Popular Culture and Biotechnology
Myths and stories reflect popular hopes and anxieties, and in turn shape the attitudes of each new generation. The biopolitics around emerging technologies, human enhancement, longevity, robots and AI, chimeras, and so on, have been profoundly shaped by the bioconservative tropes of Frankenstein, Brave New World and Gattaca. There are very few depictions of moral or attractive humans who choose to live a long time or enhance their intelligence. Yet SF, fantasy and horror images have become part of mainstream culture, with increasingly positive depictions of vampires, cyborgs and robots. To what extent do contemporary television, film and literature reflect a positive trend in the depiction of the “intelligent Other”? Do examples of normalized depictions of human enhancement portend a shift in public attitudes?
Hughes, James. “Posthumans and Democracy in Popular Culture,” Handbook of Posthumanism in Film and Television (forthcoming).
Hughes, James. “Imagining Technology,” Nesta Working Paper (March 2013).