To Be A Machine Book Summary - To Be A Machine Book explained in key points
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To Be A Machine summary

Mark O’Connell

Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

4.4 (50 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

To Be A Machine by Mark O’Connell explores the transhumanist obsession of merging humans with machines to become immortal. The book questions the ethical and existential implications of the desire to digitize the body and mind.

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    To Be A Machine
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    Transhumanism provides new answers to questions as old as humanity itself.

    Have you ever wanted to live forever? To possess superhuman intelligence or strength? Or even to be raised from the dead?

    The popularity of transhumanism lies in the fact that it responds to aspirations like these, and engages with the most persistent and tantalizing desires of humankind.

    From time immemorial, the stories that we’ve told ourselves have conjured up visions of supernatural powers, immortality, and natural abundance. And for equally long, we’ve used myths and fables to explain away the hardships of life, like death, illness, and pain.

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest written story we possess, tells the story of a king who ventures across the earth in search of everlasting life. But that’s just one example. 

    The Bible engages with similar themes. With the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, humanity was doomed to experience mortality, and to undergo the sufferings that characterize human life.

    Stories like these have remained compelling for millennia. But with the decline of faith and the growth of science, something important has changed. Thanks to a whole host of emerging technologies, we can now begin to think of our human frailties as solvable.

    That’s where transhumanism comes in. The vocabulary is new, and the ideas are cutting-edge, but the quest for immortality and an end to suffering is as old as humanity itself.

    Transhumanists believe that we can halt aging; that we can use technology to improve our minds and bodies; and, ultimately, that we can literally unite our physical bodies with ever-advancing technology, and approach cyborgism in the process. In this way, they propose to liberate us from the limitations of our biology.

    In some cases, the science underlying transhumanist goals is contested. In others, the ideas just seem plain crazy. Either way, these blinks will familiarize you with the ins and outs of transhumanism, allowing you to make that decision for yourself.

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    What is To Be A Machine about?

    To Be a Machine (2017) charts the strange, emerging world of transhumanism, taking an honest look at the men and women working on undreamed-of new technologies. In this book, Mark O'Connell describes the people who are attempting to evade death, create hyper-intelligent machines, and even hack their own bodies.

    To Be A Machine Review

    To Be A Machine (2017) explores the fascinating world of transhumanism, where technology and biology converge in the pursuit of immortality. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With thought-provoking insights into the future of humanity, it delves into the promises and ethical concerns of emerging technologies.
    • Mark O'Connell's insightful interviews with transhumanists provide a unique perspective on the motivations and beliefs of those seeking to transcend human limitations.
    • By examining the human desire for immortality, To Be A Machine raises important questions about identity, consciousness, and the very essence of what it means to be human.

    Best quote from To Be A Machine

    This was what we did as a species, after all: we built ingenious devices, and we destroyed things.

    —Mark O’Connell
    example alt text

    Who should read To Be A Machine?

    • Science buffs interested in the next big thing
    • Futurists anxious about the fate of humankind
    • Fans of science fiction looking to realize their dreams

    About the Author

    Mark O’Connell is an award-winning literary critic, journalist, and essayist from Ireland, with a PhD in English from Trinity College Dublin. He has contributed to the Observer, the New York Times Book Review and the Dublin Review. He is also the author of Notes From an Apocalypse.

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    To Be A Machine FAQs 

    What is the main message of To Be A Machine?

    To Be A Machine explores the quest for immortality and the impact of technology on our ideas of identity and existence.

    How long does it take to read To Be A Machine?

    The estimated reading time for To Be A Machine is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is To Be A Machine a good book? Is it worth reading?

    To Be A Machine is worth reading for its thought-provoking examination of the relationship between humans and technology.

    Who is the author of To Be A Machine?

    Mark O'Connell is the author of To Be A Machine.

    What to read after To Be A Machine?

    If you're wondering what to read next after To Be A Machine, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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