Futuribles journal has always shown a close interest in the – at times, surprising – relations between science and society and, indeed, between scientists and society. It has alerted its readers to the resurgence of creationism (no. 364), anticipated potential future scientific breakthroughs (no. 366), exposed scientific denial performed in the service of industrial interests (no. 369) and, more generally, discussed these relations through the articles of Jean-Jacques Salomon, an ardent advocate of a science carried out in the service of society and with an admixture of ethical reflection.
This month, it is Michèle Robitaille, a specialist in representations of the human body and the impact of technology on those representations, who alerts us to the dangers of transhumanism and, more precisely, to the way its advocates present perspectives for science in such a style as to lend substance to their project. She shows how, for example, through a “prophetic” discourse of the self-fulfilling kind, under cover of neutrality – and even scientific rationality – transhumanists are attempting to foist on society the idea that the convergence of NBIC technologies (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technologies and cognitive sciences) is inevitable and, with it, the ultimate consequence of that convergence: posthumanism. Yet the social acceptability of such developments is far from self-evident and there is still time, as Robitaille points out here, to counteract the discursive biases of the transhumanists by reintroducing a political dimension (in the proper sense) into the debate on the future progress of science and technology.