Jan. 9th, 2012

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Paddy Ashdown has an interesting talk up on TED. However, I'm more impressed that French ex-pats gathered together in significant numbers are now going to have their own MPs. If you happen to have French passport but are allowed to be resident in the UK and are currently based in China but are on a year's work secondment to Brazil how much longer is the nation state going to make sense to you? It doesn't take a genius to see a gap opening up for the creation of the sort of trans-national communities referenced in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books or Stevenson's Diamond Age.

While I'm here - is it just me or are people posting a lot less on LJ these days? Some of use have moved to Twitter for meme-spreading, which is mostly what I used LJ for anyway, but everyone else just seems to be posting less. *shrug*

Personhood

Jan. 9th, 2012 11:10 pm
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As I've mentioned before I'm a big fan of the Future of the Constitution series from the Brookings Institution. I still have a backlog of their excellent articles to read but tonight I've found time to go through Endowed by Their Creator?: The Future of Constitutional Personhood.

This is an excellent essay covering both the creation of intelligence in machines (via AI) and the reduction of intelligence in humans (via genetics) to present arguments on exactly what makes a "person". Comments comparing AI restriction to abortion mix with warnings about the previous times in history groups of people have decided that some entities are not 'persons'. Statements such as those suggesting that any being that can hold moral values is 'human' is dispatched by pointing out that many animals can be shown to act 'morally'. Further reflection on already existing corporate non-human persons is briefly touched on.

However, perhaps the only solid conclusion is that while liberals struggle with the weighty problems of defining what is a 'person' conservatives and theologians will continue to resist the expansion of fundamental rights to any further group of beings - just as they have for women, gays, 'lesser races' and people with heretical thoughts.

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