Do we care about future people?

dead planet

We have just published an article (free online) on existential risks – with a NZ perspective.1 A blog version is hosted by SciBlogs. What follows is the introduction to that blog:

Do we value future people?

Do we care about the wellbeing of people who don’t yet exist? Do we care whether the life-years of our great-grandchildren are filled with happiness rather than misery? Do we care about the future life-years of people alive now?

We are assuming you may answer “yes” in general terms, but in what way do we care?

You might merely think, ‘It’d be nice if they are happy and flourish’, or you may have stronger feelings such as, ‘they have as much right as me to at least the same kind of wellbeing that I’ve had’. The point is that the question can be answered in different ways.

All this is important because future people, and the future life-years of people living now, face serious existential threats. Existential threats are those that quite literally threaten our existence. These include runaway climate change, ecosystem destruction and starvation, nuclear war, deadly bioweapons2, asteroid impacts, or artificial intelligence (AI) run amok3 to name just a few…

Click here to read the full blog.