Re: future pets

Anders Sandberg (
17 Apr 1998 17:01:13 +0200

"Scott Badger" <> writes:

> I recently discovered that several cryonicists have frozen or plan to freeze
> their pets. It reminded me of an old sci-fi tale (Heinlein, perhaps) about
> a future in which pets had evolved in sync with humans and were able to
> communicate, reason abstractly, use metacognition, short, they
> evolved into what we are today while their masters had advanced that much
> further. Has this been discussed on this newsgroup? Do extropians promote
> or accept the idea of accelerating the development of non-human species and
> if so...under what circumstances?

I seem to recall some old discussions about >pets and uplifting, but
not much about their contents (I'm definitely going to write myself a
remembrance agent for list archives one day!). There is also an essay
by John de Rivaz about the future of companion animals at

Why do we have pets? I think it is because we want companionship, but
not necessarily with the demands of other humans and quite often
because we enjoy companionship with a *different* kind of being.

So I wouldn't be surprised if we in the future keep semi- or fully
intelligent pets. They might have rights on their own; we already give
animal rights, and one could imagine a canine union acting as the
lobby for intelligent dogs (demands for fair treatment, the right to
have an owner or similar stuff). A cat union will of course never
happen :-). These pets do not need to be just animals or improved
animals, they might be AIs or biotechnological constructs. In some
sense a family already includes not just the humans, but the pets and
plants. In the future the relationship may become more like a kind of
group marriage/cohabitation contract where different beings agree on
forming a social unit of some kind.

Overall, I think uplifting of other species is a good idea, but the
ethics is quite complicated.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y