Re: Abuse of future neuroscience applied technologies

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 08:16:52 MDT

On Sun, Apr 15, 2001 at 01:15:40AM -0400, wrote:

> I think there should be some sort of commitee formed to investigate
> the dangers as well as the benefits of technology that directly
> intefaces with the brain. Perhaps I've just played too much Shadowrun
> and read too many cyberpunk novels, but BTL ("Better Than Life")
> technology is going to become a reality, perhaps in our lifetime.

Hmm, why would a commitee be especially helpful? I think we are seeing a
bad trend right now in that many issues are being delegated to commitees
rather than being investigated and debated broadly - a commitee of
experts might have good ideas, but it might also be too narrow or
biased. The result is that many actually leave issues of ethics and
policy to others, rather than taking responsibility themselves.

When it comes to neural interfacing, I don't think there will be any
shortage of people investigating and warning for dangers. In fact, given
how things currently are done I think there will be a serious shortage
of people looking for *benefits*. Neural interfacing is such a visceral
and philosophically, ethically and psychologically "hot" issue that
there will be no critic shortage. There might be a shortage of
constructive criticism, and this is where science courts and commitees
might be helpful.

The big problem is that what one considers a danger is another's
benefit. A common worry with transhumanist technologies when debated in
the media is that they threaten various deeply human values - even when
some of these values are not considered valuable by transhumanists (e.g.
accepting one's mortality). I have heard some people say that a drug
that has no side effects and no addiction risk would still be bad and
ought to be stopped, likely because some anti-hedonistic prejudice. How
do we handle this kind of situation? I think the best is to work for a
society where pluralism is accepted, and where most people can deal with
that other people do not necessarily share their ethics.

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

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