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Mandatory Fields
Danaher, J
Science and Engineering Ethics
Why We Should Create Artificial Offspring: Meaning and the Collective Afterlife
Optional Fields
Meaning Artificial offspring Collective afterlife Robotics AI Human enhancement
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' I mean 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 and valuable. The first is that the existence of a collective afterlife-i.e. a set of human-like lives that continue after we die-is likely to be an important source and sustainer of meaning in our present lives (Scheffler in Death and the afterlife, OUP, Oxford, 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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