Re: ECON The Abolition Of Work

Paul Hughes (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 12:29:29 -0700

Daniel Fabulich wrote:

> By this you seem to be implying that very smart robots WOULDN'T grant us
> rights, and so, in order to protect our rights, we shouldn't try to build
> them too smart.
> It's true, smart robots might decide to rob us of our rights. I'd like to
> think that they wouldn't, but that's really just a guess.

Of course we must be careful in how we are defining 'smart' here. Is it smart to
limit the rights of other sentient beings if your goal is to increase your overall
understanding of the world and enrich your own complexity, or is smart defined as
pure survival and domination at any cost? The Chinese government (PRC) has
successfully repressed its citizens in order to survive and remain in power. Is the
PRC smarter than western democracies which have some inherent liberties for its

Many would argue that survival and emotional-territorial drives are the low-end of
intelligence - after all every species has the survival urge, and most multicelled
species have the territorial.

> If germline engineering turns out to be a good way to build a better
> human, and that happens to mean that our children will be superior to us
> in every way, does that mean we shouldn't have smarter children? After
> all, it would be a moot question to ask whether we should grant THEM
> rights... the question would be whether they would grant rights to us.

I think it is very likely that any improvement we can give to our children through
germline engineering, will be surpassed by even more advanced transhumanist
technologies made available to existing individuals.