[Cross-posted on Cyborg Orgy]
I’m really disappointed by this. When I saw that there was a movie titled H+ I naively thought it might bring transhuman and posthuman ideas into the popular zeitgeist. Although the trailer indicates some nod to some biotechnical advances, it quickly degenerates to conspiracy theories about power controlling technology and a blunt claim that science fails humanity. It is possible that some improvement via technology will actually be a detriment and that may make a compelling film plot. But the movie is unoriginal in its phobia of progress and unfortunate in its timing.
Currently, there are real advances being made that can actually impact a lot of people’s lives. While taking some students on a college tour last summer I was lucky to get to see some of the bio-medical technology MIT is developing. They have nanobots there that can be injected into the blood stream and seek out individual cancer cells. And they have actual implants that help those born deaf or blind gain their senses. These aren’t idealistic dreams. These are actual technologies developed by undergraduates with the guidance of faculty (those evil scientists that will be our undoing).
The potential for humanity plus – in which technology improves and corrects the human body – are mind-boggling. A feature film that introduces the term H+ culturally should not be a scare piece that concludes Science has failed us. It has not. Science is under attack. The stakes could not be higher. Science and technology offer the best hope for solving our environmental woes, feeding a population of seven billion and growing, curing diseases, and uniting previously disparate cultures. Instead, we have wrongheaded people denying climate change, opposing stem cell research, and actively seeking to control telecommunications worldwide. A universal strategy delegitimizes science and scientists as mere ideologues equal to religious dogmatists and Area 51 enthusiasts. Science is too often the bad guy in television and film and too seldom defended in political discourse. Instead of making a movie called H+ that shows the world coming apart, there should be an active effort to associate H+ with the double-amputee currently competing in the Summer Olympics.