James Hughes

Bioethicist and Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

James J. Hughes is a sociologist and bioethicist teaching health policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Hughes holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he served as the assistant director of research for the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Before graduate school he was temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1984 while working as a volunteer in Sri Lanka.

From 2004 to 2006, Hughes served as the executive director of the World Transhumanist Association (since renamed Humanity+), and he currently serves as the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, which he founded with Nick Bostrom. He also produces the syndicated weekly public affairs radio talk show program Changesurfer Radio. Hughes' book Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future was published in November 2004. 

Hughes was featured in Big Think's "Month of Thinking Dangerously," contributing the dangerous idea that we should be able to genetically design our children. He is a proponent of "democratic transhumanism," which asserts that the best possible "posthuman future" is achievable only by ensuring that human enhancement technologies are safe, make them available to everyone, and respect the right of individuals to control their own bodies.