You do everything on your smartphone and love it – you are, now and forevermore, a cyborg.
But how would you know if you were a good cyborg?

A couple get married after a robot selected them as potential romantic partners. A politician loses an election in the aftermath of an erroneous story widely shared on social media. A teenager is run over as they cross the street while playing an alternative reality game. As humans let computers into ever more aspects of their lives, it becomes clear that there’s no such thing as a ‘neutral tool’ in the internet connected world.

When we talk about robots and cyborgs, we might think about the droids in Star Wars, or the replicants in Blade Runner. But we've been living with robots – and acting as cyborgs – for quite some time now. Smartphones, laptops, fitness trackers, social networks, search engines... our world is filled with human-robot pairings, and it’s not always clear which half is pushing the buttons. The virtues of the kind of cyborg we have become depend both on who we are, and upon the kinds of robots we use.

Game designer and philosopher Chris Bateman explores cyborg virtue through problems such as cyberbullying, ‘fake news’, and the indifference of computers to human needs. From the stark horror of drone assassinations to the amorality of computer viruses, Bateman reveals our shallow sightedness in the face of the unfathomable complexity of our cybernetic networks. Critical yet optimistic, The Virtuous Cyborg rises to the challenge of the twenty first century by asking us to ponder the question of what kind of cyborgs we want to become.

Coming 1st March 2018 from acclaimed author Chris Bateman and Squint Books, an Eyewear Publishing imprint.


What People Are Saying About The Virtuous Cyborg

The future is coming at us fast, and Chris Bateman is a masterful guide to the most urgent questions we face there. How will we do good in a future where nearly every action we take is in partnership with a machine, a robot, or an artificial intelligence that shapes, augments and reprograms our own ethics with a code we don't control? Can we tell the difference between the technologies that bring out the best in us, and the ones that bring out the worst? Will we be able to put up a collective resistance if we need to? I can see no better way to immerse yourself in the strange new dilemmas of the future than to read this wonderful, mind-bending book.

Jane McGonigal, Phd, author of New York Times bestsellers Reality is Broken and SuperBetter

 

The rise of cyber technology has presented humanity with many exciting possibilities, but also a number of pressing problems. We urgently need to examine our relationship with the tools we have created, or we might find ourselves adopting the machine mind-set by which these devices operate. In The Virtuous Cyborg, Chris Bateman highlights our often myopic view of the cyber networks we find ourselves living in, teasing out the underlying ethical issues with compelling clarity. Without straying into apocalyptic predictions of our impending cyber subjugation, Bateman casts a critical but optimistic eye on the important choices we must make in our relationship with the cybernetic tools we have created. It might just be the most important decision humanity has had to make since we first whittled a stick.

Justin Robertson, DJ, artist, and record producer

 

Online and offline worlds being inextricably connected, can there be any doubt that cybermischief is actively influencing events in the real world? Rather than a facile critique of the vices of cyberspace, Chris Bateman optimistically explores the potential for virtue in both the behaviour of technology and that of its users. Recognizing today's merging of online and offline life, Bateman's proposal of cybervirtue might be a clever way of sneaking a new gentler human spirit into society at large. Cyberspace is as good a place as any to start finding our way back to who we really are, and to who we can be.

Michaël Samyn, Tale of Tales

 

Bateman brings a fresh and vigorous philosophical voice to explore virtue theory and cyborgs, robots, and AI, including classical and cutting edge ethical debates. Philosophical arguments on every page are leavened with practical insights, including a richly layered comprehension of the business of the gaming (and new media) side of the digital era. Across ontological registers, as relevant to ‘real’ life and virtual reality, Bateman intercalates virtue ethics with the challenges of technological virtuosity. In addition, Bateman offers an informatively discursive or running list of endnote reference commentary: the notes are as rewarding as the main text in this well written and thoughtful book.

Babette Babich, Philosophy Professor at Fordham University and the University of Winchester


Meet the Publisher

Squint_logo
In June 2017, Squint Books was officially announced as the publisher for The Virtuous Cyborg. An imprint of London's celebrated poetry micro-press, Eyewear Publishing, Squint publishes short-form texts on cultural and political topics. This will be the first time they've published a work of philosophy.

The release date for the book is 1st March 2018.


Who is Chris Bateman?

$45 haircut.croppedDr Chris Bateman is a game designer, outsider philosopher, and author. Graduating with a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence/Cognitive Science, he has since pursued highly-acclaimed independent research into how and why people play games, and was the first person in the world to gain a Doctorate in the aesthetics of play experiences. He works in the digital entertainment industry as an expert in game design and narrative, and has nearly fifty published game credits, including the acclaimed Discworld Noir and Ghost Master. His previous philosophy books include Imaginary GamesThe Mythology of Evolution, Chaos Ethics, and Wikipedia Knows Nothing, which have won praise from Mary Midgley, Kendall Walton, Allen Wood, Joanna Zylinska, and Michael Moorcock. As well as working on videogames, he teaches at University of Bolton in the United Kingdom and Laguna College of Art and Design in California.