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Interview with James Hughes


January 23, 2013

Australian transhumanist Adam Ford interviewed IEET Executive Director James J. Hughes at the December 1-2, 2012 Humanity+ meetings in San Francisco, at which Dr. Hughes and many other IEET fellows spoke.


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Posted by jasoncstone  on  01/25  at  01:36 PM

I think the "right to enhance" is a right that's hard to deny, but I find the idea of replacing humanity with something that is easier to care for and manage repugnant. It's something like replacing natural grass with astroturf and calling it grass+. Also, what if the enhancements available today are absurd compared to those available 100 or 1000 years form now? Why go about replacing the entire human phenomena with something artificial as soon as it seems possible?

I propose that children should be protected from enhancement similar to how we protect them now from things like sex, driving and alcohol. Perhaps, at some age of consent, 18 for instance, they could elect for their own enhancement with fully informed consent. Necessary medical interventions or approved preventive measures, such as embryo selection from natural parent's germ lines, may still be allowable with proper oversite.

Another advantage to this approach is that it makes caring for the human phenomena more of a fixed target that our social welfare systems can converge on. Perhaps, someday we'll be able to care for the needs of all natural humans. Individuals who choose to enhance could be required to take personal responsibility for any additional costs and complications they introduce into their own lives.

Preserving the somewhat mysterious qualities of the human phenomena and caring for "natural humans" with sincerity may be key to keeping us sane and ethical.




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