimed professionals and academics from all realms of transhuman studies such as wearable technologies, haptics and human-robotic interactions, biological and cognitive enhancement and bioethics, and the moral, political and societal implications of human enhancement. This exciting worldwide gathering, Our Transhuman Futures, is open to the general public, and the coordinators are extending a very special invitation to educators and high school students to join the dialogue!
Are you tackling the issues of technology use and integration in your classroom? Are your students working on research or projects that can directly relate to transhumanism? Are you or your students curious about the future of how humanity utilizes science and technology? Consider attending or even presenting at Our Transhuman Futures. Visionary high school students who submit proposals for papers, workshops, or presentations qualify for a chance to receive a full-registration scholarship. Attending high school teachers can receive 40 hours of professional development credit (Act 48 in Pennsylvania).
Our students in the Consortium will go on to be future leaders in every aspect of society, from science and industry to politics and business. If we are to truly equip them with the necessary skills for thriving in the 21st century, we must be addressing the issues that transhumanism raises. Our Transhuman Futures is a very unique conference that has much to offer for educators like us and our students. I hope to see you there this summer!
Follow Alison Earnhart on Twitter @STEMpireQueen.