Philip ButlerJul 29, 2020
Black Transhuman Liberation Theology
Technology and Spirituality
Bloomsbury Academic 2020
In his book Black Transhuman Liberation Theology: Technology and Spirituality (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Philip Butler explores what might happen if Black people in the United States merged technology and spirituality in their fight towards materializing liberating realities. The discussions shaping what it means for humans to exist with technology and as part of technology are already underway: transhumanism suggests that any use of technology to augment intellectual, psychological, or physical capability makes one transhuman. In an attempt to encourage Black people in the United States to become technological progenitors as a spiritual act, Butler asks whether anyone has ever been 'just' human? Butler then explores the implications of this question and its link to viewing the body as technology. Re-imagining incarnation as a relationship between vitality, biochemistry, and genetics, the book also takes a critical scientific approach to understanding the biological embodiment of Black spiritual practices. It shows how current and emerging technologies might align with the generative biological states of Black spiritualities in order to concretely disrupt and dismantle oppressive societal structures. Dr. Philip Butler is the Term Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Posthuman and Artificial Intelligence Systems at the Iliff School of Theology. He is also the founder of the Seekr Project, a distinctly Black conversational artificial intelligence with mental health capacities. His work primarily focuses on the intersection of neuroscience, technology, spirituality, and race. Currently, he is working to construct a Black posthumanism that is both critical and speculative in nature. He is also building a distinctly Black AI interface combining machine learning and psychotherapeutic systems.