Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future is a 2004 non-fiction book by bioethicist and sociologist James Hughes which argues that human enhancement or “transhuman” technologies that push the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are safe and made equally available in a liberal society. Hughes argues that the biopolitical challenges of the coming “transhuman century“ require a return to the root principles of democracy: the liberty, equality, and solidarity of persons.[1]

Rejecting the two extremes of bioconservatism and libertarian transhumanism, Citizen Cyborg argues for a third way, "democratic transhumanism." The democratic transhumanist approach argues that we achieve the best possible "posthuman future" if we ensure emerging technologies are safe, make them available to everyone, and respect the right of individuals to control their own bodies.

Written for a general audience, Citizen Cyborg analyzes the anxieties of the technophobes and shows that they are inconsistent with democratic values. For instance, while political philosopher Francis Fukuyama argues that human rights depend on an unchanging “human nature,” Dr. Hughes discusses animals, embryos, the brain-dead, artificial intelligence and posthumans to argue that democratic rights are based on our capacities for thought and feeling. While religious and secular conservatives insist that all human bodies should have rights, whether they have minds or not, Dr. Hughes argues that only persons have rights, not humans.

The democratic transhumanist perspective of Citizen Cyborg attempts to provide answers for many pressing biopolitical issues, including genetic patents, human genetic engineering, human cloning, sex selection, drugs, and assisted suicide.

Citizen Cyborg concludes with a concrete political agenda to make sure these technologies make life better for everyone, including expanding and deepening human rights, reforming genetic patent law, and providing universal health care and a guaranteed minimum income.

The Book Editors of the April 2005 issue of Scientific American recommended Citizen Cyborg to their readers.[2] For more reviews of the book, see external links.


  1. Hughes, James (2004). Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-4198-1. 
  2. Hall, Brian K. (2005). "Evo Devo is the New Buzzword: For the 200-year-old search for links between embryos and evolution". Retrieved on 2007-03-06.

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