Should We Die?

Thanks to Olga Khazan for interviewing me for her feature on radical longevity.

She writes: Life-extensionists’ zeal for perfect cells does, to some, sound like an invective against uniqueness. That’s what Melinda Hall, a philosophy professor at Stetson University and author of a recent book about transhumanism, takes issue with. “People with disability are saying, ‘this is a primary part of my identity,’” she told me, “so when you’re saying you want to get rid of disability, it sounds genocidal.”

Istvan dismisses disability-rights advocates as a fringe minority, saying “I would bet my arm that the great majority of disabled people will be very happy when transhumanist technology gives them the opportunity to fulfill their potential.” (Betting your arm is, of course, no biggie when you can just get a bionic one.)

In general, Hall said, the transhumanists have the wrong idea about the problems facing humanity. “People are going to be starving and dying, but we’re going to build a colony on Mars?” she said, “That’s going to cost billions of dollars, and I think that should be spent somewhere else.”

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