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Posthumans on YouTube

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Posthumans on YouTube

Jens EDER(University of Mannheim)

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초록

YouTube, the most successful video platform to date, is an important source for identifying public opinions, fantasies, and feelings about transhumanism. Looking at YouTube can show us how its many users think about human enhancement and possible posthuman futures; and that may help us to better understand the democratic viability or even legitimacy of political decisions concerning enhancement technologies. Moreover, YouTube not only is an indicator of collective imaginations but has an important influence on them as well. Because it allows for uploading user-generated content and participating in recommendations, comments and discussions, it can be seen as a cultural forum of exchange or as a battlefield where different opinions collide and intermesh.
This paper tries to give a first, provisional survey of YouTube’s discourses about transhumanism, human enhancement, and posthuman futures. The analysis proceeds in three steps: After some general considerations concerning transhumanism and representations of posthumans in popular culture, it turns to the specifics of YouTube as a new media form. On that basis, four kinds of discourses concerning transhumanism are distinguished and illustrated by brief examples of typical videos and comments: non-fictional discourses (1) about emerging technologies in human therapy and enhancement, as well as (2) about the transhumanist movement, (3) fictional discourses about posthuman futures, and (4) reflective, meta-fictional discourses about mass media representations of posthumanity.
The analysis of those discourses shows highly divergent tendencies of evaluating human enhancement. Taken together, those evaluations suggest that a majority of YouTube users take a skeptical stance towards enhancement technologies in general, while they may be more ready to accept concrete technologies with demonstrable benefits. Moreover, the discourses show that collective imaginations of human nature and posthumanity are changing: the human species is more and more seen not as something fixed and stable but as something transformable and ephemeral.

목차

Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Transhumanism and Posthumans in Popular Culture
Ⅲ. YouTube: New Possibilities, New Forms, New Challenges for Research
Ⅳ. Conclusion
Works Cited
Abstract

참고문헌(35)

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