Singularity Believers and The New Utopia of Transhumanism

Roberto Paura


Transhumanism is a cultural and philosophical movement born in the United States during the 1980s as a product of the technological revolution represented by the mass distribution of information technology and cybernetics, as well as by the first scientific studies on nanotechnologies. Transhumanism preaches the possibility of a technological enhancement of the human body, both through the use of technological prosthesis that by means of a life extension made possible by the use of genetics, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology. The ultimate goal of transhumanism is to completely overcome the need of a biological hardware through the integral fusion between man and machine made possible by the mind-uploading, a technique that would pour out on a digital infrastructure the entire contents of the human mind.
In this paper I intend to analyze the assumptions of transhumanism from a perspective of “technological imagination”, claiming that this cultural movement represents a new kind of utopia, if not even a modern New Age- style religion that blends techno-optimistic statements of scientific and technological research with the collective imagination of cyberculture, resulting in a kind of mystique of technological development. The concept of “singularity”, preached by the theorists of transhumanism (Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, Max More and others) seems quite similar to the Christian idea of the “end of times”, after which it is expected the emergence of a new type of humanity.
In particular, the argument that transhumanism can be considered a new kind of “technological” religion is based on the analysis of the role that the issue of death plays within the transhumanist discourse. As in most religions and utopian narratives, transhumanism believes that it is possible to defeat death, in this case through the use of scientific and technological progress. Transhumanism supporters are willing to put their bodies into hibernation to wait the future resurrection in a world where death has been defeated. Therefore, transhumanism can be considered a cult of our times, a product of a particular social imaginary of the techno-scientific development.


Transhumanism; Technological Singularity; Posthuman; Utopias; Technological Imagination; Re-Enchantment.

Full Text:



Adorno F.P. (2010), Against posthuman ideology. Aesthetics and finitude of the individual, RES. Antrhtopology and Aesthetics, 57: 344-354.

Brown D. (2013), Inferno, New York, Doubleday.

Condorcet J.A.N. (1955), Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progres de l’esprit humain, 1795; tr. eng. Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

D’Onfro J. (2015), These are the questions that keep Mark Zuckerberg up at night, Business Insider, July 1st. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from: 2015-6.

Daniel C. (2015), Breakfast with FT: Ray Kurzweil, Financial Times, April 10. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from: 00144feab7de

Davis E. (1998), Techgnosis, New York, Harmony Books.

Dinerstein J. (2006), Technology and Its Discontents: On the Verge of the Posthuman, American Quarterly, 58: 569-595.

Drexler K.E. (1986), Engines of Creation. The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, New York, Doubleday.

Elliott C. (2003), Humanity 2.0, Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2003: 13-20. Eunjung

Cha A. (2015), Peter Thiel’s quest to find the key to eternal life, Washington Post, April 3. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from: our-time-on-this-earth/2015/04/03/b7a1779c-4814-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html.

Farman A. (2012), Re-Enchantment Cosmologies: Mastery and Obsolescence in an Intelligent Universe, Anthropological Quarterly, 85: 1069-1088.

Floridi L. (2015), Singularitians, AItheists, and Why the Problem with Artificial Intelligence is H.A.L. (Humanity at Large), not HAL, APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, 14: 8-11.

Fukuyama F. (2002), Our Posthuman Future, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Hauskeller M. (2012), Reinventing Cockaigne. Utopian themes in the transhumanist thought, Hastings Center Report, 42: 39-47.

Houellebecq M. (2005), La possibilité d’une île, Paris, Fayard.

Huxley J. (1927), Religion Without Revelation, New York, The New American Library.

Jones R.A.L. (2016), Against Transhumanism: The delusion of technological transcendence, self-published. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from:

Kurzweil R. (1999), The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, New York, Viking.

Kurzweil R. (2005), The Singularity is Near, New York, Viking.

Massaro L. (2015), Transumanesimo, la vera sfida del cristiano, Aleteia, March 26. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from: vera-sfida-del-cristiano/

Moravec H. (1990), Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

More M. (2013), The Philosophy of Transhumanism, in More M. and Vita-More N., The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Conteporary Essays on Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future, Hoboken, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons.

Paura R. (2015), Singolarità, transumanesimo e le nuove utopie della (bio)cybercultura, Futuri, 5: 68-78.

Prisco G. (2012), Order of Cosmic Engineers, Turing Church, January 2. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from:

Prisco G. (2015), Don’t Worry, Intelligent Life Will Reverse the Slow Death of the Universe,, August 13. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from:

Ravasi G. (2015), Uomo sull’orlo del future, Il Sole 24 Ore, June 21. Santomiero C. (2015), Bagnasco, teoria gender: «Manipolazione da laboratorio. Volete questo per i vostri figli?», Aleteia, March 23. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from: da-laboratorio-volete-questo-per-i-vostri-figli/

Thompson W.I. (1991), The American Replacement of Nature, New York, Doubleday.

Viglione M. (2010), Il transumanesimo e la Chiesa, Zenit, May 25. Retrieved on 07 February 2016 from:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis