Welcome to Issue #2 of Electric Athenaeum: (In)Humanity! The articles, poems, and stories in this issue all grapple with the question of what it means to be someone or something other than human and, by extension, what that can tell us about our own humanity. How different might we be from other intelligences? Or how similar?
We wanted to explore this boundary, because technology is advancing at an increasing rate, and soon we as a species may face the very real question of whether or not we are still human. If it is indeed possible to merge our consciousness with Artificial Intelligences, we face the loss of mortality as we know it, our sense of time and its flow, and any number of other experiences (shared or otherwise) that combine to make the human, human.
And what we discovered in reading the articles, poems, and stories submitted to us is that defining humanity can be a lot like defining art—something you know when you see it but difficult to pin down in exacting, objective terms. Definitions of humanity have changed down through the ages, and vary across cultures, and will undoubtedly continue to do so into the future. This is especially true as we incorporate more and more technology into our lives and bodies.
Whether or not that incorporation is a good thing isn’t really a debate we explore here, but it is something to think about as we take on different bodies and minds, and vicariously live inhuman lives through the words before our eyes.
So step into these inhuman worlds and perspectives. We have poems that grapple with humanity and art, inhumanity and nature. Our articles explore what precisely the definition of human is and the current science behind our merging with technology. And the stories in store for you run the gamut of aliens and artificial intelligences, to faeries and cyborgs.
As always, thank you for reading!