[A few more posts about last weekend's H+ Summit at Harvard.]
Another of the transhumanist movement's more prominent figures, David Pearce (bio, slides), spoke at the conference about what he considers a moral imperative: the abolition of "suffering in all sentient life." As with much of the rest of the conference, this was another rehashing of ideas already widely discussed, with little new added.
The first big project that Pearce has in mind to unsuffer the world is ending the slaughter of farm animals. The problem of our continuing taste for meat is supposed to be solved not by making all of us into vegetarians but rather, at least in the short-term, by creating artificial meat in a laboratory without slaughtering animals. My biggest concern here is that with the need for fresh, real meat removed, the plots of future Jurassic Park films would be ruined, and that is a horror we can never allow. (Except, as Dr. Grant knows, T-Rex doesn't want to be fed, he wants to hunt.)
I kid, but the other big project Pearce mentions is ending predation, and one of the ways he suggests doing this actually is by feeding animals artificially-produced meats. This, he thinks, will be inadequate for the whole problem, and what we'll really need to do is to redesign predators themselves so as not to be predatory — a notion we have discussed here on Futurisms before. This is one of the most striking illustrations of the heart of the transhumanist attitude, for make no mistake about it: Pearce here is calling for the destruction of Earth's biosphere, as surely as if he were to call for animals to be re-engineered so as not to emit carbon dioxide.
Among the highlights from this little bit of sort-of well-intentioned lunacy was an assertion from Pearce that lions are the same thing as serial killers, and so we have just as much obligation to stop them. Does it need saying that lions, unlike serial killers, lack the capacities for empathy, understanding right and wrong, and choosing whether or not to kill, and so are amoral rather than immoral creatures? Apparently it does.
It shows, again, the radicalism characteristic of this movement that the call for such a project is greeted with so many yawns at this conference.
Charles T. Rubin, New Atlantis contributing editor.
Adam Keiper, New Atlantis editor.
Ari N. Schulman, New Atlantis senior editor.
Brendan Foht, New Atlantis assistant editor.
Mark Gubrud, Futurisms contributor.
by Charles T. Rubin
- Machine Morality and Human Responsibility
- Beyond Mankind
- Why Be Human?
- Our Bodies, Ourselves
- The Rhetoric of Extinction
- Man or Machine?
- Artificial Intelligence and Human Nature
by Adam Keiper
by Adam Keiper and Ari N. Schulman
by Ari N. Schulman
by other authors
- Humanism and Transhumanism (Fred Baumann)
- The Trouble with the Turing Test (Mark Halpern)
- Disenchanting Determinism (Caitrin Nicol)
- The Anti-Theology of the Body (David B. Hart)
- Ageless Bodies, Happy Souls (Leon R. Kass)
- Transitional Humanity (Gilbert Meilaender)
- Till Malfunction Do Us Part (Caitrin Nicol)
- Methuselah and Us (Diana Schaub)
"There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" 1984 2001 30 Rock Aaron Saenz Abraham Lincoln academia addiction Adventures of Huckleberry Finn aesthetics Agnes Heller AI Al Jazeera Alan Jacobs Alan Rubenstein Alasdair MacIntyre Alcor Alex Backer Alex Knapp Allen Buchanan Amy Gutmann Ana Maria Cuervo Anders Sandberg Andrew Hessel animal uplift Anna Salamon anti-progress Apple argument from inevitability argument from infallibility Aristotle art Arthur C. Clarke artifacts Artificial intelligence artificial life artificial wombs Asilomar assisted reproductive technology Aubrey de Grey Audrey Hepburn augmented reality authenticity automation autonomy Avatar avian flu beauty behavioral science Ben Goertzel Benjamin Storey Beyond Therapy Big Dog Bill Joy bioart bioethics bionics body image body modification Brad Templeton Bradley Allenby Bradley J. Thames Brain Preservation Foundation brain scans brain uploading brain-computer interfaces Brandon Keim Brave New World breathing Brian Christian Brian Malow Bryan Caplan C.S. Lewis Caprica Carl Woese cats cell phones character Charles Taylor chess children chimeras Christianity Christine Rosen Christmas cloning CNN coercion cognitive computing cognitive enhancement cognitive liberty comments commercials communication technologies compression computational biology Condorcet consciousness constant connection creativity cryonics cyborg Cynthia Kenyon Dale Carrico Daniel Sarewitz Daniel Sportiello Darlene Cavalier DARPA David A. Noebel David Benatar David Chalmers David F. Noble David Foster Wallace David Gelernter David Pearce David Rose death Deep Blue democracy Derek Parfit design designer babies despair despotism dictators disability distraction distributive justice diversity DIYbio Down syndrome drones dualism e-memory e-readers Earth eclipse Eclipse of Man economics Ed Boyden Ed Regis efficiency Eliezer Yudkowsky ELIZA embodiment empathy enhancement Enlightenment entropy environmentalism equality of access Eric Drexler ethics eugenics everyday life evolution evolutionary psychology existential risks extropy eyes in the back of your head Facebook faith fantasy fashion faux caution fiction Fight Aging Fixed Flannery O'Connor folk psychology Foresight Institute Fort Hood Frances Willard Francis Bacon Francis Fukuyama Fred Baumann French Revolution Friedrich Nietzsche friendly AI Futurism (art) Futurisms futuristic distance gaming Garry Kasparov Gary Drescher Gary Marcus Gary Wolf genetics geoengineering George Dvorsky George Orwell Gilbert Meilaender Gizmodo global warming gloomy God goodness Google Gordon Bell government GPS Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition Greg Benford Gregor Wolbring Gregory Benford Gödel H+ magazine H+ Summit 2010 Halloween Hank Hyena Hans Moravec heartbreak Heather Knight Heidegger Her history holism hubris human excellence human extinction human life human nature human significance humanism humanities humanoid robotics humor Iain M. Banks Ian Pearson ICRAC IEET immortality infanticide IQ Irfan Khawaja Isaac Asimov Isaac Newton Itamar Arel IVF J. M. Bernstein Jamais Cascio James Hughes James Jorasch James W. Wagner Japan Jason Furman Jason Robert Jende Andrew Huang Jeopardy Jesse Schell Jessica Scorpio Jill Lepore John Markoff John Ruskin John Singer Sargent John Smart Jonah Lehrer Joseph Weizenbaum journalism joy Judaism Juergen Schmidhuber Julian Savulescu Katja Grace Ken Hayworth Kevin Jain Kevin Kelly Kindle kissing Kyle Munkittrick L5 Society lambda calculus Lauren Silbert law of accelerating returns lay science Leon Kass Leon R. Kass Lepht Anonym liberalism libertarian transhumanism libertarianism life extension lifelogging linguistics Lisa Katayama literature loneliness Lost love Ludwig Wittgenstein MacIntyre Conference mainstream man as beast Marcus Hutter Marilynne Robinson Mark Gubrud Mark Walker Martine Rothblatt Marxism Maryanne Wolf materialism Matthew Crawford Max More memory Methuselah Foundation Methuselarity Micah Mattix Michael Anissimov Michael Nielsen Michael Pollan Michio Kaku Mike Treder Milan Kundera military Millie Ray mind as computer Mind Children mind control minds Modern Times molecular manufacturing monstrosities moral relativism morality morphological freedom Morris Johnson multitasking nanotechnology NASA Natasha Vita-More National Geographic National Nanotechnology Initiative natural rights Neal Stephenson Ned Seeman neuro-everything neurobiology neuroelectronics neuroengineering neuroscience Never Say Die conference New America Foundation Nick Bostrom Nick Carr Nietzsche Nikki Olson Nikolai Fyodorov Noah Goodman Noel Sharkey normativity nuclear weapons Olympics ontological fortitude Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics P. W. Singer paradox of choice parenthood Patrick Hopkins Patrick Lin Patrick McGuire pattern-identity personal identity personhood Peter A. Lawler Peter Singer Peter Thiel philosophy of mind photography plastic surgery plastination politics postmodernism predation President's Council on Bioethics Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues progress progressivism psychology public relations quantum computing racism Radiohead Ramez Naam Randal Koene rationality Ray Kurzweil Ray Tallis recommended reading regulation religion relinquishment René Descartes repugnance resentment watch response to critics resurrection rhetoric of inevitability Richard Feynman Rick Weiss rights ritual Robert Ettinger Robin Hanson robotics robots Roger Scruton romance Ron Bailey Ron Fouchier S. Jay Olshansky Santa Claus science science fiction scientific enterprise scientism scientists secrecy sectarianism seduction community self-driving cars September 11 Seth Lloyd sex sex selection sexual enhancement Sherry Turkle simulation Singularitarianism Singularity Singularity Hub Singularity Summit Singularity University Slate sleep smart phones SMBC social interaction social robotics society Sonia Arrison Sorites paradox space space colonization space exploration sports Star Trek Star Wars stem cell research Stephen Cave Stephen Johnston Stephen Wolfram Steve Sailer Steve Talbott Stuart Hameroff substrate chauvinism suffering superstition suspended animation synthetic biology systems tacos Tao Tea Party movement Techno-Human Condition Ted Fishman Ted Goertzel Teddy Ruxpin terrorism The New York Times The New Yorker The Prospect of Immortality the rhetoric of extinction thinking thought experiments Tim Tyler Time magazine Tocqueville Todd May Total Recall totalitarianism Transcendence transhumanism transhumanist tech fail translation travel Turing Machines Turing Test TV Twitter Tyler Cowen tyranny UAVs UGVs uncanny valley unemployment uploading USVs utilitarianism Utopia UUVs virtual reality virtues Wafaa Bilal Walker Percy Walter Kirn Watson we are already x whole-brain emulation William Dickens Wired wisdom women's lib XKCD Yuval Levin Zoltan Istvan
- ► 2014 (9)
- ► 2012 (38)
- ► 2011 (46)
- Humanity’s Last Breath
- Futurisms and ideas of goodness and human excellen...
- Final thoughts on the H+ Summit
- Assorted impressions and scenes from the H+ Summit...
- The Master Stumpeth
- David Pearce takes the meat out of meatspace
- Natasha Vita-More and the enhancement ethos
- Patrick Lin on the military's push for human enhan...
- James Hughes, the Enlightenment, and the radiant f...
- Open mic night at H+ Summit
- Patrick Hopkins on why uploading won't work
- Day 2 at H+ Summit: George Dvorsky gets serious
- Ben Goertzel: "What you mean 'we,' human?"
- Darlene Cavalier on "citizen science"
- Kevin Jain thinks the Singularity might change thi...
- Stephen Wolfram systematizes everything
- Heather Knight and the real boy
- Seth Lloyd on democratizing science
- You gotta fight for your right to plastinate your ...
- Ramez Naam turns us into newts
- Is thought written in Scheme?
- Neural coupling in communication
- Kicking off a hectic conference
- Stay tuned to this blog
- Happiness, Freedom, and Transhumanism
- Why Transhumanism Won’t Work
- Kitty minus kitty
- Are humanists the new racists?
- ▼ June (28)