Re: On uplifting

Anders Sandberg (
18 Nov 1997 22:06:08 +0100

Brent Allsop <> writes:

> Twink <> brought up the great topic
> of "uplifting"!
> Did you coin this usage of this term or has it been used
> before in this way?

I think it was David Brin who invented this use in his Uplift Trilogy
of novels (Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War), which also
deals with some of its long-term consequences in an amusing way
("clans" of species, very old galactic civilizations, indentured
species etc).

> > Play God!
> Yes definitely! But shouldn't we be sure we are a good and
> benevolent God? I don't think we should ever only "uplift" to a
> limited degree so that lower life forms can be left as such to only be
> our slaves or servants or whatever.

An important moral point. Brin has several alien species in his books
who definitely are less than ideal patrons for their uplifted species,
and a very old system of indenture for uplifted species ("We made you
intelligent, so now you will serve us for a measly 10,000 years, and
then you are free.").

> The difference between a dog and us is nothing compared to the
> difference between us and a God right?

Ask me when I have uplifted myself :-)

[Causality Error 437: Message from future. Userid: Anders v45.53]:
You're right, the difference between an unaugmented human and a dog is
trivial compared to the difference between them and a God. However,
the difference between a cat and a God is trivially small. Could
somebody pass me the catnip? :-)

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