Perhaps the idea of 'real-life' heroes is passé or impossible, or somehow considered unnecessary, in a world of digital pleasures so various that every conceivable kind of heroine and hero can be conjured up in a comic book, movie or game. If the idea of real, flesh and blood human heroes is to be cancelled by this new generation, however, it will be a watershed moment, in the move to post-humanity. The cyborgs will have won. The aim, it seems, more and more, is to seek to achieve autonomously modified human bio-systems that answer to no higher rules or religious strictures, and establish themselves as perfected self-identifying concepts, moving from humanity to something less flawed; and these cyborgs will be without identifying labels except when self-chosen. With artificial skin now able to feel, and AI on the horizon, as well as gene-splicing, a post-human world within 100 years is more than possible - if the climate overheats, it may be what keeps a sort of humanity going.
It is hard to think of many respected British institutions that have done more to expand, and develop, knowledge and written thought these past fifty years (or more), than Penguin Books, Eton, and Cambridge University. They are synonymous with excellence - who has not enjoyed a Penguin classic - from Orwell to Mary Shelley ? - and Cambridge has, from the double helix to Black Holes, to language philosophy, to the marxist-modernist poetry of Prynne , and the Christian preaching of Rowan William s, and beyond to the latest developments in nano-technology engineering, business, physics, and battery development, set world standards. Eton has given the world many Prime Ministers. Yet, this week, they have faced new attacks on their ability to celebrate and explore freedoms once taken as necessary. First, staff at Penguin Books have complained about the publishing of a Canadian academic and controversialist whose work questions progressive ideas, especially relating to sexual identity; and,