What is the most important/interesting take away from this seminar?
This is a tough question. There were so many interesting things to take away. On a personal note, the seminar and its content really made me think a lot more about the nature of existence and the evolving meaning of “human.” The pessimist in me is doubtful that humanity is going to survive the fruits of our own technology in any way that is recognizable to our contemporary eyes. After struggling to sweep aside these pessimistic feelings, I find that underneath lies a real sense of excitement regarding the future. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t wipe ourselves out! The impending (?) singularity and related advances may make it possible for us to transcend, or at least put off, the callous shackles of mortality. I don’t mind mortality really though the thought that I won’t get to see what happens in the far future has always bothered me. I want to be around to witness the discovery of other life and travel to the stars. Maybe the post-humanistic epoch will give me the chance even if I only exist as consciousness uploaded to the cloud (or perhaps some autonomous Rumba vacuum of the future).
“How has this seminar impacted your teaching?”
In a concrete sense, the seminar gave me a wealth of really interesting topics to discuss in my LIB 200 sections and perhaps LMF 101 if time permits. Students seem to really enjoy discussing the implications of AI and transhumanism. In a more amorphous sense, I find that the radical changes which will accompany continued technological advance places seemingly unrelated topics in the context of a society with a future that will doubtlessly be profoundly different from what we now know. It makes me feel as if I’m teaching on the Titanic or the Beagle depending on which day you talk to me.