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To Be a Machine

Hardcover $26.95

Feb 28, 2017 | 256 Pages

Ebook $13.99

Feb 28, 2017 | 256 Pages

Audiobook Download $20.00

Feb 28, 2017 | 525 Minutes

  • Hardcover $26.95

    Feb 28, 2017 | 256 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Feb 28, 2017 | 256 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

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“The book is a wonderful, breezy romp filled with the beginnings of philosophical reflections on the meaning of the techno-utopians’ search for immortality.”
New York Times Book Review 

“Wryly humorous, cogently insightful…. To Be a Machine is a lucid, soulful pilgrimage into the heart of what humanity means to us now—and how science may redefine it tomorrow, for better and for worse.”
Jason Heller, NPR.org

“O’Connell unleashes his prodigious researching and writing skills on what could be your future.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“O’Connell is a writer of elegant precision and winning facetiousness… His ear and eye for detail are prodigious… O’Connell’s writing—full of high-low swerves and personal asides—is a constant reminder of the bathetic reality of being human.”
—Brian Dillon, 4Columns

“[O’Connell] reveals a bounty of beguiling ingenuity and genuine absurdity, eliciting laughs and empathy, because we are our most human while trying to become something more than human.”
—Buzz Poole, Playboy

“O’Connell, a columnist for Slate, is a charming, funny tour guide. Writing on transhumanism often gets swept away by the inherent drama of its adherents’ promises, but O’Connell’s eye for small human details…keeps the narrative grounded in a way that rigorous scientific debunking wouldn’t.”
—Max Read, Vice

In this thoughtful and readable book, [O’Connell] aims to understand the motivations of those who are guided by the belief that technology will enable humans to transcend the human condition. In an attempt to explore what it means to think of ourselves as machines, O’Connell takes readers on an all-encompassing tour…He writes in an agreeable, conversational tone, offering his opinions, doubts, and fears along the way.”
“O’Connell, a journalist, makes his own prejudices clear: ‘I am not now, nor have I ever been, a transhumanist,’ he writes. However, this does not stop him from thoughtfully surveying the movement.”

“O’Connell’s book is skeptical but not cynical, and it functions as a witty overview of transhumanism.”
—The Ringer

“O’Connell’s sensibility—his humanity, if you will—and his subject matter are a match made in heaven. It’s an absolutely wonderful book.”
The Millions

“Comedic, unsettling, ambivalent, and intriguing…O’Connell’s book is a worthwhile read for all audiences.”

To Be a Machine is flat-out fascinating. O’Connell’s journey is a layman’s adventure through the technological looking glass, an opportunity to meet with a subculture existing on the fringes of the tech scene and a compelling peek at one possible future. Sharply-written and thought-provoking, To Be a Machine is a book that will undoubtedly set your mind to racing and your gears to turning.”
The Maine Edge

“O’Connell writes with an intellectual curiosity that makes his esoteric subject matter accessible to lay readers…a stimulating overview of modern scientific realities once thought to be the exclusive purview of science fiction.”
Publishers Weekly

“An enlightening tour of transhumanism… packed with eccentric characters…An unsettling but informative and sometimes-optimistic view of mostly legitimate efforts at life extension.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will appreciate O’Connell’s sense of humor and his fast-paced writing, and will at times feel like they’re having a dialogue with the author as he ponders the ethics, consequences, and dilemmas of these transhumanist activities embedded in society today. Those who are interested in artificial intelligence, bioengineering, technology, and human development will find this book to be deeply engrossing and informative on the topic of transhumanism and what it means to be a human today and in the future.”

“Provocative, funny and not a little gonzo, it’s a great one to recommend to devotees of Jon Ronson”
Bookseller (UK)

“Mark O’Connell, in funny, reflective prose, finds in the transhumanists a desire to exceed these very limits – of the capacity for thought, of death, of the body.”
—Globe and Mail (Canada)

“A voyage into the dark heart of transhumanism, where dwell many hopeful mind-uploaders, robo-warfighters, subdermal implanters, doomed immortalists, and sundry aging Singularitarians.  A funny, wise, and oddly moving book.”
—Nicholson Baker, author of House of Holes and Human Smoke

“Hilarious and moving…. To Be a Machine is super-detailed and cosmic and minute and high-stakes and funny and sad, all at the same time.”
—Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed

“O’Connell, like some dream combination of Jon Ronson and Don Delillo, switches effortlessly from profound to poignant to laugh-out-loud funny. A brilliant illumination of the techno-future, To Be A Machine is also, and more importantly, a joyful summation of what it is to be human.”
—Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies and The Mark and the Void

“O’Connell’s forensic investigation of the unnervingly fluid border between the human and the machine is elegant and gripping: at once a hilarious anthropological survey of the people who believe technology will give us eternal life and a terrifying account of how technology is changing the cardinal features of human existence.”
—Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City and The Trip to Echo Spring

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