PATRICK EFFIONG BEN
THE TRANSHUMAN WORLD AND ITS FEARS: A Fearological Guide for the Developing Countries
MICHAEL BASSEY ENEYO
Michael Eneyo in this interesting book takes us on a philosophical journey into the heart of one of the most topical issues in the twenty-first century digital age: Apprehension over what the future holds for humanity in view of new technological advancements and their possible impacts on the structuring of the human society. The transhuman world which is the central focus of the book is here, and humans have already started questioning their place in it. Eneyo ranks among the few African philosophers to critically capture the fears of this new society that is fast approaching. Here, Eneyo attempts to answer some questions that surround the transhumanization of the human species through advancements in the fields of science and technology, and possible ways of managing the fears that will be precipitated by these new inventions.
However, I am sceptical about Eneyo’s hope that “stick international and local policies” will be enough to curb the excesses of future technologies, especially when one takes a causal stroll through history to discover that the nuclear bombs that were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 respectively, in 1945, were carried out by a legitimate government that cared less about policies. The chemical weapons that were used by the British imperialist empire against the Bolsheviks in Russia in the summer of 1919, before its most recent usage 94 years later by Bashar al-Assad against his own people in Syria, were all done under the watchful eyes of the international community amidst “strict international and local policies” against their deployment.
The book presents a good account of the negative possibilities that lurks beside the future society that will be driven by intelligent machines. Inasmuch as I believe that the fears raised in the book are justified, I think Eneyo’s gloomy picture of what a transhuman society would likely look like is too pessimistic and creates room for the propagation of negative fear-one aspect of fear that the book urges us against. Eneyo’s proposal of the “Philosophy of Fear” and the “Philosophy of Unity” as what would be needed to manage the fears and psychosocial discontents that will arise in the future society is worthy of mention. Also, in dealing with the transhuman world which is a typical “fear territory” for Eneyo, the suggestions offered to the African continent with regards to not being left behind in the race to a transhuman materialization is also worthy of commendation.
I here conclude by saying that beyond the thought-provoking approach to the question of our place in the present and future society, the author’s daring questions, unapologetic confidence on the subject matter, and analytically poignant perspectives make his book a worthy read for all-especially those who are profoundly curious about humanity’s place in the inevitable transhuman world that is upon us.
Patrick Effiong Ben
MasterCard Foundation Scholar University of Pretoria,