When the Matrix trilogy was published in the mid-1980s, it introduced to mass culture a number of post-human tropes about the conscious machines that have haunted our collective imaginaries ever since. This volume explores the social representations and significance of technological developments – especially AI and human enhancement – that have started to transform our human agency. It uses these developments to revisit theories of the human mind and its essential characteristics: a first-person perspective, concerns and reflexivity. It looks at how the smart machines are used as agents of change in the basic institutions and organisations that hold contemporary societies together, for example in the family and the household, in commercial corporations, in health institutions or in the military. Its main purpose is to enrich the ongoing public discussion of the social and political implications of the smart machines by looking at the extent to which they further digitalise and bureaucratise the world, in particular by asking whether they are used to develop techno-totalitarian societies that corrode normativity and solidarity.
1. Introduction: Digital Society’s Techno-totalitarian Matrix
Ismael Al-Amoudi and Emmanuel Lazega
2. What They Are Saying About Artificial Intelligence and Human Enhancement
3. Considering Artificial Intelligence Personhood
Margaret S. Archer
4. Post-Human Sociality: Morphing Experience and Emergent Forms
Andrea M. Maccarini
5. The Digital Matrix and The Hybridisation of Society
6. Stupid Ways of Working Smart? Colonising the Future Through Policy Advice
7. Anormative Black Boxes: Artificial Intelligence and Health Policy
Ismael Al-Amoudi and John S. Latsis
8. Swarm-Teams With Digital Exoskeleton: On New Military Templates For The Organizational Society
Until the most recent decades, natural and social science could regard the ‘human being’ as their unproblematic point of reference, with monsters, clones and drones were acknowledged as fantasies dreamed up for the purposes of fiction or academic argument. In future, this common, taken for granted benchmark will be replaced by various amalgams of human biology supplemented by technology – a fact that has direct implications for democracy, social governance and human rights, owing to questions surrounding standards for social inclusion, participation and legal protection. Considering the question of who or what counts as a human being and the challenges posed by anti-humanism, the implications for the global social order of the technological ability of some regions of the world to ‘enhance’ human biology, and the defence of humankind in the face of artificial intelligence, the books in this series examine the challenges posed to the universalism of humankind by various forms of anti-humanism, and seek to defend ‘human essentialism’ by accentuating the liabilities and capacities particular to human beings alone.