Source : Times of India
Irish author Mark O’Connell’s debut novel To Be a Machine: Adventures among cyborgs, utopians, hackers and the futurists solving the modest problem of death was awarded the Wellcome Book Prize 2018 on April 30. The Wellcome Book Prize is an annual award in Britain which awards a book whose central theme deals with some aspect of medicine, health or illness, regardless of the genre.
To Be a Machine is about Trans-humanism and how technology and medicine are merging. It talks about pushing the limits of our bodies—our capabilities, intelligence, and lifespans through technology with the wish that it can help us become better than ourselves.
In the book the author explores the fictitious seeming possibilities and moral quandaries that arise from thinking of your body as a machine or tool. He interviews the world’s foremost cryonics facility to witness how some have chosen to forestall their death. He writes on people who have implanted electronics under their skin to enhance their senses and even on scientists who are investigating how to protect man from artificial super-intelligence.
Edmund De Waal, the Chair of Judges described the book as, “a passionate, entertaining and cogent examination of those who would choose to live forever. Mark O’Connell brilliantly examines issues of technology and singularity. In doing so he brings into focus timely issues about mortality, what it might mean to be a machine and what it truly means to be human. This is a book that will start conversations and deepen debates. It is a wonderful winner of the Wellcome Book Prize.”
Kirty Topiwala, the Publisher at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize Manager, said, “This book is fresh, funny and disquieting. It raises profound questions about our future and challenges how we think about health and humanity. This is very much at the core of what we do at Wellcome Collection, making To Be a Machine an exciting and worthy winner of this ever-diverse prize.”