Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Transhumanism and Emerging Technologies: Ethical and Cultural Implications

On a renowned YouTube channel, Father Michael Baggot, LC, offers an in-depth analysis of these two relevant topics and how to use them wisely as part of a virtuous moral life.

Elon Musk’s recent announcement of the first Neuralink wireless brain implant in a human patient quickly raised fears of a dehumanized cyborg future. However, most human beings already live in the present uncritically immersed in a technology that subtly shapes their sense of identity and social relationships. Furthermore, culturally influential dualist anthropologies have long separated the self from the body and treated the latter as a malleable tool of the former.
American Legionary of Christ Father Michael Baggot, editor and author of “ Enhancement Fit for Humanity: Perspectives on Emerging Technologies,” offers an in-depth analysis of transhumanism and emerging technologies in his latest interview with Matt Fradd on the long-running Catholic talk show most renowned in the United States, “Pints ​​with Aquinas.” The wide-ranging conversation explores the ethical and cultural implications of medically assisted reproduction, eugenics, gene editing, and artificial intelligence. It also examines the connections between transhumanism and the more well-known transgenderism.

Most human beings already live in the present uncritically immersed in the technology that shapes their sense of identity.

The interview – only in English – goes beyond mere alarmism about future catastrophes to evaluate the underlying philosophies that inspire some of the world’s leading thinkers to invest enormous sums of money and energy in radical projects of human improvement and digital immortality. Father Michael explains why the dialogue with this movement is fruitful, although challenging. He draws on philosophy, theology and science fiction to affirm the positive aspirations of transhumanism and redirect its deviations. In particular, he argues that some biotechnological improvements can be used prudently as part of a virtuous moral life. Father Michael also recalls the surprising Catholic roots of contemporary secular transhumanism and exhorts believers to live out the beauty of its call to transfiguration in everyday life.

Father Michael Baggot, LC, is Associate Professor of  Bioethics at the Pontifical Ateneo Regina Apostolorum  and Adjunct Professor of Theology at the  Catholic Institute of Technology. He is also a professor of the “ Joint Diploma in Leadership: Service through Virtues ” and the “ Catholic Worldview Fellowship ” summer programHe was an Associate Professor of Theology in the Rome program of Christendom College from 2018 to 2022. In addition, Father Michael is a research fellow at the  UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights  and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Magisterium AI. His writings have appeared in  First Things, Studia Bioethica, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, and Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. Father Michael is editor-in-chief and contributor to the book “ Enhancement Fit for Humanity: Perspectives on Emerging Technologies ” (Routledge, 2022).