Everyone in the world is dependent on technology. From hearing aids to spectacles, drugs to prosthetics, smartphones to contraceptives–human existence is a cycle of inventing things to shape life, and, in turn, be shaped. There is no “natural” state for humans, not since we mastered fire.
Humans and machines are not actually opposites of each other; the binary of “natural” and “unnatural” is a construct that can mask what’s really happening. Our technology is really an extension of our humanity, and we are all human machines of some kind. This series explores what that means in the near future.
Note: This series ran between August and November 2017, with new episodes published every two weeks. There was also a newsletter book club that ran alongside the series–its archive is available here here.
Episode 1: Introduction
Welcome to the Human Machine
Episode 2: Sense Hacking
Jane Hu meets real-life cyborgs who want to change how they experience the world
Episode 3: Connected Brains
Kieran Yates on smartphones as a kind of brain augmentation, and moral panics about them “rewiring our brains”
Episode 4: Birth Control
Hannah Harris Green on the consequences of the first contraceptive pill–and what to expect from the version for men
Episode 5: Gene Editing
Corin Faife looks into the excitement around CRISPR gene editing, and why the people who need its potential most will likely be the last to receive it
Episode 6: Prosthetics & Exoskeletons
Jane Hu looks at the economic and social issues around the next generation of prosthetics–including body augmentation and powered exoskeletons
Episode 7: The Future Human Machine
A look at some of the more underrated innovations coming over the next decades that will alter the relationship between humans and technology
Episode 8: The Human Machine Reading List
What comes next
How We Get To Next was a magazine that explored the future of science, technology, and culture from 2014 to 2019.