August 1, 2000
12:43 AM   Subscribe

Will people in the future have souls? Or will our souls pass into the machines?
posted by sudama (10 comments total)
I personally am quite frightened of allowing human cloning research or implementation. My nature is very pro-science (I certainly have no religious objections) but I too would flounder on the decision whether to allow, legally soeaking of course, human embryo cloning or not. Obviously there may be vital human health advances, but the entire Gattaca-esque ramifications are too strong to ignore.

posted by Awol at 1:18 AM on August 1, 2000

If it can be done it will be done. Whether it is right or wrong never seems to matter in the end. The only problem I have with cloning is there are already too many people on this planet. The last thing we need is a way to make more people faster. On the bright side though, perhaps the thinking machines will eventually take over and start killing us.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2000

Y'know a day may come in the future where it's as convenient to duplicate people as it is to duplicate mp3s! Won't that be fun? But aren't we just talking about another variation on test-tube babies? Or in-vitro fertilization? I mean it's not like we've discovered how to grow embros into full adult humans by the next commercial break. THAT's science fiction.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:26 AM on August 1, 2000 least for the moment..
posted by ZachsMind at 8:27 AM on August 1, 2000

It would really piss me off if someone downloaded an illegal copy of me.
posted by frykitty at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2000

Microsoft Brain 2020: What do you want to think today?
posted by Tubes at 8:40 AM on August 1, 2000

Kurzweil was the keynote speaker at this years Siggraph and he mostly talked about the exponetial growth trends and avoided any "spirituality" issues. I guess he does the same in his book, but I havn't had time to read it yet.

The one thing is that as much as hardware is advancing, software seems to be about a decade or two behind. I would attribute this to our friends at MS that have managed to suffocate the OS market and force programmers to compenstate for their bloatware. Then again, hardware development cycles are a lot easier to speculate.
posted by john at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2000

Nyarla is right - this is yet another genie that's out of the bottle, and we just have to deal, ethics be damned. On one hand, there could be immortality; on the other, there'll be a million Rupert Murdochs & George [insert random letter here] Bushes turning this world into an intellectual (and literal) sewer.

We better get on the whole colonizing-other-planets thing, or the human race is doomed.

You know, I thought I was an optimist.
posted by chicobangs at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2000

I think we should tie this to another thread, and see if we can clone Stanley before Spielberg completely louses up AI!
posted by EssenDreck at 11:51 AM on August 1, 2000

Cloning of people = bad, from an ethical point of view - but what about the cloning of "parts" of people? Look at how much organ donor registries go through each year, trying to get people to add their names. Instead of waiting for an otherwise healthy person to die and make their heart available for one of many thousands needing it, why not clone healthy hearts so that more people can have the chance to live and not at another's expense. Well that's rather a simplistic, idealistic, and unrealistic viewpoint, but what they hey, we're talking science fiction. Why not use the great brains for good rather than just experiments that, while being blockbusters and "first ever"s, don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. So we cloned a sheep, woop-de-doo. Like there aren't enough sheep in the world anyway.
posted by justnobody at 8:33 PM on August 2, 2000

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