Where philosophy meets technology – there’s transhumanism. We investigate some of the most fascinating and urgent ideas around today.
Writers Marco Vega and Peter Brietbart (that's us!) have shared a passion for philosophy since we first met at Sussex University five years ago. Over time, we became frustrated with the classical, removed armchair philosophy, and began to look for philosophically sophisticated ideas with real human impact. Transhumanism stood out as a practical, far-seeing, radical and urgent field, informed by science and guided by moral philosophy.
We soon realised that our philosophy buddies and lecturers had barely heard of it, though the ideas involved were exciting and familiar. The problem for us is that even though transhumanism is incredibly relevant, it's practically invisible in mainstream thought.
Influenced by YouTubers like QualiaSoup, 3vid3nc3, CGPGrey, RSA Animate, TheraminTrees, Vsauce, CrashCourse and many more, we saw that complex ideas can be made accessible, entertaining and educational.
Our dream is to make this project - the culmination of five years of thought, reflection and research - a reality.
We've just released the first video - PostHuman: An Introduction to Transhumanism. We made it over the course of a year, in volunteered time, paid with favours and fuelled by enthusiasm. Now we need your help to keep going.
PostHuman: A Video Series on Transhumanism
In the year 2014, we want to write, produce and release at least 6 more fully animated episodes. We’ll investigate a range of different transhumanist themes, consider their arguments in favour, highlight our greatest worries, and articulate what we perceive to be the most significant implications for humanity.
We're worried that such critical topics and concepts are not getting the coverage they need. Our aim for the video series is to bring awareness to the most important conversation humanity needs to be having, and to do it in a way that’s accessible, balanced and educational.
In addition to animating the ideas and concepts, we also want to seek out and challenge influential transhumanist thinkers. We'll record the interviews, and include the highlights at the end of the videos.
We’re looking to raise £65,000 to allow the production crew to make this happen.
We've gone through the budget many times to make sure we're asking for the right amount. We want to ensure extremely high quality animation, thorough research, clear audio, professional voice and a range of topics that are relevant, balanced and thought-provoking.
Your donations will pay for:
- Original animation and illustration built from scratch
- Production, direction, research and writing
- Essential production equipment
- Custom soundtracks and SFX for each episode
- Professional voice work and studio time
- Hours and hours of joyful editing
- High quality interviews with transhumanist thinkers (equipment, transport, etc)
- Kickstarter fees, taxes, costs, etc
Remember, it's Kickstarter policy that if we don't reach our funding goal, the money will not be debited from your account, so when you "pledge" you don't actually pay anything, you "promise" to pay when and if the project has enough backers. This means the system will automatically charge your account at the end of the funding period, if there are enough such "promises".
We believe that crowdfunded projects should let backers shape the project. You are making the project possible, and so we want to make the episodes that you want most. Every donor over £10 will have the opportunity to VOTE on future video topics and order of production.
We've drawn up a list of topics we'd like to make, and it is be up to you to decide which make the cut. If all goes to plan, we'll email you with further instructions and a link to the online poll.
We plan to release a new video every six weeks. We know we want to cover the Three Supers in depth, and they'll definitely be the first three episodes. As for the others... there's so much more we want to do! Here's a list of all the videos we'd like to make, but it's up to you to decide which ones are made in 2014:
Ep1: Biocoding and the Reproductive Revolution
Ep2: Forever Young - A World Without Ageing
Ep3: Supercomputers, Intelligence and the End of History
Ep4: Economics, Robotics and a Post-Scarcity World
- Extropianism and the Philosophical Foundations of Transhumanism
- Who Owns the Future? When Politics Meets Transhumanism
- Abolishing Suffering with Technology
- Future Sex, Robot Lovers and Morphological Transformation
- The Future of Exploration: The Matrix or Star Trek?
- Existential Risk and Avoiding the Apocalypse
- How to Live as a Transhumanist Today
We, The People
Mihai Badic - Lead Animator and Creative Director. AKA Many Artists Who Do One Thing, Mihai is an obscenely talented animator and designer whose ability is outmatched only by his dedication to the project. He brings 10 years of creative industry experience with him, with clients ranging from big multinational companies like DHL and Pepsi to smaller but more exciting ones, such as legendary independent record label Tru Thoughts.
Dino Kazamia - Editing, production, filming is one of the most reliable, productive and hard-working people we've ever met. His singular concentration and impeccable work ethic have meant that the project has been richer, crisper and more focused as a result.
Keita Lynch - Director of Communication is a talented video artist herself, but has channelled her energies into almost single-handedly running the annual Brighton Science Festival. She's into science communication, visual arts and science/art collaborations, which makes her pretty much ideal.
Holly Hagan-Walker - Voice of PostHuman is a playwright, actor and the President of the Sussex University Drama Society. Despite her busy schedule, her enthusiasm and motivation have meant that we had time to record, re-record and re-re-record the vocals until we had it exactly right. Is fond of saying "plinkidy plonk"
Steve Gamble - Composer and SFX is a musician, composer and lovely man. Currently doing his Music BA just south of London, he studies academic literature (predominantly popular musicology), and writes various compositions ranging from math metal to folk rock, some of which is accessible on his website.
Marco Vega - Writer and Director is passionate about investigating the effects of technology on politics and society. Currently working on an MSc in Cognitive Science, he spends much of his time thinking about all the ways in which human civilization could use technology to destroy itself or, if we are lucky, transcend its evolutionary origins. He wanted to finish this with something funny, but he's not very funny. Sorry.
Peter Brietbart - Writer and Director is a philosophy junkie (meta-ethics being the drug of choice), a writer, a director and film maker. His work has meant he has had the privilege of working with and interviewing some of his favourite people on Earth. He still won't shut up about Breaking Bad.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Whew. Leaving existential risks aside for the moment, the more mundane risks and challenges include:
- Keeping to schedule. One episode every two months means that whilst we're storyboarding, producing, animating and editing one episode, we also need to be writing the next!
- Collaborations and interviews with high-profile names means working to their schedules and organising our time around theirs. It's a surmountable problem.
- Researching fields that are at the forefront of futurist thought in depth will require a vast amount of dedicated study and understanding before it can be cooked up into a thoughtmeal that's edible in one 10-minute sitting.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge £1 or moreYou selected
Our heartfelt thanks, and the satisfied warmth of knowing you've helped us bring attention to one of the most important conversations humanity needs to be having. You’ll receive updates on everything we’re doing.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £10 or moreYou selected
The above, and we'll send you a personal thank-you email, along with links to download all of our videos in perfect quality, 1080p. In addition, you'll also be invited to VOTE on future episode topics and the order we make them in.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £25 or moreYou selected
Thank-you email, 1080p download links, a VOTE, plus we'll also email you three transhumanism-inspired desktop wallpapers, custom designed by our animator Mihai Badic.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £50 or moreYou selected
You’ve just added a fourth super: Super Generous. You’ll receive links to download the episodes in 1080p, a VOTE, custom designed desktop wallpapers, and you’ll be entered into all episode credits as a Super Generous Person.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £100 or moreYou selected
Our post-human descendants will look back and think you were pretty cool. You’ll receive links to download the episodes in 1080p, a VOTE, custom designed desktop wallpapers, credited as a Super Generous Person, and we'll post you a beautiful DVD box set of the finished PostHuman episodes (international shipping costs may apply!).Estimated delivery:Add £15 to ship outside the UK
Pledge £250 or moreYou selected
The Singularity is Nearer. You’ll receive links to download the episodes in 1080p, a VOTE, custom designed desktop wallpapers, credited as a Super Generous Person, DVD box set and a bound copy of the series scripts signed by the writers and production crew (international shipping costs may apply!).Estimated delivery:Add £15 to ship outside the UK
Pledge £500 or moreYou selected
Harness the extra processing power of your biological computer, for science. As well as all of the above, we'll invite you to a private thread, in which you can contribute questions that will be put to transhumanist thinkers directly. We'll ALSO send you the exclusive, unedited footage of the interviews themselves.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £1,000 or moreYou selected
Immortality is yours - of the animated kind. All of the above, plus we'll digitally insert your (or a friend's) likeness into one of our videos, to appear as an animated character. Though we may not be able to transfer your consciousness, the appearance of your physical form will ascend beyond the biological. We'll have a number of different visual roles to fill, and we'll get in contact to see which most appeals, amuses or intrigues you. (If you’re camera shy, we’ll hide your name as an easter-egg within an episode.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge £2,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)
You make even pi rational. In addition to all previous rewards, we'll set up a Skype conversation in which we discuss transhumanism, comment on our working drafts, talk about the project in general, and of course, we'll thank you personally for your support.Estimated delivery:
Pledge £5,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
You make unfriendly AI turn friendly. ALL of the above, plus a cordial invitation to visit us in Brighton, England. We'll show you around the studio, introduce you to the team and invite you to dine with us and special guest, transhumanist philosopher David Pearce.Estimated delivery:
- (45 days)