Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

R. U. Sirius and Jay Cornell. Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity (San Francisco: Disinformation Books, 2015).

It’s not often that an acknowledgements section trails off with a vaguely defiant “whateverthefuck.” But when R. U. Sirius is involved, the usual rules of authorial comportment do not apply. This book has some seriously fun moments and introduces you to a heap of important transhumanist ideas at the same time.

Starting at the top of the alphabet, the authors run the chronological gamut of transhumanist terms you need to know, from Artificial General Intelligence, to Virtual Reality. They provide brief explainers, historical tidbits, and interviews with transhumanists and other experts who weigh in on what these subjects are all about and why they matter.

The Dinisformation Encyclopedia covers a huge breadth of subject matter in a short volume and is designed to be an entertaining (though well written, clear and accurate) introduction to key transhumanist ideas and technologies. You won’t learn a huge amount about the details of artificial intelligence or brain uploading, but if you’re reading about them for the first time, this is not a bad place to start.

While the lack of a unifying narrative linking each segment detracts a little from the text’s overall readability, an advantage of this format is the ease with which key terms can be looked up. Like any encyclopedia, this book need not be read chronologically, or in one hit. Well worth checking out.

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