About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Earth a century hence

I took part in this show, entitled "Earth: A Century Hence" for the SETI Institute's Are We Alone? radio program the other day. It's quite a long show, and I'm the last of the three people who were interviewed (the others were James Lovelock and Cary Fowler). I'm talking here mainly in my capacity as editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, and thus about the prospect (including the possible attractions and dangers) of using new technologies to enhance our physical and cognitive capacities.

I was pushing the line that a new kind of evolution - mediated by technology, and quite different from biological evolution by the slow mechanisms of natural selection, etc. - is now a prospect, that the idea is increasingly familiar and plausible, and requires discussion.

Having listened to the show last night, my verdict on myself is that there are some aspects of my speech that I could work on, especially for radio - but I suspect that most people who are not professional actors with carefully honed voices are horrified by how they sound on air. Voice mannerisms that might even be endearing (let's hope) in real life seem odd on the radio, where there are no accompanying facial expressions or gestures. However, it's not too bad for anyone not completely thrown by the Australian accent. At least I don't sound especially nervous (actually, I wasn't nervous ... Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley, whom I dealt with off-air, were good at putting me at ease, and seemed like very nice people). As for the substance, I think I did a pretty good job of putting a sane face on the ideas.

Have a listen for yourself if you have a stray hour.

1 comment:

Steve Zara said...

Your voice really was fine, and you came across very well. Aren't Shostak and Bentley great hosts? A very enjoyable and informative programme.