Posthumanism and transhumanism are philosophies that envision possible relations between humans and posthumans. Critical versions of posthumanism and transhumanism examine the idea of potential threats involved in human–posthuman interactions (i.e., species extinction, species domination, AI takeover) and propose precautionary measures against these threats by elaborating protocols for the prosocial use of technology. Critics of these philosophies usually argue against the reality of the threats or dispute the feasibility of the proposed measures. We take this debate back to its modern roots. The play that gave the world the term “robot” (R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots
) is nowadays remembered mostly as a particular instance of an absurd apocalyptic vision about the doom of the human species through technology. However, we demonstrate that Karel Čapek assumed that a negative interpretation of human–posthuman interactions emerges mainly from the human inability to think clearly about extinction, spirituality, and technology. We propose that the conflictual interpretation of human–posthuman interactions can be overcome by embracing Čapek’s religiously and philosophically-inspired theory of altruism remediated by technology. We argue that this reinterpretation of altruism may strengthen the case for a more positive outlook on human–posthuman interactions.
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