Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Liberal Arts


English & World Languages


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Micah Dean Hicks

Program Director

Dr. Deborah Wilson


This project argues that mind uploading and virtual reality are the most likely solutions to the human-driven climate change that will render the Earth unlivable. Drawing on scientific research, the speculations of science fiction, and critical theory, this project first argues that this solution is most probable because it exploits current capitalist trends and does not demand the sacrifice of luxury; concomitantly, it functions as a solution to problems outside of climate change and human survival regarding human health, progress, evolution and [interstellar] exploration. This project further explores: 1) what problems mind uploading could solve and to what extent; 2) how the dissolving distinction between human and machine will affect human identity individually and collectively; 3) how it will affect the way humans interact with one another as well as the natural world and universe; 4) what kinds of economic, political, and social systems would emerge in a virtual environment largely relieved of the necessity of material production; and finally, 5) the ethics of this solution. While this project is speculative in nature, its aim is to explore human identity in relation to technology and technology in relation to nature, to interrogate the pervasive critical conception of technology as corrosive to human nature and to “the natural,” to question the very idea of an essential “human nature,” and to critique human practices and current systems of economic, political, and social organization with the goal of approaching possible solutions to manifest problems