Re: Posthumans in Nature
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 08:04:37 -0800

Robin Hanson, <>, writes:
> Nature
> Sterling, B. (1999). Homo sapiens declared extinct. Nature, 402, 125.
> Yes, human beings have finally gone, but the 24-hour global party continues.
> AD 2380: After a painstaking ten-year search, from the Tibetan highlands to
> the
> Brazilian rainforests, it's official - there are no more human beings.
> "I suppose I have to consider this a personal setback," said anthropologist Dr
> Marcia Raymo, of the Institute for Retrograde Study in Berlin. "Of course we
> still have human tissue in the lab, and we could clone as many specimens of
> Homo sapiens as we like. But that species was always known primarily for its
> unique cultural activity."...

Very refreshing, if I am interpreting it right. The moral is that we should not be so concerned that our descendants carry on our genetic code, but that they carry on our culture. Here we have a presumed posthuman acting in a manner which we find understandable and familiar. He cares about extinct species just as we do.

Even in this forum we often succumb to a form of chauvinism, in which any future which isn't dominated by humans is seen as a failure. Particularly with regard to predicted human vs machine wars, we automatically side with the humans, without asking which group is more deserving morally. We need to start thinking in broader terms and not identifying so closely with our genetics and metabolism.