Tuesday, December 16, 2008

what'll happen when we get defrosted?

In the comments Trevor worries about us being resurrected as slaves, or at least being a notch down on the food chain relative to transhumans or posthumans.

These worries were prompted by Tyler's post on why he's not signing up for cryonics. I don't think Tyler's worrying about how he'd be treated by the people who reanimate us (though that's part of it), but I've come across the concern a few times recently and I don't get it.

I realise that some people on the left may find this hilarious, but rich countries have already established strongly enforced laws and social norms against slavery. The reemergence of slavery in America or Europe is way down on the list of Things I Worry About.

Why would these transhumans go to the trouble of reanimating us, but not offer us the upgrades that make them so smart? We are paying for this stuff.

I think it's weird that -common in alien invasion movies too- we find advanced, super smart civilizations so threatening. As humans have gotten smarter and richer our moral circle has expanded, why would it suddenly contract if we got even smarter and richer?


Trev said...

But high up on the list of things you worry about is `specieism'... We treat animals differently.

Maybe bringing us back to life then using us for vivisection is the more `moral alternative' to testing on themselves.

Your natural progression to a more moral society argument is compelling though.

I like the idea that this is all we have... adds an immediacy and importance to our choices. Is immortality that appealing?

stuart said...

I do worry about speciesism and I agree that the way people still think would make us vulnerable to doing horrible things in the future. But seriously, I find the idea that transhumans would conduct medical tests on "us" absurd, becoming smarter wouldnt' make us think the nazis were any better. think about the mentally retarded, do we do a lot of medical testing on them?

but what do you mean "this is all we've got". is it bad that our life expectancy has more than doubled in the past 200 years? thats a lot. what about children dying when they're 10? Would you object to living to 150 years if you could healty?

No transhumans expect to be litterally immortal. there are a lot of numbers between 90 and infinity. Maybe I'd wanna live for a googleplex years, or a googleplex to the power of a googleplex. It's kinda pointless to speculate on how long we'd really like to live, because we don't know what our attitudes would be if we were much smarter and more mature etc, which, like you said, we will be in the future if we done wipe ourselves out.