Nick Gillespie Interviews RU Sirius and Jay Cornell on Transhumanism and the Singularity


In Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity, authors R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell don't simply map the history and future of everything from cancer-curing nanobots to 200-year lifespans to the outer reaches of the inner mind. They also bring a great deal of humor and warmth to transhumanism, or radical, self-directed human evolution, that typically conjures up images of people with giant heads wearing white jumpsuits in a sterile, passionless future. 

Sirius and Cornell worked together at H+ magazine and have long and varied histories in various countercultural and tech movements. Sirius was one of the creators of the acclaimed Mondo 2000 which, along with Wired, helped define "cyberculture" in the early 1990s and stretch the limits of magazine design and content. He also collaborated frequently with Timothy Leary, most fully on 1997's Design for Dying. Cornell is aweb developer by trade and, prior to H+, worked on Gnosis magazine. He may be the only transhumanist to openly acknowledge his debt to Eleanor Cameron's incredible 1954 book The Wonderful Trip to the Mushroom Planet, the first in a series of kids' novels that are arguably more mind-blowing than the entire Philip K. Dick oeuvre.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Reason's Nick Gillespie, they explain what "the singularity" might look like, why they're not overly concerned with robots taking all the good jobs, why having your parents live to be 150 won't necessarily be an ordeal, and why now more than ever transhumanists and singulatarians need to get "a sense of humor."