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How is Technology Changing What It Means to be Human? Jenny Kleeman

Festival of Ideas
Jenny Kleeman

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Journalist and documentary-maker Jenny Kleeman examines the innovations that promise to change the way we love, eat, reproduce and die in the future.

What if we could have babies without having to bear children, eat meat without killing animals, have the perfect sexual relationship without compromise or choose the time of our painless death?

To find out, Jenny Kleeman has interviewed a sex robot, eaten a priceless lab-grown chicken nugget, watched foetuses growing in plastic bags and attended members-only meetings where people learn how to kill themselves. Many of the people Kleeman has met say they are finding solutions to problems that have always defined and constricted humankind. But what truly motivates them? What kind of person devotes their life to building a death machine? What kind of customer is desperate to buy an artificially intelligent sex doll – and why? Who is campaigning against these advances, and how are they trying to stop them? And what about the many unintended consequences such inventions will inevitably unleash?

She talks about what is happening right now, and who is making it happen. Are we about to change what it means to be human . . . for ever?

In conversation with Bristol Ideas director Andrew Kelly.

Jenny Kleeman’s Sex Robots and Vegan Meat is published by Pan Macmillan. Buy a copy from our partners Waterstones.

Jenny Kleeman

Jenny Kleeman is a journalist and documentary-maker. She writes for the GuardianThe Times, the Sunday Times and Tortoise. She has reported for BBC One’s Panorama, Channel 4’s Dispatches and VICE News Tonight on HBO, as well as making 13 films from across the globe for Channel 4’s Unreported World. She is the host of the Immaculate Deception podcast, and the Breakfast show on Times Radio. Sex Robots & Vegan Meat is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @jennykleeman

Image credit: Jenny Smith Photography

Darwin Day 2020: How is Technology Changing What it Means to be Human?

In a special lecture to mark Darwin Day 2020, Jenny Kleeman explored what human beings are doing through technology to change our experience of all these things, and potentially to try and disrupt evolution.

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