Primetime Bioethics: Human Enhancement & Transhumanism Edition

 

CBHD often receives requests from educators and other individuals for popular resources that engage bioethics through various media (fiction, film, and television). In this resource, we offer a recap of materials relevant to human enhancement and transhumanism that have premiered on television. Viewers are cautioned that the shows represent a wide variety of genres and may not be appropriate for all audiences. They are encouraged to read annotations/synopses available through such websites as www.movieweb.com or www.imdb.com. If there is a show you think we missed, email us at info@cbhd.org.

 

Human Enhancement & Transhumanism

  • 3% (2016–2020, TV-MA)
    • A post-apocalyptic thriller set in near-future Brazil, where a select few are allowed to join a privileged society after undergoing an intense and competitive process (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Disaster Ethics, Regenerative Medicine, Research Ethics)
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–2020, TV-PG)
    • The missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Cyborg, Genetic Engineering, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Personhood, Radical Life Extension, Research Ethics, Transhumanism/Posthumanism, Virtual Reality)
  • Alphas (2011–2012, TV-14)
    • Alphas is a science fiction drama focusing on a team that investigates people with supernatural abilities (IMDB description.
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement, Neuroethics)
  • Altered Carbon (2018–2020, TV-MA)
    • Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Cyborg, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Radical Life Extension, Regenerative Medicine, Transhumanism/Posthumanism, Virtual Reality)
  • Anon (2018, TV-MA)
    • In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Augmented Reality, Cognitive Enhancement, Neuroethics, Privacy, Technology & Society)
  • Arrow (2012–2020, TV-14)
    • Spoiled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen is missing and presumed dead when his yacht is lost at sea. He returns five years later a changed man, determined to clean up the city as a hooded vigilante armed with a bow (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement)
  • Blacklist (2013–present, TV-14)
    • A new FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen, has her entire life uprooted when a mysterious criminal, Raymond Reddington, who has eluded capture for decades, turns himself in and insists on speaking only to her (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Bioterrorism, Cryogenics, Disaster Ethics, Organ Trafficking, Radical Life Extension, Surrogacy)
  • Black Mirror (2011–present, TV-MA)
    • An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech multiverse where humanity's greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Virtual reality, Consciousness Uploading, Privacy, Human Enhancement)
  • Chuck (2007–2012, TV-14)
    • When a twenty-something computer geek inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. assign two agents to protect him and exploit such knowledge, turning his life upside down (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Cognitive Enhancement, Neuro-Enhancement)
  • Dark Matter (2015–2017, TV-14)
    • In the dystopian 27th century, six people wake up on a deserted spaceship with no memory of who they are or what they're doing there. They reluctantly team up and set off to find answers with the help of a female android (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Genetic Engineering, Human Enhancement, Nanotechnology, Personhood, Robotics)
  • Dollhouse (2009–2010, TV-14)
    • A futuristic laboratory has erased the identities of lost young people, and now imprints them with the temporary identities they need to fulfill assignments for clients (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Neuroethics, Human Enhancement)
  • Electric Dreams (2018, TV-MA)
    • A sci-fi anthology series with stand-alone episodes based on the works of Philip K. Dick (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Synthetic Life, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Free Will and Determinism)
  • The Expanse (2015–present, TV-14)
    • In the 24th century, a disparate band of antiheroes unravel a vast conspiracy that threatens the Solar System's fragile state of cold war (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement, Research Ethics, Transhumanism/Posthumanism)
  • The Flash (2014–present, TV-PG)
    • After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen wakes up from his coma to discover he's been given the power of super speed, becoming the next Flash, fighting crime in Central City (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement)
  • Fringe (2008–2012, TV-14)
    • An F.B.I. agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena (IMDB description). Beginning with Season 2 FOX included a short discussion of the Science of Fringe that educators may find particularly helpful.
    • (Topics: Biotechnology, Cloning, Cybrid/Animal-Human Hybrid, Human Enhancement, Nanotechnology, Radical Life Extension, Synthetic Biology, Transhumanism)
  • Humans (2015–2018, TV-14)
    • Set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’—a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live (adapted from IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Life, Human Enhancement, Brain-Computer Interface)
  • Intelligence (2014)
    • A high-tech intelligence operative, enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain, aids an elite government cyber-security agency in special missions (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Emerging Technology, Human Enhancement)
  • Limitless (2015–2016, TV-14)
    • An average twenty-eight-year-old man who gains the ability to use the full extent of his brain's capabilities is hired by the F.B.I. as a consultant (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Cognitive Enhancement, Emerging Technology, Genetic Ethics, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Research Ethics, Transhumanism)
  • Luke Cage (2016–2018, TV-MA)
    • When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Human Enhancement, Research Ethics, Transhumanism)
  • Orphan Black (2013–2017, TV-MA)
    • A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her (IMDB description).
    • (Topics: Biotechnology, Designer Babies, Gene Patents, Genetic Engineering, Human Cloning, Human Enhancement, Regenerative Medicine, Research Ethics, Stem Cell Research, Transhumanism/Posthumanism)

 

 

Updated Summer 2019