Emeritus College


Debating the Human Future
Technology, Culture, and Dignity


Bill Garrett, PhD


Humans are more deeply implicated in the dynamics of their own evolution than ever before. More than a century and a half ago, the Darwinian Revolution forcefully asserted our oneness with nature. Today, converging developments in fields like robotics, genetics, and software engineering are promising to assert our oneness with our technology. And for many, this is a matter of grave concern. Other technologies offer to make work that is, employment, obsolete. But to what extent is what we do in our lives indispensable to our sense of self-worth, our sense of dignity? How will we accommodate the continuing evolution of technology into our lived experience? Life-extension is an indisputable blessing; but can the boundary between humanity and its technology be erased without also erasing human dignity? The course will explore the hopes and dangers of the agenda of science and technology; we will survey recent developments in human augmentation, in AI, and in robotics; we will assess arguments both for and against these agenda. 





#1: The Triumph of the City

#2: Fish and Water





Supplemental READINGS

National Ocean Policy Executive Order: Environmental Law at Harvard




The Years of Living Dangerously: Season One, Episode One