Swarms Are Hell: Warfare as an Anti-Transhuman Choice

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Woody Evans

Document Type


Publication Date



The use of advanced technologies, even of so-called transhuman technology, does not make militaries transhuman. Transhumanism includes dimensions of ethics that are themselves in direct conflict with many transhuman capabilities of soldiers in warfare. The use of advanced weapons of mass destruction represents an anti-humanism that undermines the modern, open, and high-tech nation state. 1. Transhuman warriors? Warfare is becoming transhuman, in some senses. The dust-up that outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta caused by proposing the "Distinguished Warfare Medal" for drone operators in February 2013 was telling. Among those who supported the proposal was P.W. Singer, who concluded that "a Predator pilot carrying out an important mission, such as the 2006 operation that found the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, or a cyber-warrior taking down a key enemy network" should receive a medal for outstanding service (2013). Subsequently, however, incoming Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel canceled the plan. This controversy reminds us that there are sincere differences of opinion about the role, value, and honor of the jacked-in technicians working in virtual and augmented realities to advance geopolitical agendas with military might.


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access