Timeline of transhumanism

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This is a timeline of transhumanism, attempting to decribe significant events related to the movement. Topics directly related to transhumanism, including extropianism, life extension and eradication of suffering, are also described.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

  • What are some scientific milestones of interest for transhumanists in their visions of a transformed future humanity?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Background progress".
    • You will see milestones in both science and technology with special impact on the transhumanist movement.
  • What are some important concepts related to transhumanism?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Concept development".
    • You will see the development of a number of concepts related to transhumanism as well as concepts of interest to transhumanists.
  • What are some notable organizations related to transhumanism?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Organization".
    • You will see notable transhumanist organizations, but also others with overlapping interests, such as those focused on cryonics, life extension, and nanotechnology, etc.
  • What are some notable conferences on transhumanism and related topics?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Conference".
    • You will see important meetings attended by notable people in the transhumanist movement.
  • What are some notable publications in relation to transhumanism and directly related topics?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Literature".
    • You will see both sample publications on related topics as well as classics in the movement of transhumanism.
  • What are some important transhumanist manifestos written over the years?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Manifesto".
    • You will see a number of important documents, such as The Transhumanist Manifesto, but also manifestos of related movements, such as futurism and cyborgism.
  • In addition to the manifestos, what are other important documents related to transhumanism that have been written over the years'
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Document".
  • What are some notable predictions on future technological milestones related to transhumanist goals?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Prediction".
    • You will see estimates by notable people, such as Ray Kurzweil.
  • Other events are described under the following types: "Artistic representation", "Criticism", "Document", "Early development", "Education", "Filmmaking", "Game design", "Movement launch", "Notable case", "Notable comment", and "Politics".

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
Prior to 1920s Percursors According to Nick Bostrom, transcendentalist impulses are already expressed at least as far back as the quest for immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as in historical quests for the Fountain of Youth, the Elixir of Life, and other efforts to stave off aging and death.[1]:1 In his Divine Comedy, Dante coins the word trasumanar. Another early precursor to transhumanist ideas is René Descartes.
1920s–1970s Early transhumanist thinking British geneticist J. B. S. Haldane introduces an early vision of transhumanism, predicting that great benefits would come from the application of advanced sciences to human biology.[2] The term transhumanism derives from 1940 paper by W. D. Lighthall, though Julian Huxley is generally regarded as the founder of transhumanism after using the term in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the term “cyborg” is coined by NASA scientists in search of ways to make humans better adapted to space travel.[3]:25[4]:88 In the same decade, new optimistic futuristic scenarios about humanity are articulated by science fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Stanislaw Lem; and later Bruce Sterling, Greg Egan, and Vernor Vinge, who speculate about the new, transhuman future.[5]:10 In the 1970s, a Futurist subculture emerges. Futurists begin to seriously use the term “transhuman” to refer to the technological transcendence of the human condition.[6]:133
1980s Consolidation Transhumanism arguably comes of age as a coherent ideology in this decade.[3]:116 The first formal self-proclaimed Transhumanist meetings begin at the University of California, Los Angeles, which becomes the main center of Transhumanist thinking. Toward the late decade, British philosopher Max More creates Extropianism, a hyper-optimistic philosophy revolving around a system of values that aims to overcome every limit, and, in particular, that of mortality. Life extension becomes a common term for technological approaches to immortality.[6]:119
1990s Institutionalization The transhumanist movement begins to take shape, with the creation of organizations such as the Extropy Institute and the World Transhumanist Association (now known as Humanity+). In the late decade, the Transhumanist Declaration is authored by a group of activists, stating various ethical positions related to the use of and planning for technological advances. Several significant events taking place in this decade impact the transhumanist movement, including the first successful cloning of a mammal, the launch of the Human Genome Project, and the emergence of internet.
2000s Growth The explosion of the Internet allows transhumanists to forge closer contact with each other through forums and mailing lists, finally taking full consciousness of themselves as a movement. A range of sub-movements and ideologies within transhumanism emerges, including radical life extension, posthumanism, and singularitarianism, among others.
2010s Late developments Advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology continue to fuel the debate about the potential risks and benefits of transhumanism. Today, transhumanism remains a controversial and influential movement, as debates continue over the potential risks and benefits of using technology to enhance human capabilities.

Full timeline

Year Category Event type Details Location
1486 Transhumanism Literature Italian scholar Giovanni Pico della Mirandola composes his public discourse Oration on the Dignity of Man (De hominis dignitate), which Hava Tirosh-Samuelson would describe as a “foundational text” for the Transhumanist movement.[7]:55 Italy
1620 Enlightenment Literature English philosopher Francis Bacon publishes his Novum Organum.[7]:55 Nick Bostrom would comment: “The Age of Enlightenment is often said to have started with the publication of Francis Bacon’s Novum organum, which proposes a scientific methodology based on empirical investigation rather than a priori reasoning.” Bostrom argues that Bacon “advocated the project of ‘effecting all things possible,’ by which he meant using science to achieve mastery over nature in order to improve the living condition of human beings.” According to Bostrom, by sanctioning the “human being and the natural world” as “legitimate objects of study,” Bacon opened up the door to a new world of endless possibility.[7]:55 United Kingdom
1627 Literature Francis Bacon publishes New Atlantis. James J. Hughes would claim this book prefigures a “proto-transhumanist utopia without slavery or poverty, governed by a religiously tolerant scientific elite and focusing on research with the goal of effecting all things possible.”[7]:55 United Kingdom
1637 Transhumanism, life extension Literature René Descartes publishes Discourse on Method, which some consider one of the early precursors to transhumanist ideas. In the Discourse, Descartes envisions a new kind of medicine that could grant both physical immortality and stronger minds.[8][9] France
1747 Automata Literature French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie publishes L’Homme Machine, which extends Descartes' argument that animals are mere automatons, or machines, to human beings.[10] France
1773 Cryonics Notable comment Benjamin Franklin writes:
I wish it were possible to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a mannerthat they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to — life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But . . . in all probability, we live in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to Its perfection.[11]
1793 Immortality Literature William Godwin publishes the first edition of Political Justice, which includes arguments favoring the possibility of "earthly immortality" (what would now be called physical immortality).[9][12] In Political Justice, Godwin argues that advances in science and medicine would eventually lead to the elimination of death and suffering, and that this would lead to a more just and equal society. This idea of using science and technology to overcome death and suffering is a central tenet of transhumanism.
1799 Literature William Godwin publishes his gothic novel St. Leon, which explores the themes of life extension and immortality. Popular and notorious at the beginning, it would become forgotten in time.[13]
1814 Transhumanism Concept development British author and translator Henry Francis Cary uses the term ‘transhuman’ in his translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. In describing his heavenwards journey with Beatrice, Dante speaks of being ‘transhumanised’, creating a new Italian verb trasumanar. Cary translates:

As Glaucus, when he tasted of the herb,
That made him peer among the ocean gods;
Words may not tell of that transhuman change[14]:467

1883 Human enhancement Concept development British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton introduces the term "eugenics", defining it as “the science of improving stock".[3]:71 The concept would be later extended as the science of improving the human species by selectively mating people with specific "desirable" hereditary traits to breed out disease, disabilities, and other "undesirable" human traits. Eugenics has similarities with transhumanism[15][16] although the latter is broader than the former in that transhumanism is concerned with all possible modifications of the biological basis of human beings, not just genetic modifications associated with reproduction.[17] In current times, the transhumanists Nick Bostrom, John Harris, and Julian Savulescu would identify as “new” eugenicists, insisting that human beings are obligated to pursue the posthuman.[18]:41 United Kingdom
1909 Futurism Manifesto Futurism originates in Italy as an artistic and social movement, with the publication of the Futurist Manifesto by poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who explains the principles underlying his view of art, in search for a style representing technology and machines.[19]:9 The transhumanist movement, which would emerge in the late 20th century, shares some of the same values and goals as the Futurist movement, in that it seeks to use technology to enhance human capabilities and to shape the future. Transhumanism advocates for the responsible and ethical use of technology to improve the human condition and to overcome the limitations of the human body and mind, and it often incorporates elements of science fiction and futurism in its vision of a technologically enhanced future. Italy
1910 Transhumanism Literature Filippo Tommaso Marinetti publishes L'Uomo Moltiplicato ed il Regno della Macchina.[19]:11 Marinetti develops a prophetic theory about the “Extended Man” (or "Multiplied Man"), which some consider an early version of a cyborg with transhuman abilities. Futurists at this time imagine man morphing a super machine.[20] Overall, Marinetti's concept of the Extended Man is related to transhumanism in that it involves the use of technology to enhance human capabilities and to shape the future. Italy
1915 Futurism Concept development A text by Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero titled Ricostruzione futurista dell’universo, introduces the terms superhuman and demiurgical tendencies.[19]:10 Italy
1923 Transhumanism Literature (essay) British biochemist J. B. S. Haldane publishes an essay titled Daedalus: Science and the Future, in which he discusses how scientific and technological findings may come to affect society and improve the human condition. This essay is considered a significant stimulus in the formation of transhumanism.[21][9] United Kingdom
1924 Technology Literature British philosopher Bertrand Russell publishes Icarus and the Future of Science[22], which takes a pessimistic view on human progress, arguing that without more kindliness in the world, technological power will mainly serve to increase men’s ability to inflict harm on one another.[21] United Kingdom
1920s Concept development American sociologist William Fielding Ogburn coins the term “cultural lag” to describe the process whereby humans failed to keep pace with their technological achievements"[3]:73 There is a potential relationship between the concept of cultural lag and transhumanism in that both involve the use and impact of technology on society. The adoption and integration of new technologies into society can often lead to cultural lag, as people and institutions struggle to keep up with the pace of change and to adapt to the new technologies and their impact on society. United States
1927 Transhumanism Concept development English evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley publishes Religion without Revelation, in which he argues that human beings have the potential to transcend their current state as a species.[7]:65 This collection of essays expresses some ideas approaching transhumanism. For example, Huxley writes:
[Man] is always not only surmounting what it thought were the limitations of its nature, but, in individual and social development alike, transcending its own nature and emerging in newness of achievement.[23]:155
United Kingdom
1929 Transhumanism Literature Irish scientist J. D. Bernal publishes The World, the Flesh and the Devil[24], which speculates about space colonization and bionic implants as well as mental improvements through advanced social science and psychology.[21] Arthur C. Clarke would call this "the most brilliant attempt at scientific prediction ever made".[25] United Kingdom
1940 Transhumanism Concept development Canadian author, historian, jurist, and philosopher William Douw Lighthall arguably introduces the earliest reference to "transhumanism".[14]:466 Canada
1948 Cryonics Literature American academic Robert Ettinger publishes a short story in Startling Stories, called The Penultimate Trump, in which he proposes, for the first time, the paradigm of cryonics.[19]:63 Many transhumanists would become interested in cryonics as a means of potentially extending the human lifespan and allowing individuals to potentially be revived in the future when technology has advanced to the point where it is possible to cure the conditions that led to their death. United States
1951 Artificial intelligence Notable comment English mathematician Alan Turing talks about the possibility that, one day, machines might overcome human intellectual abilities.[19]:227 Overall, the possibility that machines might one day surpass human intellectual abilities is an important and influential concept within the transhumanist movement, as it raises the prospect of radical human enhancement and the potential for dramatic changes to the human condition. United Kingdom
1951 Transhumanism Concept development Julian Huxley publishes two-part essay Knowledge, Morality and Destiny in the journal Psychiatry.[26][14]:466 In this text, the term "transhumanism" already appears, while later most scholars would trace the earliest use of the term to Huxley's 1957 publication New Bottles for New Wine.[7]:64 United Kingdom
1956 Intelligence amplification Concept development English psychiatrist and cybernetician W. Ross Ashby publishes An Introduction to Cybernetics, in which he introduces the concept of intelligence amplification, which refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence.[27] He defines intelligence, once and for all, as “appropriate selection.” He also postulates that intelligence is a function of knowledge developed.[28][29] Ross Ashby writes:
..as we know that power of selection can be amplified, it seems to follow that intellectual power, like physical power, can be amplified. Let no one say that it cannot be done, for the gene-patterns do it every time they form a brain that grows up to be something better than the gene-pattern could have specified in detail. What is new is that we can now do it synthetically, consciously, deliberately.[28]:272
United Kingdom
1957 Transhumanism Concept development Julian Huxley publishes New Bottles for New Wine, in which he describes the term transhumanism to capture what he earlier called evolutionary humanism, or scientific humanism.[6]:133 Huxley writes:
I believe in transhumanism: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.[30]

Most authorities trace the earliest use of the term "transhumanism" to this publication.[14]:465[7]:64

United Kingdom
1959 Molecular engineering Concept development German-American scientist Arthur R. von Hippel coins the term “molecular engineering”.[19]:139 Some transhumanists believe that molecular engineering will play a crucial role in realizing the goals of the transhumanist movement, by enabling the development of new technologies and therapies that can enhance human abilities and improve human health. United States
1960 Intelligence amplification Literature American computer scientist Joseph Licklider publishes Man-Computer Symbiosis, a famous technical article which hypothesizes that associating human beings and computers would allow the various aspects of the two members of the couple to compensate each other.[31] Licklider proposes that humans and computers will soon become symbiotic, with computers becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of our lives. He believes this symbiosis will last for an unpredictable amount of time before computers eventually take over all intellectual activities from humans. He envisions a kind of human-machine partnership in which human plays the first chair (so far) as an ultimate decision-maker aided in real time by the information processing power of the computer.[32]:39 United States
1962 Literature French biologist, historian of science, and philosopher Jean Rostand publishes Aux frontières du surhumain, in which he explains how “the most audacious gamble in human history, transforming Man himself” is “a metamorphosis that may be closer than one might think”.[33]
1964 Cryonics Literature Robert Ettinger publishes The Prospect of Immortality, which promotes the practice of freezing clinically dead people to guarantee them a possible future resuscitation. Ettinger is known as "the father of cryonics".[19]:36[34]:11 His book is considered a key text within the transhumanist movement. Ettinger's ideas about human immortality would become influential within the transhumanist movement and would contribute to the development of ideas about radical life extension and the use of technology to extend the human lifespan. United States
1965 Artificial intelligence Concept development British mathematician Irving John Good speaks for the first time of an intelligence explosion,[19]:228 arguing that artificial intelligence development would lead to it.[34]:12 United Kingdom
1965 Moore's law Concept development Intel co-founder Gordon Moore publishes a paper describing how the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits doubled every year between 1959 and 1965. Moore suggests that the trend might continue indefinitely.[35]:65 United States
1966 Life extension Literature American historian Gerald Gruman publishes A History of Ideas About the Prolongation of Life, which retraces the history of the search for immortality until the Nineteenth Century.[19]:88 United States
1966 Transhumanism Early development Belgian-born Iranian-American futurist Fereidoun M. Esfandiary outlines a vision of an evolutionary transhuman future, while teaching classes in “New Concepts of the Human” at the New School for Social Research in New York.[34]:11 A prominent early transhumanist, in the mid-1970s Esfandiary would legally change his name to FM-2030.[36] Today, he is regarded as a forerunner of contemporary transhumanism.[6]:10 United States
1967 Cryonics Notable case 73-year-old professor of psychology James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryo-suspended[37] when he's frozen at the Cryonics Society of California (CSC).[38] His body would be stored at a succession of locations over some two decades before being transferred both his care and custody to Alcor in 1991.[39][40] According to Robert Ettinger, cryonic hibernation of humans may provide a "door into summer" unlike any season previously known, and such patients may yet experience the transhuman condition.[41] United States
1969 Cryonics Organization The American Cryonics Society is founded.[19]:115 It is a nonprofit group formed to encourage interest in cryonics.[42] The ACS is closely aligned with the goals and values of the transhumanist movement, and many transhumanists view cryonics as a promising avenue for achieving radical life extension and the potential for human immortality. Overall, the relationship between the ACS and transhumanism is one of mutual support and collaboration, as both seek to use technology to extend the human lifespan and improve the human condition. United States
1970 Literature Fereidoun M. Esfandiary (FM-2030) publishes Optimism One. The emerging radicalism.[43] The book explores the concept of radical optimism, which is the belief that humanity has the power to shape its own future and create a better world through the use of technology and other means. The author argues that the rapid pace of technological change creates new opportunities for humanity to transform itself and its environment. FM-2030 would become an influential figure in the transhumanist movement. United States
1971 Hedonic treadmill Concept development Philip Brickman and Donald Campbell publish Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society, an essay introducing the concept of hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation,[44] a theory positing that people repeatedly return to their baseline level of happiness, regardless of what happens to them.[45] While not directly related, the concept of hedonic adaptation might be relevant to transhumanism in the sense that technological enhancements might not necessarily lead to sustained increases in happiness.
1972 Transhumanism Literature Robert Ettinger publishes Man into Superman, which proposes what would considered a Transhumanist proposal; this is, a number of improvements to the standard human being.[19]:36[21] United States
1972 Cryonics Organization Alcor Life Extension Foundation is founded.[46] It is a nonprofit organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona that is dedicated to the research and development of cryopreservation, a process in which the body is preserved at extremely low temperatures after death with the hope that it can be revived in the future. Alcor is known for its work in cryopreserving human bodies, as well as brains, with the goal of eventually being able to restore them to life. There is some overlap between Alcor's focus on cryopreservation and the goals of transhumanism, as both involve using technology and scientific research to extend human life. However, Alcor is primarily focused on the specific goal of cryopreservation and its potential to enable resurrection, while transhumanism encompasses a wider range of ideas about using technology to improve the human condition. United States
1973 Life extension Literature American anthropologist Ernest Becker publishes The Denial of Death,[19]:85 whose basic premise is that human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of mortality.[47] United States
1974 Nanotechnology Concept development Japanese scholar Norio Taniguchi coins the definition of "nanotechnology".[19]:139
1976 Cryonics Organization The Cryonics Institute is founded by Robert Ettinger.[48] United States
1977 Posthumanism Concept development Ihab Hassan coins the term "posthumanism". Hassan writes, “with regard to posthumanism itself, the most relevant aspect of the Promethean dialectic concerns Imagination and Science, Myth and Technology, Earth and Sky, two realms tending to one”.[49]
1980 Transhumanism Filmmaking American strategic designer Natasha Vita-More (born as Nancie Clark)[6]:11 presents her experimental film Breaking Away[19]:37, which explores the idea of self-transformation and features a number of people who have undergone extreme body modification, including plastic surgery, tattooing, and body piercing. United States
1982 Transhumanism Manifesto Natasha Vita-More writes the Transhuman Manifesto, followed by the Transhumanist Arts Statement.[34]:25 According to Vita-More, the manifesto is about overcoming human limitations, biological limitations, disease and ageing, and intellectual inabilities, memory conflicts, certain levels of sadness, and a need for a more humane society.[50] United States
1983 Singularitarianism Concept development American science fiction author Vernor Vinge publishes an op-ed piece on Omni magazine, in which he uses, for the first time, the term “Singularity” in reference to the point in time at which artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence.[19]:228[51] Vinge writes:
We will soon create intelligences greater than our own (...) When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.[52][53]
While not actually using the phrase "technological singularity" here, Vinge seems to be the first to use the term "singularity" in a way that is specifically tied to the creation of intelligent machines.[54]
United States
1985 Cyborgism Manifesto American scholar Donna Haraway publishes her Cyborg Manifesto,[6]:15 which by some is considered the inauguration of this subgenre.[55]:3 Cyborgism, as an idea of integrating technology into the human body in order to enhance or augment human capabilities, often overlaps with transhumanism. Many transhumanists are also interested in the potential for technology to transform the human body and mind, and some transhumanists advocate for the use of technology to create "cyborgs" or "post-human" beings. United States
1986 Nanotechnology Literature American engineer K. Eric Drexler publishes Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which would be considered a reference point of all nanotechnologists in the Transhumanist area. The book assumes the possibility of building so-called “nano-machines”.[19]:67 United States
1986 Nanotechnology Organization The Foresight Institute is founded by K. Eric Drexler. It promotes the creation and use of molecular assemblers, the nano-machines capable of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level theorized by Drexler.[19]:50 United States
1986 Eradication of suffering Concept development American scholar Lewis Mancini originally coins the term “abolitionism” in an article published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, which proposes the idea that science and technology should be used to abolish any kind of involuntary suffering. This idea would be quickly adopted by the Transhumanists.[19]:40 United States
1987 Singularitarianism Concept development The core idea of singularity is introduced by Vernor Vinge. It would be popularized by engineer Ray Kurzweil, it states that trends of growth in computer capacity will continue to accelerate in the near future.[56]
1988 Artificial intelligence Literature Austrian-born Canadian computer scientist Hans Moravec publishes Mind Children, which discusses the forthcoming development of intelligent machines.[19]:68 Moravec predicts that robots with computation power superior to that of the human brain will eventually supersede humans.[35]:64
1988 Extropianism Literature (magazine) English/Californian philosopher Max More publishes the first issue of Extropy Magazine. The term “extropy” represents a concept contrary to that of entropy, indicating that Transhumanists pursue a growth of order rather than chaos.[19]:37[34]:12 The principles of extropy enumerated by More include: “perpetual progress, self transformation, practical optimism, intelligent technology, open society in terms of information and democracy, self-direction, and rational thinking.”[5]:15 Extropianism is a philosophy of transhumanism that encompasses the Extropian principles in improving the human condition.[57] United States
1988 Posthumanism Manifesto Steve Nichols publishes the Post-Human Manifesto, in which he argues that, in relation to the past, modern men can already be considered posthuman.[58]
1989 Transhumanism Literature FM-2030 publishes Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World[59], which defines a transhuman as a “transitional human,” whose use of technology, way of living, and values marked them as a step toward posthumanity.[34]:11 United States (Warner Books)
1990 Life extension Organization The Geron Corporation is founded.[60] Based in Menlo Park, it is the first biotech company officially aimed at finding a “cure” for aging. United States
1990 Extropianism Literature The first version of the Principles of Extropy is published, in which the first fully developed transhumanist philosophy is defined.[34]:5
1990 Transhumanism Literature (essay) Max More publishes an essay titled Transhumanism: Toward a Futurist Philosophy, to which Transhumanism as an ideological term can be dated.[6]:134 The term gains widespread currency in the year.[61]
1990 Transhumanism Literature Ed Regis publishes Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition, which takes a humorous look at transhumanism’s hubristic scientists and philosophers.[21]
1991 Nanotechnology Literature K. Eric Drexler, Chris Peterson and Gayle Pergamit publish Unbounding the Future, which attempts to explain what nanotechnology is and how it will revolutionize life in the future.[62]
1991 Concept development Donna Haraway publishes A Cyborg Manifesto, in which she introduces the concept of the cyborg as a metaphor for questioning the dualisms that have persisted in Western culture, such as mind/body, animal/human, and male/female. She argues that our high-tech culture challenges these dualisms and that we can learn from our "fusions with animals and machines" how not to be "Man, the embodiment of Western logos." Haraway suggests that the cyborg represents a new way of understanding what counts as human experience in the late 20th century and can be seen as a way of subverting traditional power structures and categories. [63][6]:15
1991 Singularitarianism Concept development The term “Singularitarian” is originally coined by Mark Plus (real name, Mark Potts), an Extropic thinker.[19]:42 Singularitarianism is a movement that believes in the eventual development of a technological singularity, which is the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent artificial intelligence. Transhumanism, as a movement that believes in using technology to enhance the human condition, often overlaps with Singularitarianism. Many transhumanists are also Singularitarians, and both movements share a belief in the potential for technology to transform the human experience in profound ways.
1992 Extropianism Conference Max More launches the Extropy Institute[64], which begins organizing the first conferences on Transhumanism.[19]:47 In 2006, the Extropy Institute would close, after considering its mission “essentially completed”.[19]:47
1992 Transhumanism Politics Natasha Vita-More is elected as a Councilperson for the 28th Senatorial District of Los Angeles. She runs with the Green Party, but on a personal platform of "transhumanism". Vita-More would quit after a year, saying her party was "too neurotically geared toward environmentalism".[65][66] United States
1992 Technological singularity Concept development Vernor Vinge popularizes the term "technological singularity" in his paper The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive the Post-Human Era, and predicts that singularity would be achieved by the year 2030.[67] According to Vinge, the technological singularity would signal the end of the human era, as the new superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and would advance technologically at an incomprehensible rate. He also expresses that he would be surprised if it occurred before 2005 or after 2030.[68] United States
1993 Literature Gregory Stock publishes Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism, which explores the idea that humans will become a single global superorganism as we merge with artificial intelligence and computer technology.[69] United States (Simon & Schuster)
1993 Afrofuturism Concept development The term Afrofuturism is coined by American cultural critic Mark Dery.[70] Motivated by the hope for a movement away from the white-dominant culture of transhumanism, Afrofuturism would be proposed as intersectional transhumanism. It applies a collective approach to transhumanism , which differs from what it considers the reductionist approach of transhumanist thinking. It also offers a critique of the current standing of Transhumanism as a sexist, racist, and ableist movement and provides movement towards inclusive futures.[71] United States
1993 Mind uploading Website launch Joe Strout creates the Mind-Uploading Home Page, the first website dedicated to mind uploading.[19]:200 Also known as whole brain emulation or brain-computer interface, Mind uploading is a concept that is often associated with transhumanism, as the latter advocates for the use of mind uploading as a way to achieve immortality by transferring an individual's consciousness into a computer or artificial body.
1993 Transbemanism American lawyer and entrepreneur Martin Rothblatt is renamed Martine Rothblatt, becoming a leading transhuman advocate for the fluidity, diversity, and changeability of human, posthuman, and digitized life both for the individual and for the human species. Rothblatt coins the phrase Transbemanism, the notion that humans should be identified by their thought patterns as opposed to their bodies.[72] United States
1993 Singularitarianism Notable comment Vernon Vinge says that he would be surprised if technological singularity occurs before 2005 or after 2030.[34]:362
1993 Organization A group of activists, among them, Michael Darwin, leave Alcor and found the CryoCare Foundation,[19]:124 a non-profit[73] that offers cryonics services.[74] United States
1994 Notable comment American cognitive and computer scientist Marvin Minsky writes:
Once we know what we need to do, our nanotechnologies should enable us to construct replacement bodies and brains that won't be constrained to work at the crawling pace of "real time." The events in our computer chips already happen millions of times faster than those in brain cells. Hence, we could design our "mind-children" to think a million times faster than we do. To such a being, half a minute might seem as long as one of our years, and each hour as long as an entire human lifetime.[75]
1995 Transhumanism Concept development Natasha Vita-More's Transhumanist Arts Statement is signed by 301 artists.[19]:66 It was written to establish a poetic doctrine of transhumanist expression, representing the aesthetic and creative culture of transhumanity, and aiming to merge aesthetics and expressions with science and technology in designing increased sensory experience.[76]
1995 Transhumanism Conference Extro-1 is held as perhaps the first explicitly and exclusively transhumanist conference.[34]:9
1995 Cyborgism Concept development Russian-American researcher and writer Alexander Chislenko defines a functional cyborg or "fyborg" as a biological organism supplemented with technological extensions.[35]:34 The idea of a functional cyborg, or a being that combines biological and technological elements, is a central concept within transhumanism, as it represents a potential future in which humans are able to achieve extraordinary levels of physical, mental, and social well-being through the use of advanced technologies.
1995 Posthumanism Literature British philosopher Robert Pepperell publishes The Posthuman Condition.[19]:81 In the book, Pepperell explores the potential consequences of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, and he considers the ethical implications of these technologies for humanity. Pepperell argues that the development of posthuman beings would represent a significant shift in the human experience and could have far-reaching consequences for society and culture. United Kingdom
1995 Libertarian transhumanism Criticism Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron publish essay entitled The Californian Ideology, which criticizes the techno-utopianism of libertarian transhumanists. Barbrook argues that libertarian transhumanists are proponents of the Californian Ideology who embrace the goal of reactionary modernism: economic growth without social mobility.[77] According to Barbrook, libertarian transhumanists are unwittingly appropriating the theoretical legacy of Stalinist communism by substituting, among other concepts, the "vanguard party" with the "digerati", and the "new Soviet man" with the "posthuman".[78] United States
1995 Eradication of suffering Manifesto British philosopher David Pearce publishes The Hedonistic Imperative.[19]:208 a manifesto attempting to outline a strategy to eradicate suffering in all sentient life.[79] Pearce advocates a form of negative utilitarianism that sees as the ultimate goal of all human action the abolition of all suffering.[6]:103 Pierce writes:
We will have the chance to enjoy modes of experience we primitives cruelly lack. For on offer are sights more majestically beautiful, music more deeply soul-stirring, sex more exquisitely erotic, mystical epiphanies more awe-inspiring, and love more profoundly intense than anything we can now properly comprehend.
United Kingdom
1995 Eradication of suffering Website launch David Pearce launches BLTC Research, a website that collects and proposes materials related to biochemical and biotechnological methods for the abolition of suffering.[19]:69 Pearce is a well-known transhumanist and animal rights activist who is known for his work on the abolition of suffering. United Kingdom
1996 Organization The Swedish Transhumanist Association is founded by Anders Sandberg[7]:451, with the goal of promoting transhumanist ideas and fostering dialogue on the ethical implications of emerging technologies. It would remain a small organization focusing on issues related to technology, science, and the future, and seeking to promote transhumanist ideas within the Swedish context. The organization would not have a significant impact on the Swedish political landscape, but it would gain some attention within the transhumanist community and would contribute to the development of transhumanist ideas in Sweden. Sweden
1996 Concept development Max More revises his definition of transhumanism, and clarifies that the movement seeks to use “a rational philosophy and values system” to recognize and anticipate “the radical alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and technologies such as neuroscience and neuropharmacology, life extension, nanotechnology, artificial ultraintelligence, and space habitation.”[80]
1997 Posthumanism Concept development Natasha Vita-More designs the first whole-body prosthetic, entitled Primo Posthuman, which depicts how a human might look in the future with technological enhancements such as color-changing skin.[81] United States
1997 Transhumanism Manifesto A new version of Natasha Vita-More's Transhuman Manifesto is released first onto the Internet and signed by hundreds of creative thinkers and then placed aboard the Cassini Huygens spacecraft.[82]
1997 Background progress Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov is played, in which the AI beats a human world chess champion for the first time in history.[83] While the event is not specifically related to transhumanism, it demonstrates the increasing capabilities of AI and the potential for machines to surpass humans in certain areas. This would lead some transhumanists to consider the possibilities and implications of using AI and other technologies to enhance human abilities and potentially transcend our current limitations.
1998 Organization The World Transhumanist Association (WTA) is founded by Nick Bostrom and David Pearce.[84] At the same time, the Transhumanist Declaration is originally crafted as the founding document of WTA[6]:103 by an international group of authors: Doug Baily, Anders Sandberg, Gustavo Alves, Max More, Holger Wagner, Natasha Vita-More, Eugene Leitl, Bernie Staring, David Pearce, Bill Fantegrossi, den Otter, Ralf Fletcher, Kathryn Aegis, Tom Morrow, Alexander Chislenko, Lee Daniel Crocker, Darren Reynolds, Keith Elis, Thom Quinn, Mikhail Sverdlov, Arjen Kamphuis, Shane Spaulding, and Nick Bostrom.[85] WTA also drafts the Transhumanist FAQ for the first time, which provides a widely recognized definition of transhumanism.[6]:12
1998 Concept development Erik Davis coins the term ‘‘techgnosis’’ for what he characterizes as a contemporary, secular version of Gnosticism, in which intelligence or information replaces spirituality as the ideal state, and technology replaces the role of God or Christ as savior.[35]:30
1998 Conference The first TransVision conference is held in Weesp, Holland.[19]:46 This conference series advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capabilities and transcend limitations.[86] Netherlands
1998 Extropianism Literature Max More publishes his Extropian Principles, where he states “We advocate using science to accelerate our move from human to a transhuman or posthuman condition.”[87][6]:134
1998 Transhumanism Literature (journal) The Journal of Transhumanism is launched as the first scholarly peerreviewed journal for transhumanist studies.[21]. In 2004, it would be renamed the Journal of Evolution and Technology.[19]:46 United States
1998 Cyborgism Notable case University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick injects an RFID chip in his body, becoming what many think to be the world’s first cyborg.[88][89] United Kingdom
1998 Technogaianism Movement launch Cyberpunk science fiction writer Bruce Sterling founds the Viridian design movement, which would become a popular design movement based on a bright green environmentalism philosophy.[90] According to the Transhumanist thinker James Hughes, this movement is an example of technogaianism, which is defined as a stance of active support for the research, development and use of emerging and future technologies to help restore Earth's natural environment.[19]:43 Sterling would formally close the Viridian movement in 2008, saying there is no need to continue its work now that bright green environmentalism has emerged.[91] United States
1998 Conference American biophysicist Gregory Stock organizes a conference on life sciences at UCLA dedicated to the theme of Engineering the Human Germline. This fundamental conference is attended by prominent people, such as James Watson.[19]:69 United States
1999 Life extension Conference Gregory Stock organizes Milestones on Aging at UCLA, another important conference helping scientifically legitimize research into the significant extension of human longevity.[19]:69 United States
1999 Literature Ray Kurzweil publishes The Age of Spiritual Machines, which describes the advances that would inexorably result in computers exceeding the memory capacity and computational ability of the human brain by the year 2020.[92]
1999 Posthumanism, transhumanism Literature American postmodern literary critic N. Katherine Hayles publishes How We Became Posthuman, which represents a direct critique of Transhumanist thought.[19]:81 This influential book traces the history and discourse of cybernetics in science fact and science fiction.[3]:27 United States
1999 Concept development Max More defines transhumanism as:
a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.[93][80]
1999 Life extension Literature Aubrey De Grey publishes The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging, which claims that the removal of the damage suffered by mitochondrial DNA could significantly extend the lifespan.[94] United States (Landes Bioscience)
2000 Literature Paulina Borsook publishes Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High-Tech, in which she asserts that libertarian transhumanists indulge in a subculture of selfishness, elitism, and escapism.[95]
2000 Life extension Organization Aubrey De Grey and David Gobel found the Methuselah Foundation,[96] a non-profit medical charity that seeks to extend the healthy human lifespan by "making 90 the new 50" by 2030.[97] United States
2000 Singularitarianism Organization The Machine Intelligence Research Institute is founded in Berkeley, California. It stands out among think tanks dedicated to the technological singularity.[19]:50 United States
2000 Conecpt development The term whole brain emulation is introduced. Since then, several important developments would make substrate-independent minds a feasible project in the foreseeable future.[34]:147 Whole brain emulation can be described as a strategy for creating a kind of artificial intelligence by replicating the functionality of the human brain in software.[98]
2001 Transhumanism Website launch Betterhumans starts as an educational website. Launched as a resource for all things Transhumanist, it would cease such activities in 2008, becoming a nonprofit Transhumanist bio-medical research organization based in Florida.[19]:110 United States
2001 Document The National Science Foundation, the National Science and Technology Council, and the United States Department of Commerce publish Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, a document outlining the government's support for the development of technologies such as biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science that are aimed at enhancing human performance.[99] United States
2001 Notable comment Ray Kurzweil asserts:
We will continue to build more powerful computational mechanisms because it creates enormous value. We will reverse-engineer the human brain not simply because it is our destiny, but because there is valuable information to be found there that will provide insights in building more intelligent (and more valuable) machines. We would have to repeal capitalism and every visage of economic competition to stop this progression.[35]:69
2001 Organization (oposition) The United States-based Center for Genetics and Society is formed, with the specific goal of opposing transhumanist agendas that involve transgenerational modification of human biology, such as full-term human cloning and germinal choice technology. The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future of the Chicago-Kent College of Law critically scrutinizes proposed applications of genetic and nanotechnologies to human biology in an academic setting.[100][101]
2002 Life extension, nanotechnology Organization American lawyer and entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt (born Martin) launches the Terasem Movement Foundation, which aims to educate the public on the need to extend human life through nanotechnology and “personal cyber-consciousness”. Based in Melbourne Beach, Florida, the Terasem Movement would be joined in 2004 by the Terasem Movement Foundation, a parallel organization.[19]:47 United States
2002 Transhumanism Criticism The Vatican condemns transhumanism stating: “Changing the genetic identity of man as a human person through the production of an infrahuman being is radically immoral.”[72] Vatican
2002 Literature Gregory Stock publishes Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future,[19]:69 which describes the process of permanently altering the genetic code of an individual so that the changes are passed on to the offspring.[102] United States (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology)
2002 Criticism American political scientist Francis Fukuyama Our Posthuman Future, which would become one of the earliest and most influential proponents of bioconservatism. Fukuyama argues that biotechnology's potential to usher in a posthuman stage of history is dangerous.[3]:20 He also predicts that if genetic engineering of children is allowed, the most wealthy families will surely extend their advantages, thereby perfecting aristocracy.[35]:6 In the book, Fukuyama discusses the potential consequences of the biotechnology revolution and the rise of transhumanism, of which he expresses concern about its potential dangers, including the creation of a society with a small elite class of "posthuman" beings who are vastly superior to ordinary humans, leading to social and political instability. He also discusses the potential for abuse of biotechnology, such as the use of genetic engineering to create a new class of "designer babies" who are genetically enhanced at the expense of those who are not.
2002 Democratic transhumanism Politics James Hughes coins the term Democratic transhumanism, which refers to the stance of transhumanists who espouse liberal, social, and/or radical democratic political views.[103][104][105] United States
2002 Eradication of suffering Organization David Pearce founds the Abolitionist Society, in order to promote his own Transhumanist view of suffering.[19]:69
2002 Conservatism Research According to Stock, people want to be healthier, smarter, stronger, faster, more attractive, but most people are technology pragmatists rather than technophiles, also tending toward conservatism when it comes to the human body.[35]:35
2002 Organization The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology is founded by biologist Mike Treder and nanotechnologist Chris Phoenix, as a think tank with the aim of analyzing the social implications and risks associated with nanotechnology.[106] United States
2002 Transhumanism, posthumanism Game design Canadian freelance writer and game designer David Pulver publishes role-playing game Transhuman Space.[107] It is set in the year 2100, in which humanity has begun to colonize the Solar System, and the pursuit of transhumanism is now in full swing, as more and more people reach fully posthuman states.[108] It would be acclaimed by scientists, who regard it as one of the greatest science-fiction worlds ever.[109] United States
2002 Designer baby Notable comment Francis Fukuyama states that a genetics arms race would impose special burdens on people who for religious or other reasons do not want their children genetically altered.[35]:53
2002 Life extension Organization The Immortality Institute is founded by Bruce Klein.[110] An international foundation investigating the possibility of ending aging as an inescapable cause of death,[111] it has the purpose to reverse and to cure chronic medical illnesses. It is based in Houston,Texas.[112] United States
2003 Organization The Acceleration Studies Foundation is established by John Smart, a futurist and scholar of accelerating change.[113][114] Based in Los Gatos, California, it is a nonprofit organization engaged in outreach, education, research, and selective advocacy of accelerating technological change.[115] United States
2003 Literature Sarah Kembler publishes Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life, Sarah Kembler includes a Post-humanist discourse describing artificial intelligence and the discipline of “artificial life” as an attempt to build computer simulations that reproduce the logic of life and evolution.[19]:81
2003 Human enhancement Literature Bill McKibben publishes Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McKibben predicts that the first enhanced child will "see a gap between himself and human history" and "[h]e'll be marooned forever on his own small island, as will all who follow him."[35]:57[116] United States (St. Martin's Publishing Group)
2003 Humanism Notable comment British theologian and scholar of religion and modernity Elaine Graham calls transhumanism the "high-tech heir to Enlightenment humanism".[35]:46 She also warns of ‘‘hyper-humanism’’: “Such talk of humanity as in some degree self-constituting via its own technologies, of being capable of influencing the course of its own development is to fall prey to what we might term ‘hyper-humanism‘: a distortion of modernity‘s faith in the benevolence of human reason, producing the hubristic belief that humanity alone is in control of history”.[35]:19 United Kingdom
2003 Transhumanism Research German philosopher Jürgen Habermas asserts that democracy works as long as citizens accept the right of fellow citizens to participate, and alleges that if transhumans, and then posthumans, become cognitively or emotionally distinct from humans, commonality will cease and democracy will fracture. Habermas also warns that genetically-designed children would be governed by the "irreversible intentions of third parties", and would not be perceived as autonomous actors.[35]:8 Germany
2004 Organization Nick Bostrom and James Hughes launch the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET),[19]:48 which would become one of the most important transhumanist platforms, promoting what they call technoprogressivism as a liberal-democratic form of transhumanism.[6]:141 United States
2004 Literature American sociologist and bioethicist James Hughes publishes Citizen Cyborg, offering a vision of transhumanity, which is meant to be consistent with secular humanism and the Enlightenment project of using science and technology for the collective good. Hughes envisions future democratic societies that are hospitable to humans and transhumans by "expanding the bounds of tolerance and equality" and guaranteeing the "right of all persons to control their own body and mind."[117][35]:53
2004 Transhumanism Notable comment Francis Fukuyama publishes an essay identifying transhumanism as “the world’s most dangerous idea”[4]:177, because it threatens to destabilize the social and political order. Fukuyama argues that transhumanism could lead to the development of technologies that would create significant inequalities between those who have access to such technologies and those who do not, and that it could also lead to the creation of new forms of social and political domination.
2004 Life extension Literature Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman publish Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, whose basic premise is that if middle aged people can live long enough, until approximately 120 years, they will be able to live forever, as humanity overcomes all diseases and old age itself.[118] United States (Penguin Publishing Group)
2005 Organization The Future of Humanity Institute is founded by Nick Bostrom. Connected to the Philosophy Department of the University of Oxford and the Oxford Martin School,[19]:48 its academics make use of mathematics, philosophy and social sciences to draw big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects.[119] United Kingdom
2005 Notable comment Ray Kurzweil likens environmentalist "Luddites" to Islamic extremists in that both groups wish to impede or repeal progress. Kurzweil states that for relinquishment to work it would have to be "totalitarian relinquishment," a massive social control system that would effectively end democracy.[35]:48
2005 Proactionary principle Concept development Max More drafts a declaration entitled "proactionary principle", where the respective concept appears for the first time. The declaration is agreed by a congress of like- minded thinkers – including Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey.[120] An ethical and decision-making principle, the proactionary principle is formulated as follows:
People’s freedom to innovate technologically is highly valuable, even critical, to humanity. This implies several imperatives when restrictive measures are proposed: Assess risks and opportunities according to available science, not popular perception. Account for both the costs of the restrictions themselves, and those of opportunities foregone. Favor measures that are proportionate to the probability and magnitude of impacts, and that have a high expectation value. Protect people’s freedom to experiment, innovate, and progress.
United States
2005 Cryonics Organization KrioRus is founded a group of cryonicists near Moskow.[121] It starts as a project of the Russian Transhumanist Movement, a social organization which promotes transhumanism and immortalism.[122] Russia
2005 Invention, innovation Notable comment Max More states that the advancement of civilization could not have happened without taking risk. More writes:
If the precautionary principle had been widely applied in the past, technological and cultural progress would have ground to a halt. Human suffering would have persisted without relief, and life would have remained poor, nasty, brutish, and short: No chlorination and no pathogen-free water; no electricity generation or transmission; no X-rays; no travel beyond the range of walking.[35]:52
2005 Posthumanism, transhumanism Literature Literary theorist Katherine T. Hailes publishes My Mother Was a Computer, which connects the posthuman with transhumanist concerns. Hailes writes:
In the twenty-first century, the debates are likely to center not so much on the tension between the liberal humanist tradition and the posthuman, but on different versions of the posthuman as they continue to evolve in conjunction with intelligent machines.
Hailes’ “versions” of posthumanity reflect Bostrom’s understanding of posthuman and transhuman as interchangeable synonyms.[123]
2005 Singularitarianism Literature Ray Kurzweil publishes The Singularity is Near, which describes Kurzweil's law of accelerating returns as an attempt to predict the exponential increase in technologies like computers, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence.[124] United States (Viking Books)
2006 Transhumanism Politics According to a study by the European Parliament, transhumanism is the political expression of the ideology that technology and science should be used to enhance human abilities.[125]
2006 Research Simon Young identifies in human beings the "will to evolve" toward "ever-increasing survivability and well-being." He pronounces Homo cyberneticus to be the next stage in human evolution, tracing cyberneticus to the Greek, kubernetes, or steersman of a ship. Young asserts, "The body may want to self-destruct—but does the mind? No. Yet our genes insist upon it, against our will."[35]:38
2006 Transhumanism Organization The Mormon Transhumanist Association is founded.[19]:82 According to Ranisch and Sorgner, Mormonism exhibits the most positive attitude toward transhumanism.[6]:66 United States
2006 Transhumanism, libertarianism Politics A political struggle within World Transhumanist Association, largely between the libertarian right and the liberal left, ends with the victory of the latter, whose ideals would characterize its activity from then on.[19]:38
2006 Research An interdisciplinary meeting convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to address human enhancement ends with the suggestion that the AAAS “bring scientists to the table with science fiction writers and/or Hollywood producers” because of their expertise in imaginative thought experiments about the narrative consequences of human enhancement and “feedback from such groups might help to flesh out interesting new dynamics to address”.[3]:199 United States
2006 Transhumanism Research Simon Young refers to "New Enlightenment" as the general appeciation by transhumanists for modern society, economy, science, and technology and their imagination that social life will only improve as the ensemble matures and its full potential is realized.[35]:6
2006 Nanotechnology Background progress A report by Nature Materials finds that there are one hundred and thirty drugs and systems of administration based on nanotechnologies under development in the world at the time.[19]:133 While not a central focus of the transhumanist movement, some transhumanists may be interested in the potential use of these technologies to enhance the human condition.
2006 Movement launch Martine Rothblatt starts the Tesseract Movement, which describes its mission as “to promote the geoethical (world ethical) use of nanotechnology for human life extension,” and to “conduct educational programs and support scientific research and development in the areas of cryogenics, biotechnology, and cyber consciousness.”[72]
2007 Transhumanism Organization The World Transhumanist Association establishes its headquarters in Palo Alto.[19]:38
2007 Bioliberalism Literature John Harris publishes Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People.[126] Considered a bioliberal, Harris argues that no “enhancement however dramatic […] implies lesser (or greater) moral, political, or ethical status, worth, or value”.[6]:150 United States (Princeton University Press)
2007 Conference The first Kavli Futures Symposium is held at the University of Greenland in Ilulissat, in which leading researchers from around the world gather to announce the convergence of work in synthetic biology and nanotechnology, and to take stock of the most recent advances in the manufacture of artificial cells. These experts call for a global effort to promote “the construction or redesign of biological systems components that do not naturally exist”, thus evoking memories of the statement that was issued in Asilomar, California, in 1975, by the pioneers of biotechnology.[5]:107 Greenland
2007 Life extension Literature Aubrey De Grey and Michael Rae publish Ending Aging, which describes their biomedical technology strategies they claim are required to eliminate aging-derived debilitation and death entirely.[127] This book would become influential in the transhumanist community, sparking debate and discussion on the potential for technology to transform the human experience. De Grey and Rae's ideas would be both praised and criticized by experts in the field. So far their proposals are still largely theoretical and have not yet been proven to be viable or effective.
2007 Literature Gerald Berthoud publishes The Techno-Utopia of 'Human Performance Enhancement'. According to Berthoud, by and large, all transhumanists are optimists regarding the future of humanity, tending to believe that everything will be for the best if humanity commits to scientific and technological progress.[6]:107[128]
2007 Cyborgism Literature British philosopher Andy Clark publishes Natural-Born Cyborgs:Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence.[129] According to Clark, humans are natural-born cyborgs, because the externalization of our cognitive processes has started already with the use of language and with our ability to conceptualize the reality. Thus we can conclude that the process of cyborgization actually started in the very same moment as the process of humanization.[32]:39 United Kingdom
2008 Organization The World Transhumanist Association changes its name to Humanity+.[19]:38
2008 Postgenderism Research Canadian bioethicist George Dvorsky and James Hughes write that "dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphism are generally to the detriment of individuals and society" and that "greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality."[130] The term "postgenderism" is a subset of transhumanism used by Dvorsky to describe the diverse social, political, and cultural movement that affirms the voluntary elimination of gender in the human species by applying advanced biotechnology and assisted reproductive technologies.[131]
2008 Transhumanism Literature h + Magazine is launched by Humanity+.[19]:38 It is an online quarterly publication focusing on transhumanism.[132] It focuses on issues related to transhumanism, such as the impact of technology on society, the potential for human enhancement and augmentation, and the ethical implications of emerging technologies. The magazine featured articles, interviews, and opinion pieces written by experts in the field of transhumanism and related areas.
2009 Life extension Organization The SENS Research Foundation is founded by Aubrey de Grey.[133] It is a nonprofit organization that conducts research on strategies for engineering negligible senescence, or the reversal of aging. The foundation's research is aimed at developing therapies to repair and prevent age-related damage to the body's cells and tissues, with the goal of extending healthy human lifespan. Some proponents of transhumanism may see the goals of the SENS Research Foundation as aligned with their own vision of using technology to enhance and extend human capabilities. However, the SENS is a scientific organization and does not explicitly identify as a transhumanist organization. The foundation's research is focused on the scientific study of aging and the development of therapies to extend healthy lifespan, rather than on the broader philosophical and social implications of transhumanism. United States
2009 Singularitarianism Organization Singularity University is founded by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil.[19]:51 It is a benefit corporation that provides educational programs, innovative partnerships, and a startup accelerator.[134] In spite of the name, it is registered as charity.[19]:51 While the organization is not explicitly focused on transhumanism, some of the topics covered in its programs, such as artificial intelligence, brain-machine interfaces, and life extension, are of interest to transhumanists. United States
2009 Transhumanism Concept development Mark Walker dubs “person-engineering technologies” as a means to describe the central tenet of transhumanism to radically enhance our core biological features, such as cognitive capacity, emotionality, and healthspan, potentially resulting in the genesis of one or more species of posthumans.[135]:12
2009 Transhumanism Document The "Transhumanist Declaration" is published under the leadership of transhumanist scientists. The same declaration would be accepted by the General Assembly of Humanity⁺ (H+) organization in March 2009, after a few changes.[136]
2009 Life extension Literature Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman publish Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, which discusses steps to slow the aging process until technology allowng humans to live much longer arrives.[137] United States (Rodale Books)
2010 Brain Preservation Organization The Brain Preservation Foundation is founded by Kenneth Hayworth and John Smart.[138] It is established with the goal of promoting and supporting the development of technologies that can preserve the structure and function of the human brain in detail after clinical death. The ultimate goal of the organization is to pave the way for future technologies that could potentially allow for "uploading" the human mind into a computer, which is a concept that is central to some versions of transhumanism. United States
2010 Cosmism Manifesto Ben Goertzel publishes A Cosmist Manifesto, which argues that contemporary cosmism is more of an everyday sort of philosophy than an analytical one. Goertzel claims that cosmists should focus on exploring, understanding, and enjoying the cosmos, and be open to all the possible forms life and mind may take in the future. Goertzel and Giulio Prisco borrow the term “cosmism” (originated by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky) to denote a futurist philosophy more tailored for the modern era.[72]
2010 Transhumanism Notable comment According to James Hughes, progressivism, which is shown in transhumanist’s Enlightenment roots, can be found in most varieties of transhumanism.[6]:157 There is some overlap between the two movements in that both seek to improve the human condition, but they differ in their approaches and focus. Progressivism tends to focus on social and political reform, while transhumanism focuses on the use of technology to improve the human condition. Some proponents of transhumanism may align with progressive values, but it is not a necessary component of the transhumanist philosophy.
2010 Extropianism Manifesto Breki Tomasson and Hank Hyena publish the Extropist Manifesto, launching Extropism as a similar derivative movement from Extropianism.[19]:41
2011 Transhumanism Literature Ronald Cole-Turner publishes Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement.[139]
2011 Transhumanism Literature American philosophy professor Allen Buchanan publishes Better Than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves, which seeks to demystify biomedical enhancements and advocates the use of biomedical technologies to fix human biological design flaws.[140] United States (Oxford University Press)
2011 Transhumanism Manifesto Martine Rothblatt publishes From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Form.[141] United States
2011 Femtotechnology Literature Australian researcher Hugo de Garis publishes Searching for Phenomena in Physics that May Serve as Bases for a Femtometer Scale Technology, an article dedicated to femtotechnology.[19]:151
2011 Transhumanism Literature H± Transhumanism and Its Critics is published. Edited by Gregory R. Hansell and William Grassie, it is a compilation of articles by advocates and critics of transhumanism debating the potential and risks of bioengineering an improved humanity. Contributors include Russell Blackford, Nick Bostrom, Aubrey de Grey, and Natasha Vita-More.[5] United States (Metanexus Institute)
2011 Crionics Notable case Robert Ettinger, now known as the father of cryonics, dies and, in accordance with the vision he promoted, immediately undergoes cryonic suspension procedures.[19]:63 United States
2011 Background progress IBM Watson beats Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, two winners of Jeopardy!. Like the Deep Blue chess match, Watson's victory demonstrates the increasing capabilities of AI and the potential for machines to surpass humans in certain areas.[83] This event would lead some transhumanists to consider the possibilities and implications of using AI and other technologies to enhance human abilities and potentially transcend our current limitations.
2012 (February 21) Literature Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler publish Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, which explores the idea that the world is becoming a better place, thanks to advances in technology. United States
2012 Transhumanism Literature Charlie Blake, Claire Molloy, and Steven Shakespeare publish Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism.[142] The book explores the concept of transhumanism and its implications for society, culture, and the individual. The authors argue that transhumanism represents a significant shift in the way that humans understand their place in the world and their relationship to technology. They discuss the potential consequences of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, and they consider the ethical implications of these technologies for humanity. United Kingdom (A & C Black)
2012 Research German professor of philosophy Michael Hauskeller argues that transhumanism is without doubt a philosophy with strong utopian tendencies, both in motivation and in outlook.[143][6]:19
2012 Transhumanism, utopianism Literature (paper) Michael Hauskeller at the University of Liverpool publishes Reinventing Cockaigne: Utopian Themes in Transhumanist Thought, a paper arguing that transhumanism is a form of utopianism.[144] United Kingdom
2012 (July 19) Transhumanism Politics The Longevity Party is founded in Russia by a group of 10 people gathered together in Moscow, to establish the first political party aimed at extending human lifespan using technological advances. Cofounder Maria Konovalenko describes the movement as "100% transhumanist".[145] Russia
2012 (August) Transhumanism Politics Italy becomes the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist, when Giuseppe Vatinno is elected deputy of the Italian Republic.[146] Since his campaign is based on his book Il transumanesimo. Una nuova filosofia per l'uomo del XXI secolo (Transhumanism. A new philosophy for the man of the 21st century), he would be described as 'the world's first transhumanist politician'.[147] Italy
2012 Transhumanism Literature Scott de Hart and Joseph P. Farrell publish Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas[148], which investigates what may become of human civilization, who is setting the agenda for a transhumanistic civilization, and why.[149] United States (Feral House)
2013 Transhumanism Literature Max More and Natasha Vita-More edit The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, a collection of essays on transhumanism and related topics, including artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the future of humanity, and it offers a diverse set of perspectives on these topics.[150] United States
2013 Life extension Organization Radical life extension goes way mainstream when Google announces Calico Life Sciences[151], which has the specific agenda to end or slow aging and diseases associated with it.[72] United States
2013 Literature American technologist and science fiction writer Ramez Naam publishes The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.[152] This book does touch on some ideas that are related to transhumanism, such as the potential of technology and innovation to solve major global challenges and create a more sustainable and prosperous future for humanity. United States
2013 Background progress RNA-guided genome editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 is first introduced into mammalian organisms.[153] Genome editing takes a huge leap forward with the development of this technique.[72] While not directly related to transhumanism as a philosophical or social movement, CRISPR could potentially be used to make physical or mental enhancements to humans.
2013 Transhumanism Literature Philosopher and researcher Stephen Lilley publishes Transhumanism and Society: The Social Debate over Human Enhancement.[35] The book explores the social and ethical implications of transhumanism. Lilley discusses the ways in which transhumanist ideas have been received by different groups within society and the ethical questions that they raise.
2013 Literature S. Fuller publishes Preparing for Life in Humanity 2.0.[154] According to Fuller, transhumanists still privilege humanity above animality.[6]:156
2013 Nanotechnology Literature K. Eric Drexler publishes Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization,[155] which recounts the history of nanotechnology, and explains its potential for the benefit of humanity.[156] United States (PublicAffairs)
2013 (September) Background progress A team working under Professor José-Alain Sahel implants an artificial retina known as “Pixium Vision” into a blind patient who went on to recover partial vision.[157]:26
2013 (October) Transhumanism politics The political party Alianza Futurista ALFA is founded in Spain with transhumanist goals and ideals inscribed in its statutes.[158] Its founders are interested in promoting transhumanist ideas and using technology to enhance the human condition. ALFA would focus on issues related to technology, science, and the future, and would seek to promote transhumanist ideas within the Spanish political system. It would fail to be particularly successful in terms of electoral results, and would not have a significant impact on the Spanish political landscape. However, it would gain some attention within the transhumanist community, contributing to the development of transhumanist ideas in Spain. Spain
2013 Transhumanism Literature American transhumanist Zoltan Istvan publishes philosophical science fiction novel The Transhumanist Wager. Istvan writes:
The bold code of the transhumanist will rise. That's an inevitable, undeniable fact. It's embedded in the undemocratic nature of technology and our own teleological evolutionary advancement. It is the future. We are the future like it or not. And it needs to molded, guided, and handled correctly by the strength and wisdom of transhumanist scientists with their nations and resources standing behind them, facilitating them. It needs to be supported in a way that we can make a successful transition into it, and not sacrifice ourselves—either by its overwhelming power or by a fear of harnessing that power. You need to put your resources into the technology. Into our education system. Into our universities, industries, and ideas. Into the strongest of our society. Into the brightest of our society. Into the best of our society So that we can attain the future.[159]
United States
2013 (December 18) Background progress A patient with terminal heart failure receives an artificial heart implant designed by the firm Carmat. Some consider him the first cyborg.[157]:29
2014 Transhumanism Literature Calvin Mercer and Derek F. Maher publish Transhumanism and the Body: The World Religions Speak[160], which explores the relationship between transhumanism and religion. In the book, Mercer and Maher discuss the ways in which different religious traditions have engaged with transhumanist ideas and how transhumanism may impact religion in the future. United States (Springer)
2014 (May) Cyborgism Background progress The United States government authorizes the implantation of bionic arms that are directly connected to the nerves of amputees.[157]:26 Many transhumanists are interested in bionic technology, in addition to other forms of human enhancement. Today, bionic arms are an example of a technology that is already being used to enhance human capabilities, and they are likely to be of particular interest to those who are interested in the potential for technology to transform the human experience.
2014 Transhumanism Notable comment According to James Hughes, the great majority of transhumanists have a "this-worldly, materialist, naturalist, relationalist or immanent understanding of the world".[6]:30 United States
2014 Transhumanism Literature Calvin Mercer and Tracy J. Trothen publish Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement.[161] The book explores the intersection of religion and transhumanism. It discusses the ways in which different religious traditions have engaged with transhumanist ideas and how transhumanism may impact religion in the future. United States (ABC-Clio)
2014 Transhumanism Literature Ted Chu publishes Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision of Our Future Evolution, which examines human purpose in light of the accelerating developments of science and technology.[162]
2014 (September) Background progress A 36-year-old Swede who was born without a uterus gives birth to a little boy after having received a womb transplant from a 61-year-old friend who had gone through the menopause several years previously.[157]:26
2014 (October) Transhumanism Politics American entrepreneur Zoltan Istvan announces that he would be running in the 2016 United States presidential election under the banner of the "Transhumanist Party."[163] By November 2019, the Party would claim 880 members, with Gennady Stolyarov II as chair.[164] United States
2014 Transhumanism Literature (fiction) Ben Bova publishes Transhuman: A Novel.[165] It is set in a future where humans have developed advanced technology that allows them to enhance their physical and mental abilities, leading to the rise of a new form of humanity known as "transhumans." The novel explores the ethical and societal implications of this technological advancement, as well as the conflicts that arise between transhumans and those who oppose their existence. United States (Tom Doherty Associates)
2014 Transhumanism Literature Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner publish Post- and Transhumanism : An Introduction, which includes a number of articles by leading scholars of the field, and seeks to provide the first comprehensive introduction to debates beyond humanism.[166]
2015 Transhumanism Literature David Livingstone publishes Transhumanism: The History of a Dangerous Idea, which attempts to detail the roots of the transhumanist movement.[167]
2015 (December 14) Transhumanism Document The original version of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is posted by transhumanist US presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan on the wall of the United States Capitol building.[168] United States
2016 Posthumanism Literature Scott Jeffery publishes The Posthuman Body in Superhero Comics: Human, Superhuman, Transhuman, Post/Human.[169] The book explores the representation of the posthuman body in superhero comics. The concept of the posthuman refers to a hypothetical future being whose abilities and characteristics go beyond what is currently considered to be humanly possible, and it is a topic that is of interest to many transhumanists. In the book, Jeffery discusses the ways in which superhero comics have depicted the posthuman body and how these depictions reflect and influence cultural attitudes towards technology and the future.
2017 Posthumanism, transhumanism Literature (journal) The Journal of Posthuman Studies is established by Penn State University Press, in cooperation with philosopher Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and sociologist James Hughes.[170] It is the first academic journal explicitly dedicated to the posthuman, with the goal of clarifying the notions of posthumanism and transhumanism, as well as comparing and contrasting both.
2017 Background progress DeepMind’s AlphaZero reaches superhuman levels of play in three board games (chess, go and shogi) in just 24 hours of self-learning without any human intervention, i.e. it just playing itself.[83] Some transhumanists may see the rapid progress of AI and machine learning like this event as a potential avenue for developing technologies that can help humans overcome their biological limitations and achieve greater levels of performance and capabilities.
2018 (December 17) Transhumanism Literature Italian writer, futurist, transhumanist and cosmist Giulio Prisco publishes Tales of the Turing Church: Hacking religion, enlightening science, awakening technology, which explores intersections of science and religion, spirituality and technology, engineering and science fiction, mind and matter, and attempts to outline a new cosmic, transhumanist religion.[171]
2019 (January 24) Virtual humans Literature David Burden and Maggi Savin-Baden publish Virtual Humans: Today and Tomorrow,[172] which explores the technical approaches to creating a virtual human, as well as emergent issues such as embodiment, identity, agency and digital immortality, with their resulting ethical challenges.[173] United States (CRC Press)
2019 Transhumanism Literature Melvin G. Hill publishes Black Bodies and Transhuman Realities, which explores the black body in the context of transhuman realities from a variety of literary and artistic perspectives.[174] United States (Lexington Books)
2020 Transhumanism Education The H+ Academy is established. It has the purpose to face the world's issues with leading thinkers of AI, Philosophy, Economics, Science and the Arts. Roundtable discussions include "Going Meta with the Brain",[175] "Brain Enhancements and Rights",[176] "Future Economics",[177] and "Worldview & Culture of the Future".[178] United States
2021 Transhumanism Literature Elana Freeland publishes Geoengineered Transhumanism - How the Environment Has Been Weaponized by Chemicals, Electromagnetism & Nanotechnology for Synthetic Biology.[179]
2029–2033 Life extension Prediction The Maximum Life Foundation has the mission of reverse the aging process by around this time.[19]:109
2030 Prediction According to French biophysicist and philosopher Henri Atlan, in this year artificial uterus will become the norm, freeing women from the burden of bearing children.[157]:16
2035 Prediction According to March 2016 Ray Kurzweil statement, by about this time we would be using cerebrally implanted nanorobots linked to our neurones to connect to the internet.[157]:58
2045 Life extension Prediction According to Ray Kurzweil, immortality would arrive by this year.[19]:109
2050 Digital immortality Prediction According to leading futurist Ian Pearson, human beings will be able to transfer their consciousness into computers, thus achieving virtual immortality, by this time.[19]:201

Numerical and visual data

Google Scholar

The table below summarizes mentions of transhumanism on Google Scholar as of July 14, 2022.

Year Mentions
1990 10
1992 4
1994 17
1996 14
1998 31
2000 70
2002 70
2004 138
2006 200
2008 301
2010 453
2012 739
2014 1,110
2016 1,590
2018 2,110
2020 2,780
Transhumanism google scholar.PNG

Google trends

The chart below shows Google Trends data for transhumanism (topic) from January 1, 2004 to July 3, 2022, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[180]

Transhumanism gt.png

Google Ngram viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for transhumanism from 1950 to 2019.[181]

Transhumanism ngram.PNG

Wikipedia views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia page Transhumanism, on desktop, mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015 to June 2022.[182]

Transhumanism wv.png

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Base literature:

  • Transhumanism - Engineering the Human Condition, by Roberto Manzocco.[19]
  • The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, by Max More and Natasha Vita-More[34]
  • Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction, by Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner. [6]
  • Transhumanism and Society: The Social Debate over Human Enhancement, by Stephen Lilley.[35]
  • Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement, by Ronald Cole-Turner.[4]
  • H±: Transhumanism and Its Critics, by Gregory R. Hansell and William Grassie.[5]
  • The Posthuman Body in Superhero Comics: Human, Superhuman, Transhuman, Post/Human, by Scott Jeffery.[3]
  • Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity, by Jay Cornell and R. U. Sirius.[72]
  • Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement, by Calvin Mercer and Tracy J. Trothen[7]
  • The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism, by Steve Fuller and Veronika Lipińska.[120]

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Pablo's feedback

  • "Very popular among nazis, eugenics has many substantive parallels with transhumanism, although the latter does not advocate for the breeding of humans for the purpose of creating a superior group". I think this gives a somewhat misleading picture of the links between eugenics and transhumanism. I would suggest rewriting, following Bostrom's discussion in section 3.2 here.✔
  • Explain better how Huxley's works from 1927 and from 1957 differ. Did the term 'transhumanism' already appear in Religion without Revelation? If so, what was peculiar about * New bottles for new wine? Also, how do these two discussions differ from the 1951 discussion in "Knowledge, morality and destiny"?✔
  • Again, how does this differ from Huxley's work from 1927?✔ (I dug deeper and found on Marius Turda's Crafting Humans: From Genesis to Eugenics and Beyond that Bostrom repeats an incorrect citation to Huxley’s 1927 volume of essays Religion without Revelation, and that these essays so far only express some ideas approaching transhumanism.[23]:155)
  • It would be nice to have a bit more detail on Ashby's discussion. What particular form of intelligence amplification did he discuss?✔
  • You say that Bedford was cryo-suspended at the Alcor facilities, but you also say that Alcor was founded in 1972. From the description, I don't see the connection with transhumanism. Is this listed because some people claimed that there was such a connection? ✔ (there's a connection prom the perspective of using technology to attain immortality. Or, as Robert Ettinger puts it, to experience the transhuman condition)
  • "publishes essay" should be "publishes an essay"✔
  • The entry about Haraway seems to repeat what is said earlier, in one of the 1985 entries.✔
  • The second occurrence of "Mark Plus" should be removed.✔
  • Earlier you said that Vinge first used the term "Singularity" in 1983. Is the difference that in 1992 Vinge first used the expression "technological singularity"? If so, did he mean by this something different from just "singularity"?✔
  • " which according to the Transhumanist thinker James Hughes, is an example of Technogaianism". What is "technogaianism"?✔
  • "The World Transhumanist Association begins publishing the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the first scholarly peer-reviewed journal for transhumanist studies." This is inconsistent with what is stated in an entry for the previous year.✔ (1999 row removed)
  • "The term whole brain emulation is introduced." It would be nice to have a bit more detail on this.✔
  • "David Pulver publishes Transhuman Space." Some additional details about this would be useful. E.g. is it a novel? Why is it notable?✔ (It's a sci-fi RPG environment. Arguably worth including for receiving acclaim by scientists, besides being a unique/pioneering endeavor)
  • "The Acceleration Studies Foundation is founded." Again, some additional detail would be useful.✔
  • The launch of h + Magazine is mentioned twice.✔
  • "Russell Blackford, Nick United States Bostrom, and Jean-Pierre (Metanexus Institute) Dupuy publish H± Transhumanism and Its Critics, which brings together advocates and critics of transhumanism to debate the potential and risks of bioengineering an improved humanity." It looks like the book was edited by Hansell and Grassie.✔

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


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