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To Be A Machine | Mark O'Connell | Review

*Image and book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Reporter Mark O'Connell tells us about the real world of the Transhumanist movement, where people are seeking to use technology to move beyond their human bodies' limitations either through general enhancement or uploading consciousness to machines.

Review:

I had read a little bit about the Transhumanist movement in a previous book. It was a story about people treating the Internet, or technology in general, as a religion. When I found this book being offered, I was curious enough to learn more about what Transhumanists actually believe. Turns out, not all Transhumanists look at the movement as a religion. 

Like O'Connell, a lot of my interest in the movement is the shared belief that human bodies are fragile things that could be so much more. In this, I think all Transhumanists agree. Also, like O'Connell, I'm not subscribing to the movement's full philosophies any time soon. I will not be signing up for cryogenic freezing in the hopes that death will be defeated in the future, nor am I looking to have an electronic devices installed under my skin any time soon.

Still, I fell that O'Connell is completely fair to the Transhumanist movement throughout the book. He maintains his skepticism towards all facets and factions of the movement while refraining from being overly judgmental. His tone and wit are welcome accompaniments to the stories of the Transhumanists he interviews and make the book much easier to read. Funny enough, O'Connell succeeds at making these people, who may seem crazy from the outside, seem more human. As someone whose body has almost killed them twice, I can empathize with these people who feel that the odds are rigged against the human body succeeding at anything.

This book was very informative, very interesting, and very human. If you have any interest at all in the Transhumanist movement, or the effect of technology on human psychology or physiology, I highly recommend this book. 

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