Annelin Eriksen: "Digital Immortality and the Kinning of AI: Transhumanism and Technoscience in the US"

The Departmental Seminar Series features Annelin Eriksen, Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen.

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This seminar will be a hybrid event where the presenter will be presenting in person and the talk will be streamed via zoom. Those who want to attend physically are more than welcome to join us in meeting room 512 at Gullhaug torg 1.

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In this paper I will present my current ethnographic work on transhumanism and technoscientific immortality projects in the US, highlighting the digital variants of eternal life ranging from online companions and avatars to projects of mind-cloning and mind-upload. The case of Bina48, the African American humanoid created by the Terasem movement, will be presented as the main case from which we might outline a theory of the transhuman.

As an optic I look at the transhuman capacity for the social. I argue that whereas the blood relationship was, and often still is, seen as the primary cultural construct of American kinship, we can observe a shift, particularly visible among digital immoralists and transhumanists towards the notion that “minds are deeper than matter”, as opposed to “blood is thicker than water”. I discuss whether this shift can be seen as significant also for a general social development in the US, in the age of digital sociality.  


Published Aug. 12, 2022 11:42 AM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2022 9:57 PM