Tag Archives: anders sandberg

And Bob Said, Let Us Make Man In Our Image

6 Apr

Behold, the future.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox | Source: SMH

Final frontier of climate policy – remake humans

A radical proposal to modify physique and behaviour in response to climate change has been greeted with outrage, writes Catherine Armitage.

If it is so hard to change the climate to suit humans, why not alter humans to suit the changing climate, philosophers from Oxford and New York universities are asking.

They suggest humans could be modified to be smaller, dislike eating meat, have fewer children and be more willing to co-operate with social goals.

Behavioural changes might not be enough to prevent climate change even if they were widely adopted, and international agreements for measures such as emissions trading are proving elusive, say Matthew Liao of New York University and Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache of Oxford University.

So human engineering deserves serious consideration in the debate about how to solve climate change, they write in a coming paper for the academic journal Ethics, Policy & Environment.

The paper has sparked a storm in the blogosphere. The environmentalist Bill McKibben tweeted that the authors had proposed ”the worst climate-change solutions of all time”. They have also been denounced as Nazis and ecofascists.

The authors emphasise they are not advocating human engineering be adopted, only that it be considered. They also envisage it as a voluntary activity possibly supported by incentives such as tax breaks or sponsored healthcare, not something coerced or mandatory.

Dr Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said the paper had inadvertently ”managed to press two hot buttons” – climate change and ”messing with human nature”. He predicted the paper would mutate into a story that scientists were working on re-engineering people to be green and it would be adopted as ”yet another piece of evidence of the Big Conspiracy”.

Nice timing for publication of this story – being Good Friday, and all.

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