Ethical Questions

In The Observer of Sunday May 22, 2005, Ian Pearson is quoted as saying:

“If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,” Pearson told The Observer. “If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.”

        True. And 25-30 years is also a hell of a long time in social disparities. If, as he says, it would take the poor that long to have the digital immortality the rich have already had for that many years, then someone needs to think about the social consequences — before they begin to happen.
        Pearson also seems to gloss over the disparities within the rich. Obviously, someone very rich will purchase this mind download long before the average rich person even becomes aware of the possibility. In fact, why would that very rich person want the merely rich to be aware of the possibility?
        The social consequences of ordinary human nature seem to be of little concern to futurologists such as Dr. Pearson. Is it any wonder that it's also of little interest to the developers of technology?

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