Lawrence, Paul, I cheer to see this conversation joined. It’s perhaps the most important of all. The boomers, like we subsequent generations, seem unfairly fated to die. But there’s a solution for that, too.
Philip Rieff, whose tocsin I shall keep sounding, refers us to Donner Professor of Science at MIT, and founder of that school’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratories, Marvin Minsky:
“Should we robotize ourselves and stop dying? I think the answer is clear for the long run because in a few billion years the sun will eventually burn out and everything we’ve done will go to waste. […] Is it possible, with artificial intelligence, to conquer death? […] Then eventually there’d be no room for more new people, and that would raise more problems.”
Minsky gave us that little wonder of scientific fantasizing back in 1985, a year that science itself has since left deep in the dust. Fukuyama too predicted “our posthuman future,” but science, like always, lends only a helping hand. Posthumanity is, in fact, just a culture away.
The cultural room for more new people, as well as for the aged people we already have, is already shrinking. We the young, we the us, demand resources, time, and energy for the pursuit of our selves. This town ain’t big enough for the three of us.
Beyond euthanasia we have cold storage for the old. Beyond abortion we have the decision simply not to conceive. The better to accumulate “me time;” the better for the tyranny of MyLife.
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