Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism. Gregory Stock. Simon & Schuster.

Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism Book Cover Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism
Gregory Stock
Simon & Schuster
September 1993

In this visionary book, Gregory Stock gives us a new way of understanding our world and our future. He develops the provocative thesis that human society has become an immense living being – a global super organism in which we humans, knitted together by our modern technology and communication, are like the cells in an animal’s body. Drawing on impressive research, Stock shows this newly formed superorganism to be more than metaphor; it is an actual living creature, which he has named “Metaman,” meaning “beyond and transcending humans.”

This name acknowledges humanity’s key role in the superorganism but also stresses that Metaman is more than humanity alone. Our increasing reliance on new technologies has joined us inextricably to our technology, while at the same time it has bound humanity together. The examples are all around us: our medical equipment and drugs, high-yield crop strains, superhighways, power and telecommunications networks. All these are part of Metaman.

The implications of the new global culture and economy, the evolution of machine intelligence, and the advent of genetic engineering are vast. Through Metaman, life on earth is entering a new phase in its evolution, says Stock. Understanding Metaman tells us that the environmental problems of today are not carrying humanity toward destruction; that war between major powers is unlikely ever to occur again; the technology is not in conflict with the “natural” realm but is an extension of it; and that the very nature of human existence is being redefined, to our benefit.

Metaman offers a profoundly hopeful vision of humanity’s future. Stock doesn’t ignore present-day problems but examines them from a completely new perspective, convincingly arguing that these are the “birth pains” of Metaman.

This is one of those rare books that can change the way we look at ourselves.

Gregory Stock has a Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He has published research papers in the fields of developmental biology, limb regeneration, and laser light scattering, and has designed computer software for electronic banking networks. He is currently a visiting senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Stock has published four previous books, including The Book of Questions, which is been translated into sixteen languages and sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide.