Added quotes from Donna Haraway, David Hume, Stephen Hawking, Peter Singer, Ronald Bailey, James Hughes, Jeremy Bentham, Paul Davies, Albert Einstein, Lord Mansfield, and E. O. Wilson.
RE: DESTINATION CYBORG
Catalin Sandu, editor of Net SF, recently translated my Destination Cyborg piece into Romanian, called Destinaţia: Ciborg.
RE: FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO DIE
While editing my latest column for Betterhumans, Fight For Your Right To Die, I removed a section due to length. And it was only peripherally related. Here's the text:
The right to live
Disturbingly, Leon Kass’s Biodeathics council has been forging a new pseudo-ethics, and instead of arguing for life, they actively promote death. They are actually hoping to convince the public at large to reject the potential advances in life extension technologies and choose voluntary death instead.
Yes, this is the same Leon Kass who opposes physician assisted suicide, and is the author of such classics as “Neither for Love Nor Money: Why Doctors Must Not Kill” and “Suicide Made Easy.”
Confused? Well, I’m sure you’re not as confused as Kass seems to be.
What’s reckless about his position and those in Dubya’s Council, however, is that after careful scrutiny, their position is more akin to imposed death than voluntary death.
In something straight out of Logan’s Run, this surreal Council on Bioethics has actually declared that death is both good and desirable, and that there truly is such a thing as being ‘old enough.’ How they can hold this stance and subsequently oppose voluntary euthanasia is a profound mystery.
Taking their arguments further -- while considering the radical leaps that the medical sciences are poised to take in the next few decades -- one could infer that their futuristic Brave Old World would be one in which elderly people are denied treatment on the grounds that they are too old.
Sorry gramps, we’d like to cure your cancer and reverse the effects of aging, but….well…you know how it is…
Also, what I’m curious to know is, just how old is too old? Prior to the advent of civilization, primitive humans could expect to live to their mid-thirties -- if they were lucky. In 1900, life expectancy was 47. Today it is nearly 80. So, how do we settle on a non-arbitrary maximum lifespan? I think I’ll let Kass & Co. squirm their way out of this one.
NEW SENT.DEV ARTICLE
Fight For Your Right To Die :: March 30, 2003
We must repeal laws against euthanasia if we're to cope with such future realities as cryonics and extreme life extension
RE: FREEING THE SLAVES OF SCIENCE FICTION
Robert A. Freitas Jr., author of Nanomedicine, passed on this article to me that he wrote back in 1985 about the legal rights of robots.
NEW SENT.DEV ARTICLE March 17, 2003
Star Wars and other stories are effective case studies on how not to treat intelligent machines
NEW SECTION: MY MUSIC
In a former life, way back in the 1990s, I used to be an electronic music composer named Vor. I've posted some MP3s for your listening pleasure.
REVERSE ENGINEERING THE HUMAN BRAIN
Yes, of course. Creating artificial intelligence en par with human intelligence and consciousness will be a daunting task. No one is contesting this. But what I do take exception to is the notion that we'll never be capable of doing this. I'm increasingly finding that hard to believe.
There are a number of factors working in our favour:
1) we have a fully functional model working inside our skulls
2) we have the blueprint; once we crack the brain-making code inscribed in our genome, we'll literally be able to read the instruction manual
3) we are increasingly coming to regard materialist mental-state functionalism as the valid conceptual approach to human cognition
4) accelerating computer power will a) help us figure out how to replicate the human mind (i.e. through the application of such things as neural nets, and through advancements in software design), and b) provide us with a platform to run the artificial mind
NEW SENT.DEV ARTICLE
The Hazards of Transhumanist Living :: March 2, 2003
It's not easy being a Transhumanist, but somebody has to do it