Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Why we should create artificial offspring: meaning and the collective afterlife

The iCub Robot - Image courtesy of Jiuguang Wang

That's the title of a new article I have coming out. It argues that the creation of artificial offspring could add meaning to our lives and that it might consequently be worth committing to the project of doing so. It's going to be published in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics. The official version will be out in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can read the abstract below and download a pre-publication version at the links provided.

Journal: Science and Engineering Ethics

Links: Philpapers; Academia.edu

Abstract: This article argues that the creation of artificial offspring could make our lives more meaningful (i.e. satisfy more meaning-relevant conditions of value). By ‘artificial offspring’ is meant beings that we construct, with a mix of human and non-human-like qualities. Robotic artificial intelligences are paradigmatic examples of the form. There are two reasons for thinking that the creation of such beings could make our lives more meaningful. The first is that the existence of a collective afterlife — i.e. a set of human-like lives that continue in this universe after we die — is likely to be an important source and sustainer of meaning in our present lives (Scheffler 2013). The second is that the creation of artificial offspring provides a plausible and potentially better pathway to a collective afterlife than the traditional biological pathway (i.e. there are reasons to favour this pathway and there are no good defeaters to trying it out). Both of these arguments are defended from a variety of objections and misunderstandings.

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