Here’s a little Q&A by way of introduction.
What have I written lately?
- Some fun and informative pop articles on transhumanism for Big Think.
- A review of the geologist Walter Alvarez’ book A Most Improbable Journey (2016).
- The introduction to this beautifully illustrated Big History book (2016).
Have I presented at conferences?
Yes. But I don’t write academic papers and read them out verbatim. Nobody should do that ever. Check out my videos to watch some of my talks.
Why am I doing a PhD?
I get paid to research a truly fascinating subject.
Is this a good long term plan?
I’ve had some good luck so far and have had an absolute ball learning all of the things about transhumanism! It can be worth doing a PhD if you really really enjoy it and if you want to shoot for the outside chance of an academic career. But folks, be warned, doctorates in the humanities are not usually a sound bet if you want to be employable. Make sure you also have options b, c, d, e, and f up your sleeve!
Have I learned much so far?
Yes. Robots and AIs are going to steal lots of jobs really soon. This will be great because lots of jobs are dull and dehumanising. But terrible because many people won’t see it that way in the short term and will find unemployment dehumanising if they are not well supported through welfare and charity.
Of course the real story is that humanity-as-we-know-it is changing faster and more profoundly than ever before! And soon it won’t just be technology that changes us from the outside, it will also change us from the inside out as it merges with our biology. This has already begun.
Have I done any other cool stuff lately?
Yes! I’m currently teaching beginner robotics and coding concepts to kids and writing and presenting curriculum videos for the Sydney based ed-tech startup Creator Academy. I’m also working as a Research Associate at Edith Cowan University.
In the last few years I’ve contributed a short guest lecture to Macquarie University’s Big History: Solving Complex Problems MOOC and written and presented a video for the Big History Institute’s Big History School Curriculum. Both of these videos are about AI and the thorny social and ethical dilemmas it will pose in the immediate future.
I’ve also tried out the latest Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and HTC Vive VR headsets. Very, very cool!