In 2007 I was interviewed for the BBC special Visions of the Future.
This interview happened after some people from the BBC sent me a series of e-mails asking if I would be interested in appearing in the "Biotech Revolution" episode of Visions.
Footage was taken in May 2007, and the series premiered in the UK in November 2007. During the two minutes that comprised my interview, I speculated about the future of human life with physicist Michio Kaku.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to write this was to correct some mistaken impressions people could get of me from that interview. I was sort of dismayed to see when the final cut appeared that I was explicitly identified as, not only a "transhumanist", but "one of transhumanism's most vociferous proponents". (I can barely even watch the segment I was in because I cringe so much at hearing that part).
Mind you, I did self-identify as a transhumanist for a while (and I don't deny this or have any desire or reason to; people are allowed to change their minds about things), but that was before I realized the extent of the baggage associated with that term. And when I did realize that, I disassociated myself from that identification.
I was under the initial impression that "transhumanist" was just a convenient word to describe "science nerd who likes robots and is interested in longevity and other biotechnological topics". However, I eventually discovered that the term was serving to obfuscate more than clarify what I actually thought. So I dis-identified myself from it. That's all. Nothing dramatic about it, just a personal choice based on the acquisition of information.
I don't regret doing the BBC interview, and certainly, getting to talk with Michio Kaku was amazingly cool. The BBC people I had contact with were all really nice and respectful, and did not seem at all like they were trying to stage a "wow look at these Californian freaks!" spectacle.
But I wish I'd had the presence of mind at the time, considering the doubts I was most definitely having about my subcultural associations, to insist that I be referred to on my own terms and not on the terms of "transhumanism". You most definitely do not need to identify as a transhumanist to have valid opinions and thoughts on the direction of humanity given the ways in which we are choosing to modify (or not modify) ourselves and our environment.
And if I could go back and change anything about my interactions with the BBC, and my subsequent interview, it would be to specifically disavow the notion that anyone has to be a "member" of anything (other than the worldwide community of sentient life forms) to comment on pressing present and near-future issues we face.
- Anne Corwin