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Mark Walker on superlongevity

On April 20, 2006 at the University of Toronto’s Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Dr. Mark Walker delivered a presentation about the ethics of radical life extension, or as Walker refers to it, ‘superlongevity.’ The talk was organized by the Toronto Transhumanist Association.

The talk was party adapted from his recent paper, “Universal Superlongevity: Is it Inevitable and is it Good?”

Mark Walker Ph.D. is a research associate in philosophy at Trinity College, University of Toronto. He is founder and president of Permanent End International, a nonprofit organization devoted to ending hunger, illiteracy and environmental degradation. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Evolution and Technology and served on the Board of Directors of the World Transhumanist Association from 2002 to 2006.

Attendance for the event was good with about 20 people present. Walker spoke for about an hour discussing ethical issues surrounding life extension. He focused on two major objections or concerns to superlongevity, namely the potential boredom problem of radically extended lives and the issue of overpopulation. Walker presented a fair and balanced case in favour of life extension, noting that while overpopulation may be an issue in the future, it’s not an untenable one. He offered a number of solutions, including the idea of individuals voluntarily choosing not to procreate, or as Walker dubbed it, a ‘non-proliferation pact’ for human reproduction.

After his presentation, Walker entertained questions for about 30 minutes, which was in turn followed by more informal person-to-person discussions.

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