George P. Dvorsky is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. Dvorsky currently serves as Chair of the Board for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) and is the founder and chair of the IEET’s Rights of Non-Human Persons Program, a group that is working to secure human-equivalent rights and protections for highly sapient animals. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association).
Dvorsky is a secular Buddhist, progressive environmentalist, ancestral health advocate, animal rights activist, and electronic musician. Primarily concerned with the ethical and sociological impacts of emerging technologies, specifically, “human enhancement” technologies, he seeks to promote open discussion for the purposes of education and foresight. He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including technoscience, ethics, existential risks, artificial intelligence, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the future of art, and the improvement and modification of human performance and subjective experience.
Dvorsky presented an argument for non-human animal biological uplift at the IEET Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference at Stanford University in May 2006, and wrote the first published article in defence of the Ashley Treatment in November 2006, and was cited by Ashley X’s parents in their defense. Dvorsky also presented an argument warning of the decline of democratic values and institutions in the face of existential and catastrophic risks at the “Global Catastrophic Risks: Building a Resilient Civilization” conference in November 2008.
In 2010, at the H+ Summit at Harvard, Dvorsky made the claim that the pending development of artificial consciousness, as differentiated from artificial intelligence, needs to be addressed proactively from an ethical and legal perspective, and that protections should be established beforehand to prevent nascent machine minds from coming into harm or abuse. In the case of advanced and highly sapient machine consciousness, Dvorsky proposed a number of specific rights and protections.
Dvorsky, along with Milan M. Ćirković and Robert Bradbury, published a critique of SETI in the May 2012 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS) arguing that SETI techniques and practices have become outdated. In its place, Dvorsky, Ćirković, and Bradbury advocated for what they called Dysonian SETI, namely the search for those signatures and artefacts indicative of highly advanced extraterrestrial life.
He co-chaired the recently concluded “Personhood Beyond the Human” conference where experts were brought together to discuss nonhuman persons and special rights and protections for highly sapient animals, namely all great apes, cetaceans, and elephants.
George’s work has been featured in such publications as The Guardian, the BBC, CBC, Forbes, the New York Times, Slate, Radio Free Europe, and al-Jazeera. He is also an avid CrossFitter, an ancestral health enthusiast, and an accomplished music performer, composer, and recording engineer.