Note: The ASC initiative has concluded. The following text and the ASC archives serve to chronicle the engaging discussions that took place from 2006 to 2009 and to contextualize the study of human nature, as conceived by early 21st century humanities thinkers and pioneering scientists.

What is ASC?
Geoffrey Harpham, Director of the National Humanities Center, explains the vision of ASC.

“Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity” (ASC) seeks to crystallize a conversation already begun. A small but growing number of philosophers, literary scholars, and other humanistic thinkers has turned to the work of computational scientists, primatologists, cognitive scientists, biologists, neuroscientists, and others in their attempts to gain a contemporary understanding of human attributes that have traditionally been described in abstract, philosophical, or spiritual terms. It has been widely noted in the public media that many contemporary scientific projects – attempts to upload the component parts of consciousness into a computer, research into primate emotions or language skills, stem cell research, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, robotics, and the Human Genome Project among them – appear to have serious implications for our basic understanding of human existence.

Read on

ASC Archives

The original and substantive contributions to public knowledge produced by the ASC project came from participants in each of the three conferences. Gathered here are video records of each presentation.

Videos from the 2007 and 2008 conferences are being re-encoded and will be available soon.