Future Based’s ‘Sixty minutes back to the Future’ series is a new series in which we reflect on the bottlenecks and challenges of today’s society, and contemporary issues that have already been addressed by numerous philosophers, artists and scientists: What can we learn about the future by looking at history?

The structure of the lectures is as follows: In sixty minutes, an artist, designer, researcher, or scientist talks about her/his field of work and what theories and thinkers have influenced their work. We will then reflect on how these theories, ways of thinking, and researches are relevant for understanding the state of today’s society, what we can learn from them about the ‘now,’ and why it is relevant to involve our past in our speculations about the future.

The purpose of these webinars:

To leave you with a head full of questions and the eagerness to go and conduct research yourselves. Luckily, you will receive access to a document with reading suggestions and relevant texts at the end of the lecture.

A note: In these times of challenges of all sorts, we need to lend each other a helping hand. That’s why Future Based organises these webinars on a non-profit basis. This means that ticket sales go directly to the artist, designer or scientist. (Future Based is not subsidized by any means.)

Sixty Minutes Back to the Future with biohacker Peter Joosten: Ethics of human enhancement.

In the webinar ‘Ethics of human enhancement’ Peter Joosten explains the different philosophical ideas on improving human life with the use of science and technology. In these 60 minutes, he will discuss several scientists, intellectual authorities and authors and their view on upgrading the human species, and what visions they have for the future of homo sapiens.

Philosophers that will be discussed:

1. Professor Annelien Bredenoord (UMC Utrecht) and professor Maartje Schermer (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam). What are bioethics and medical ethics? What are thought-provoking topics like organoids and algorithms in healthcare?

2. Professor Julian Savulescu (Oxford University) and John Harriss (University of Manchester). Prominent advocates for the use of science and technology to upgrade the human species. What are their arguments?

3. Michael Sandel and Francis Fukuyama. Vocal opponents of the concept of human enhancement and human augmentation. What are their arguments?

4. Kevin Kelly and Koert van Mensvoort. Instead of focusing on individuals, is it possible that technology will connect us all to form a superorganism (Van Mensvoort) or a Technium (Kelly)? Or has this already happened?

Peter Joosten MSc. is a biohacker and future thinker. He investigates the impact of biohacking, human enhancement and transhumanism in his keynotes, articles and Youtube channel. Peter is the curator of the platform Superhuman Talks where he writes and interviews experts about the coming era of upgraded humans. He wrote the (Dutch) book ‘Biohacking’ about human enhancement and its implication on organizations, education and healthcare. He is a guest lecturer at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (master Human Technology Interaction) and an expert at the Next Nature Academy.

He finished his studies Journalism and Innovation Management at the Rijksuniversiteit of Groningen, the Netherlands. Peter was a student in the Biohack Academy 2019 class of the Waag Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the summer of 2019 he attended the School of Bioethics at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum and the Università Europea di Roma, Italy. In 2020 he studied science journalism in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Why are we organizing a lecture on the topic ‘Ethics of human enhancement’ right now?

We believe in the power of questioning. We believe in the comfort of philosophy.

Ethics have been a topic of philosophical investigation for many, many, many philosophers; Philosophers have investigated how new technologies are changing the meaning of ‘what it means to be human’– and the ethical issues related to the use of technologies. These questions should not merely address whether we should at all make use of technology, but instead should inquire into the profound relationship we have with it. Exactly now, in these times of globalization, where technology is in the limelight of our daily lives, where we are flooded with information and new disruptive inventions, it might be a relief to reflect on how technology, in relation to human enhancement, has been approached throughout history, to sort out our thoughts and uncertainties, understand the ‘now,’ and focus on the future.

Practical: When? The 28th of May 20:00 – 21:00 UTC Amsterdam. You will receive a ZOOM link after the purchase of your ticket (registration at Zoom required).

Banner: Dana Dijkgraaf / Text editor: Kees Muller